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THE STATES

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Borno
No fewer than 2,000 registered rice farmers in Borno are to benefit from the Central Bank of Nigeria’s Anchor Borrowers Agricultural  Programme in the state.
Consultant in charge of the programme in the state, Mr Abbah Kale, who made the disclosure in an interview with newsmen in Maiduguri, last Thursday, said, rice farming had already commenced in liberated communities.
Kale, said registration and bio-metric data capturing of beneficiaries was on-going, just as they had scaled up the exercise to cover other liberated local government areas.
He said that, the programme was introduced by the Federal Government as part of renewed effort to boost rice and wheat production in the country.
According to him, the programme is aimed at supporting farmers with agricultural inputs to enhance productivity, create job opportunities and diversify the country’s economy.

Benue
The Benue State House of Assembly has confirmed four commissioner nominees presented to it by Governor Samuel Ortom.
During the screening of the nominees on Thursday at plenary, the legislators, lauded Ortom for the choice he made and moved that the nominees should be confirmed as commissioners.
The Speaker of the Assembly, Mr TerkimbiI Ikyange, advised the commissioners to put in their best to justify the confidence of the people who nominated them.
Ikyange, warned them not to abuse the privilege given to them but to always partner with the law makers in the overriding interest of the state.
The new commissioners are Mr Joseph Shmaor, a unionist, Mrs Ladi Isegbe, a civil servant; Mr Joseph Utsev, a lecturer and Mr Unenge Bernard, an engineer.

FCT
The International Organisation for Migration (IOM) says, 525 migrants and refugees have died in the Mediterranean sea while trying to enter Europe.
According to data from the organisation, the deaths recorded were between Jan. 1 and March 12, as against the 482 deaths recorded within the same period in 2016.
The data on deaths of migrants was compiled by the IOM’s Global Migration Data Analysis Centre.
The report stated that, there were 19,653 estimated total arrivals by sea, with Italy having 15,843 arrivals within the stated period.
On Monday, Kelly Namia of IOM Athens reported that, 2,810 migrants and refugees entered Europe through Greece since the start of 2017, compared with 143,205 within the same period in 2016.
Spain, however, recorded 1,000 arrivals compared with no arrivals in the same period in 2016.

Jigawa
Jigawa State Government has inaugurated a 23-member working committee to fashion out ways of improving the quality of education and healthcare delivery in the state.
Malam Ibrahim Isma’l, the Public Relations Officer, Office of the Head of the State Civil Service (HoS) made this known in a statement on Thursday in Dutse.
He said that, the committee was charged with the responsibility of developing strategic partnerships between the state government and relevant stakeholders, including non-government actors to spur implementation of the action plan.

Kano
The Deputy Governor of Kano State,  Prof. Hafiz Abubakar, says plans are on-going by the state government to provide low cost housing for low income earners in the state.
Abubakar, said this at a one-day Housing Forum organised by the Association of Housing Corporations of Nigeria in Kano State on Thursday.
The deputy governor stated that, apart from the 2,000 housing units presently under construction, the state would construct another 2,000.
”Kano State Government in its 2017 budget has made provision of N1.1 billion for the construction of one bed room, 2 bed room and 3 bed room detached bungalows to be executed by the State Housing Corporation.”

Kwara
The President of Kwara State Chamber of Commerce, Industry, Mines and Agriculture (KWACCIMA), Alhaji Ahmed Raji, has decried the influx of sub-standard products into the country.
Raji, told newsmen in Ilorin last Thursday that all agencies regulating products must live up to expectation.
He expressed concern at the current situation whereby Nigerians imported garri, a Nigerian staple, from China, saying the development was absurd.
“We want the regulatory agencies to be more vigilant and pro-active so that they can give consumers value for their money.
“They should apprehend criminal minded people who are producing fake products and sanction them appropriately,” he said.

Kaduna
Save the Children, an International NGO, last Thursday urged all tiers of government to make more investment on girls education, social protection and women empowerment.
Mr Ekene Ifedilichukwu, the Nutrition Advocacy Coordinator of the organisation, made the call at a media training on nutrition reporting and budgeting in Kaduna.
Ifedilichukwu said that, investing in women would go a long way in improving the nutritional status of the vulnerable group in the society including children.
He noted that, such investment would assist in addressing the nation’s nutritional challenges.

Lagos
Eight ships laden with petrol and other commodities are to berth in Lagos ports, the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) said on Thursday.
The document noted that, four of the ships contained petrol, while other ships would berth with empty containers, crude palm olein and bulk fertiliser.
The document stated that, 22 ships laden with petroleum products, food items and other goods were expected to arrive Apapa and Tin-Can Island ports in Lagos from March 16 to March 27.
NPA said that, the expected ships contained buck wheat, containers, base oil, bulk corn, bulk sugar, bulk gypsum, bulk salt, cargoes, bulk fertiliser, empty containers, kerosene and petrol.
Niger

The Niger State Police Command has arrested a 62-year-old-man, Mohammed Sani, over alleged rape of a 3-year-old girl.
The Tide reports that, the suspect, a resident of Cool-Cat area in Maitumbi of Bosso Local Government Area, was arrested after the victim complained of severe pains in her private part.
Mr Bala Elkana, the Police Public Relation Officers, told newsmen on Tuesday in Minna, that Sani committed the offence on March 4, and was arrested on March 8.

Nasarawa
The Chief Judge of Nasarawa State, Justice Suleiman Dikko, has warned Magistrates and Area Court Judges in the state against indulging in corruption.
Dikko, gave the warning at a sensitisation workshop in Lafia last Thursday.
He said that, the workshop was necessitated by the desire of the management of the judiciary to find lasting solution to the lingering problems confronting the justice administration in the state.
“Some of the problems we intend to address in this workshop include corruption which has eaten deep into the judicial system in the country.”

Ogun
A 38-year-old man, Sunday Alonge, who allegedly collected 19 bags of rice valued at N313,000 under false pretext, was on Thursday arraigned in an Ota Magistrates’ Court.
Alonge, who lives at No. 35 Falade St., Iyana-llogbo, Ota, is facing a two-court charge of conspiracy and obtaining money under false pretence.
The prosecutor, Sgt. Chudu Gbesi, told the court that the accused and others still at large, committed the offences on March 2 at about 11.30a.m. at No. 15 Fadina Compound, Idiroko Road, Ota.

Plateau
The National Orientation Agency (NOA) says, activities of cyber criminals are jeopardising the integrity of digital transactions.
Mr Bulus Dabit, the Plateau State Director of the agency, told newsmen in Jos last Thursday that this was in spite of its numerous advantages of digital over the conventional transactions.
Dabit, said that digital transactions were usually built on trust, but which was now being threatened by devious operators who used it to prey on consumers.
“Although trust is mutual in digital transactions, the consumer bears the greatest risk as he has to sometimes part with his money before accessing the goods or services.

Zamfara
The Zamfara State Government, is targeting the production of 6,450 tonnes of rice and sorghum in the 2017 dry season farming, under the Fadama III project in the state.
The state Fadama III Project Coordinator, Alhaji Aliyu Shinkafi, made this known in Gusau on Thursday in an interview with newsmen
Reports gathered that, 1,290 farmers from three local government areas of Bakura, Maradun and Talata-Mafara were registered under the Fadama III project for the 2017 dry season farming.
Our correspondent also reports that each of the registered farmers would be supported with a 50-per-cent subsidy on all the inputs that are required for the farming activities.

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NPC Assures Accurate Tech-Driven 2023 Census

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The Chairman, National Population Commission (NPC), Alhaji Nasir Kwarra, has said there is no going back on the conduct of the 2023 Population and Housing Census.
Kwarra assured that everything has been put in place to ensure the success of the exercise and called for the support of all stakeholders including the civil society organisations, development partners and governments at all levels for its success.
Speaking at the Benue State Stakeholders Summit on the Population and Housing  Census organised by the NPC in collaboration with Benue State Government, Kwarra reiterated that the Commission would conduct an exercise that would be technology driven to achieve the best outcome.
He stated that, “preparation for the conduct of the 2023 census has reached a point of no return; we have reach a point where we cannot jettison the exercise.
“We have done the digital mapping and we have done the census pre-test and everything was successful. We therefore want to assure Nigerians that the figures that will come out at the end of the exercise will be the exact figures.
The Chairman commended President Muhammadu Buhari who despite the challenges facing the country was committed to having the country conduct a successful population census.
He also commended Governor Samuel Ortom for supporting the exercise stating that the commitment showed the Governor’s understanding of the importance of demographic data to the development of the state
“That is why I urge Benue people to present themselves to be counted”, he said.
Declaring the Summit open, Governor Ortom said the meeting availed traditional rulers and stakeholders necessary information that would help them support the exercise better.
While urging the people of the state to deemphasize politics and support the conduct of the exercise to ensure its success, Ortom said.”

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Rising Insecurity In S’West Bothers Traditional Rulers, Experts

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Security experts, traditional rulers and other professionals have raised alarm over the rising wave of insurgence in the South West region, attributing it to the non-commitment of the Federal Government and its agencies to the protection of lives and property of the citizenry.
The experts made the assertion at a workshop organized by “The Yoruba Leadership Peace and Initiatives” with the theme “Safety and Security in Yorubaland”,  in Ibadan.
The Chairman, Western Security Network, Oyo State, Brigadier General Kunle Togun, (rtd), Rear Admiral Leye Jayeola, Orangun of Oke Ila, Oba Adedokun Abolarin and other speakers noted with dismay the rising waves of insecurity, its economic impact and threat to the lives of the people.
General Togun submitted that the government has failed in its constitutional responsibility of protecting the lives and property of its citizenry as there are daily reported cases of kidnapping, killings and other heinous acts nationwide
He said, “the way we are practising the adopted presidential system of government is not the same way it is being practised in the United States of America.
“Each state in America”, according to him, “operates under separate laws, which enable the establishment of state police. But in Nigeria, the reverse is the case”.
The former top military brass, who advocated for the establishment of State Police for effective policing, blamed the Federal Government for frustrating the efforts of the Western Security Networks, code-named Amotekun, to arm its men with sophisticated weapons to combat bandits, kidnappers and perpetrators of other heinous acts.
“Amotekun can only arrest and investigate but cannot prosecute offenders. But the sad aspect of it is that after arrest and investigation, the police authorities will release the suspect under the excuse that it is a bailable offence.
“Also, while local vigilantes and Neighbourhood watch from other regions are allowed to carry Ak-47, Amotekun is only licenced to carry Dane guns to combat criminals with sophisticated weapons.
“If truly, we are practising a presidential system of government, what is obtainable in the US should be obtainable in Nigeria as well”, he emphasized.
Speaking in the same vein, Rear Admiral Leye Jaiyeola (rtd) stated that Nigeria Police has the capability to curtail the activities of the kidnappers and bandits, if trained, equipped and motivated.
He added that the military is not trained to handle civil cases except in extreme situations but the police are trained in this aspect.
In her presentation, a University don, Dr Modupe Albert, called for synergy among the various security agencies.
According to her, we need synergy among the various security agencies to combat kidnapping, banditry and other vices in the region.
On his part, the Orangun of Oke-Ila, Osun State, Oba Adedokun Abolarinwa, blamed insurgence on poverty and unemployment.
He said insecurity would continue to persist once youth across the nation are not productive and engaged to contribute to the development of the country.

He, therefore, urged stakeholders in Yorubaland not to see the security of the region as the sole duty of the government, but as the duty of all, adding that democracy and stability cannot thrive without security.

According to him, Yoruba people should put aside their personal interests and differences and support the call for the security of the lives and property of people in the region.

In his words, “poverty in the land is caused by unemployment. Let’s attack the issue of poverty in the rural areas, let’s be our brother’s keepers and chart a pathway to unite and tackle insecurity in this region.

“Let us all get involved, we cannot afford to leave everything to the government, we traditional rulers have our role to play in the safety of Yorubaland and everybody also has to contribute their quota towards the security of our region.

“There can’t be development without security, all hands must be on deck.

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FG Moves To Protect Children In Digital Environment

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In a bid to protect children in today’s varied digital world, the Federal Executive Council (FEC) has approved the National Child Online Protection Policy and Strategy.
Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Malam Isah Pantami, disclosed this while speaking with newsmen at the end of the Cabinet Meeting in Abuja last Wednesday.
Pantami said the policy was in line with the International Telecommunication Union’s policy document for all its member countries and aimed at protecting children from the harmful side of the digital environment.
“There are many benefits of going online; the world population reached 10 billion on November 15, 2022.
“Today, we have around 6.3 billion people online and by implication, among this number, you will discover many children.
“They will not be able to differentiate what is beneficial and what is harmful.
“According to a report by the International Telecommunication Union, more than one billion children were online during COVID-19 lockdowns for their studies because schools were shut.
“Today, without any solicitation, you will discover that many things are coming into your device on-line and unsolicited,’’ the Minister said.
Pantami said children would not beable to avoid such unsolicited items online which would definitely affect their innocence  morally and otherwise.
“The document has been titled: `keeping children safe in the digital environment’.
“All member countries have been urged to ensure they come up with a policy where children will be protected.
“It is because of this that we organised stakeholder engagement, where we invited around 37 institutions of government since it is multi-sector issue.
“The Ministry of Information and Culture, the National Broadcasting Commission and the National Orientation Agency, among others, have roles to play.
“The Office of the National Security Adviser and other security agencies have roles to play; the Ministry of Justice has a role to play to differentiate what is legal and what is illegal,’’ Pantami added.
He said the cabinet also approved the Nigeria Data Protection Bill to ensure the privacy and confidentiality of data being submitted to government and to other institutions.
The Minister said FEC also approved the National Duct One Policy aimed at institutionalising the provision of ducts during construction at federal, state a local government levels.
“This is the global best practice today.
“Before construction and even during the conceptualisation and design, there should be provision for ducts for road construction, bridges, rail lines, sea ports, and any important building,’’ Pantami said.

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