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National Assembly Panel Meets With NDDC Over 2021 Budget

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Officials of the Niger Delta Development Commission  (NDDC) have met with a joint session Of the National Assembly Committees on Niger Delta Affairs.
The agency had appeared before the panel to defend its proposed budget for the year 2021.
Although details of the proposed budget were not made public, a source in the agency – who did not want to be named for fear of victimisation, confirmed that the meeting was held last week.
The National Assembly has not approved a budget for the NDDC in two years.
The last budget approved was in 2020, where the lawmakers okayed N453,2 billion for the commission for 2020.
The approval was done amid opposition from some senators who had kicked against the budgetary allocations, citing administrative illegalities in the commission.
The NDDC, which was created by the Olusegun Obasanjo administration in response to decades of complaints of neglect by the oil-rich region, has little to show for the billions of naira it has received in the 19 years of its existence.
Prior to the last NDDC budget approval, the lawmakers had vowed not to pass any budget for the commission until a new board is constituted.
Although the Senate had confirmed 15 nominees for the NDDC board in October 2019, the president refused to inaugurate the board.

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FG Empowers 678 Farmers In Ogun, Taraba, Nasarawa

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The Federal Government, in partnership with the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), has empowered about 678 farmers through the IFAD COVID-19 Pandemic Rural Poor Stimulus Facility Grant in Ogun, Taraba and Nasarawa states.
The Acting National Programme Coordinator, FGN/IFAD Value Chain Development Programme, Dr. Fatima Aliyu, disclosed this at the flag-off ceremony of rice production inputs in Kogi State.
She said the Value Chain Development Programme (VCDP) was a joint programme by IFAD and the Federal Government and was implemented by the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development.
Giving the breakdown of the beneficiaries in the three states, Aliyu explained that 37 men and 72 women totalling 109 farmers were empowered in Ogun, 234 men and 215 women totalling 449 farmers were empowered in Taraba, while 43 men and 77 women totalling 120 were empowered in Nasarawa State bringing the grand total to 678 farmers.
She stated that the programme was aimed at boosting and improving farmers’ wealth, employment generation for youths, and fortifying Nigeria’s food security.
Aliyu said that the VCDP would also provide extension services to targeted farmers who will receive training on good practices in the application of fertilisers and agro-chemicals as well as farm management and climate-smart agriculture.
According to her, “This is a special occasion of the flag-off of agro-inputs distribution to our great farmers which has been made possible through the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) COVID-19 Rural Poor Stimulus Facility grant”
“In early 2020, there was an outbreak of COVID-19 pandemic which affected the world and disrupted farming activities and food systems.  To cushion the effect of COVID-19 pandemic on farmers, IFAD gave a grant tagged Rural Poor Stimulus Facility (RPSF) to VCDP through the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development.
“Through the RPSF, 2,793 vulnerable farmers will receive agro inputs to support their farming activities.
“A total of 678 farmers in Ogun, Taraba and Nasarawa states will receive these inputs free consisting of 40kg certified rice seeds, 2 litres of herbicides, 2 bags of NPK and one bag of Urea fertilizers.
“To enhance transparency in the process, the programme engaged the International Fertilizer Development Centre (IFDC) for the effective management of the input – supply, redemption and delivery in all the nine states through the voucher input redemption system.
“We recognise and appreciate the support of IFAD in our quest to improve the livelihoods of our smallholder farmers and specifically to mitigate the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on the agricultural sector, particularly for VCDP farmers.
“To our respected farmers, we implore you to make judicious use of the inputs. The inputs are not meant to be sold out but for you to use them on your farms”.

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Anambra House Of Assembly Expresses Shock Over Member’s Murder

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The Anambra State House of Assembly has expressed deep shock over the news of the gruesome murder of one of its member, Mr  Okechukwu Okoye, by alleged gunmen.
Mr Uche Okafor,Speaker of the House,in  a statement issued by his Chief Press Secretary,Chief  Emma Madu, yesterday in Akwa,  described the act as heart piercing and unfortunate.
According to him,  Okoye was one of the outspoken and articulate  lawmakers, adding that the legislative institution in the state has lost a quality member, in the person of  the fallen law maker.
Okafor  said the late lawmaker had a great sense of humour and was deeply  committed to duty, adding  that his demise would be felt in the House for a long time to come.
He urged Gov. Chukwuma Soludo, not to relent in his efforts toward achieving maximum security of lives and property of residents.
Okafor further called on all well-meaning citizens to join hands with the governor in the direction of the fight against social ills and all forms of criminality in Anambra.
The Speaker, on behalf of other state lawmakers, then  commiserated with the immediate family of late Okoye, his kinsmen, Gov. Soludo, the entire Isuofia community and Anambra State at large on the death of the politician.
Okafor enjoined all to take solace in the fact that the short but eventful life of the the late Okoye was full of quality service to God and humanity and would remain ever green in the hearts of the people.
He prayed God to grant him eternal rest.
The Tide source reports  that Okoye  was a member of the state legislature, who represented Aguata 2 Constituency.
He was kidnapped on May 15 and his lifeless body found on May 21, at Nnobi in Idemili South  Local Government Area of the state.

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Police Arrest Primary School Teacher For Rape In Ogun

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A 25-year-old teacher at a nursery and primary school in Ago Iwoye, Ogun State, Ayobami Runsewe, has been arrested by the police for an alleged rape of a 13-year-old girl.
This was contained in a statement signed by the state police spokesperson, Abimbola Oyeyemi, and made available to journalists in Abeokuta at the weekend.
In the statement, Mr Oyeyemi said the mother had gone to the station with the victim to report how the teacher reportedly lured her to his house.
The teacher was alleged to have had “unlawful carnal knowledge” after an evening class, at about 4:30pm.
Mr Oyeyemi, a Deputy Supretendent of Police, said “the blood soaked pants of the victim was brought to the station as an evidence”.
Mr Oyeyemi added that upon the report, “the DPO of Ago Iwoye, SP Noah Adekanye, had detailed detectives to the scene where the randy teacher was promptly arrested.
“On interrogation, he initially denied having anything with the victim, but when the victim confronted him, he was unable to say anything further”.
The statement said the Ogun State Commissioner of Police, Lanre Bankole, has directed that the teacher be moved to the anti-human trafficking and child labour unit for further investigation.

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