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Nigeria Becoming Fertiliser Powerhouse In Africa, Buhari Boasts

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President Muhammadu Buhari, yesterday, in Abuja, attributed Nigeria’s rising prominence as Africa’s fertiliser powerhouse to the implementation of the right policies by the present administration.
According to a statement by Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Femi Adesina, Buhari at an audience with the Executive Committee of Fertiliser Producers and Suppliers’ Association of Nigeria (FEPSAN) said: “With our over 70 blending plants operating, Nigeria is on its way to becoming Africa’s fertiliser powerhouse. And with our mega Urea production facilities, Nigeria is definitely a global player in the urea space.”
The president noted that this remarkable achievement, in a very short period of time, had ensured a steady flow of investments to the sector from the private sector; bringing prosperity to millions of Nigerians and good returns to the investors.
He expressed delight that the era of a persistent shortage of fertiliser in the country was now a thing of the past, commending FEPSAN for partnering with the government in the very patriotic backward integration project of enhancing the agricultural value chain.
He recounted steps taken by his administration to limit over-reliance on imports, ensure the availability of the commodity and achieve self-sufficiency in food production in the country.
“When this administration came to office in 2015, our focus was on three key areas; security, economy and tackling corruption,” he stated.
“For every nation to have peace and prosperity, its economy must be inclusive.
“For Nigeria, a predominantly agrarian nation, having an inclusive economy meant we needed to prioritise the enhancement of our agricultural value chain.
“We quickly identified the persistent shortage of fertilizer as a key reason for the low yields experienced on our farms.
“This historical scarcity of fertiliser was due to our over-reliance on imports and the inefficient participation of the Government in distributing this essential commodity to the farmers.
“As a government, it was very clear to us that these practices needed to change. Nigeria is naturally blessed with most of the raw materials needed to produce fertilisers.
“Nigeria has all the skills and manpower required to convert these raw materials to fertilisers. With the right enabling environment, Nigeria has entrepreneurs who are ready to invest in the sector.
“So, we went to work. And as the chairman of FEPSAN mentioned in his remarks, the rest is now history,” he said.
The president noted that a key indicator of the present government’s successful policies is the fact that the country had no shortages of fertilisers during the global COVID lockdowns.
“Today, I am pleased to hear your assurances that we will not have any shortages in Nigeria because of the Eastern European conflicts that have impacted the global fertiliser trade. All these trends indicate our backward integration policy was the right policy.”
Appreciating those who have invested and continue to invest in the sector, the president said: “Through these investments, you are double blessed as you are making profits and bringing prosperity to millions of Nigerians working in the agricultural value chain.”
In his remarks, Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) Governor, Godwin Emefiele, said fertiliser remains a key input to achieving food security and in the realisation of this, the apex bank has continued to place great importance on its availability and accessibility by farmers to improve yield, productivity and ultimately, output.
Highlighting some CBN’s interventions, including the Real Sector Support Facility, Commercial Agriculture Credit Scheme, National Food Security Programme and the Presidential Fertiliser Initiative (PFI), Emefiele said a total of over N114.09billion has been disbursed to support the fertiliser industry in the last five years.
He explained that the interventions were long-term loans at concessionary interest rates to support domestic blending and distribution across the country.
Given the massive funding support received by FEPSAN members from the CBN, Emefiele announced that the bank is working with majors in the industry, such as Dangote and Indorama, to ensure that they sell Urea at discounted prices to the blending plants to ensure that the prices of fertiliser are moderated in the market.
“The bank will equally work with the blending plants to ensure that the blended fertilisers are made available to end-user farmers at affordable prices,” he said.
On the CBN Anchor Borrowers’ Programme, the CBN governor said the bank has disbursed N941.26billion to 4.2million smallholder farmers cultivating 21 agricultural commodities on 5.4million hectares of land across the country.
He added that for the 2021 wet season programme, the CBN disbursed N193.59billion to 923,699 farmers cultivating seven commodities on 1.16million hectares of land.
According to Emefiele, the CBN currently has a balance of stock of fertiliser from the last planting season under the Anchor Borrowers’ Programme to the tune of 1.95million bags and has committed additional 2.6million bags for use during the 2022 programme.
Also speaking, FEPSAN President, Thomas Etuh thanked Buhari for commissioning two facilities by members of the association – Barbedos blending plant in Kaduna and the Dangote Urea plant in Lagos – within two months.
“Mr President, FEPSAN’s success is not only evident by the number of factories we commission, but also by the many pyramids of rice, maize and other crops you have been inspecting across the country.
“Mr President, before you created the PFI Initiative in 2016, Nigeria’s fertiliser production base was almost zero. We had less than seven companies producing at 10 per cent of their installed capacity. Nigeria’s Urea output was reported at less than 300,000 tons,” he said.
Citing recent data from a fertiliser working group that reviews and validates consumption data spanning over 12 years, Etuh said Nigeria recorded its highest consumption of fertilisers at 1.8million tons per annum in 2021.
He assured Nigerians that the association is ready, willing and available to ensure that fertilisers are available in all parts of the country for the 2022 wet season.

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Publish Details Of Parties’ Financial Transactions, SERAP Tasks INEC

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Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) has asked the Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Prof Mahmood Yakubu, to publish the reports of parties’ accounts and balance sheets.
The body also wants details of the guidelines and steps being taken to prevent vote buying in the forthcoming elections and to prosecute vote buyers and other electoral offenders.
In a letter, yesterday, SERAP Deputy Director, Kolawole Oluwadare, noted that citizens have the right to know about the accounts and financial transactions of parties.
He said transparency and accountability would curb the influence of money in politics, promote a level playing field, and remove the risks to the independence of political actors and would-be public office holders.
The organisation insisted it is both immoral and illegal to pay citizens to vote for a particular political party or standard-bearer.
“Unpunished cases of vote buying would continue to undermine good governance, the rule of law, moral values, as well as hinder citizens’ participation in elections”, it said.
SERAP told INEC that when candidates buy votes, there are possibilities that they will disregard for democratic rules.
“Vote buying and related electoral offences encourage poor governance and weaken citizens’ capacity to hold their elected officials accountable for their actions.”
SERAP charged the electoral umpire to collaborate with anti-corruption agencies to ensure the effective prosecution of any outstanding cases of vote buying and related electoral offences.
The letter urged INEC to act within 14 days or face legal actions that would compel it to comply with the request.

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RSG Recommits To Engaging Youth Positively

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The Rivers State Government has said it was committed to engaging youths positively and empowering them.
The State Chief Executive, Chief Nyesom Wike, stated this during the opening ceremony of the Uplifting African Youth Through Basketball Programme in Port Harcourt, last Friday.
Represented by his Deputy, Dr. Ipalibo Harry Banigo, Wike said the issues of youths and young adults were very important to his administration, while expressing delight that youths were being built up with critical life skills in sports, communication, and entrepreneurial leadership skills needed for Rivers State, Nigeria, and Africa.
“This administration is very interested in youth engagements, we want to make sure that our youths are very inclusive, participate, play their roles, and be well mentored and well-motivated to be able to fulfill all of their potentials in life, educationally, in sports, morally and so we are here to support”, the governor stressed.
The governor expressed gratitude to the leader of the Organised Basketball Network (OBN) and his team, for their efforts and the support of the US Consulate, while urging them to visit the Real Madrid Football Academy in Port Harcourt, to appreciate the efforts of the state government in the area of youth engagement.
The youth friendly governor, said “I want to encourage our youths that as you walk together in the next two days, you would learn how to be tolerant with one another and to know that gender based violence is totally not acceptable and that it is inhumane, I know it is just two days, but a lot can be achieved that can be life time impactful”.
In her remarks, the United States Consulate’s Deputy Public Affairs Officer, Jennifer Foltz said the United States and Nigeria have very special and close relationship, adding that the Consulate feels this was the right time to do a sports programme.
“Sports diplomacy is part of what we do, it is part of some ways we build stronger relationships between our two countries, sports brings people together, and even if you do not speak the same language you can still play sports together”, Foltz stressed.
Earlier, the leader of the Organised Basketball Network, Obinna Ekezie said OBN was a platform founded for the development of grassroots basketball in Nigeria and Africa with a mission to develop the next generation of world-class African student athletes and consistently create opportunities to help them advance their careers overseas, through basketball scholarship.
He said the project uplifting African youths was a project to provide inclusion and opportunities for under privileged talented African youths to learn important life skills through basketball.

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PDP Assembly, Reps Candidates Emerge In Rivers

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Candidates for the House of Representatives and House of Assembly have emerged following the conduct of primaries by the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Rivers State, yesterday.
According to the official results, Solomon Bob emerged the party’s candidate for Abua/Odual/Ahoada East Federal Constituency while Victor Obuzor emerged the candidate for Ahoada West/Ogba/Egbema Federal Constituency.
Also, Awaji Inombek Abiante won the ticket for Andoni/Opobo Federal Constituency, just as Boma Goodhead returned elected for the Asari-Toru/Akuku-Toru Federal Constituency while Cyril Godwin Hart won Degema/Bonny Federal Constituency ticket.
The results further show that Felix Nwaeke emerged the candidate of the PDP for Eleme/Tai/Oyigbo Federal Constituency, with Boniface Emerengwa emerging winner for Ikwerre/Emohua Federal Constituency.
In the same vein, Kelechi Nwogu cruised to victory as the candidate for Etche/Omuma Federal Constituency while Dumnamene Dekor won Khana/Gokana Federal Constituency ticket.
Similarly, Kingsley Ogundu Chinda emerged the House of Representatives candidate for Obio/Akpor Federal Constituency, while Alabo Victor Tamunomiekaye won Okrika/Ogu/Bolo Federal Constituency ticket.
Chima Boms won Port Harcourt Federal Constituency 2 while Barrister Blessing Amadi is the winner of the primary election for Port HarcourtFederal Constituency 1.
For the Rivers State House of Assembly primary, Hon Dominic Iderima picked the ticket for Abua/Odual, Mrs Queen Williams picked the ticket for Ahoada East 1,Rt Hon Ehe Edison emerged the candidate for Ahoada East 2, while Hon Sokari Goodboy Sokari cruised to victory for Ahoada West.
Hon Major Jack won the ticket for Akuku-Toru 1, Hon Opuende Lolo Isaiah is the candidate for Akuku-Toru 2, Hon Ofiks Kabangs Christopher grabbed the ticket to represent Andoni, whileHon Tekena Wellington Granville got the ticket for Asari-Toru 1.
Also, a serving member, Enemi Alabo George easily won the ticket for Asari-Toru 2, just as Hon Victor Oko Jumbo got the nod to represent Bonny, while Hon Abbey Peter emerged the candidate for Degema.
Hon Igwe Obey Aforji emerged the PDP candidate for Eleme, Emohua will be represented by Mrs Justina Emeji, Hon Onwuka Ignatiuswon the ticket to represent Etche 1, while Hon Chimezie Nwankwor is the candidate for Etche 2.
The present member representing Gokana, Hon Dumle Maol, will retain his ticket for the seat, Prince Lemchi Nyeche emerged the candidate for Ikwerre 1, Mrs Barile Nwakoh won the ticket for Khana1, while Barrister Dinebari Loolo got the ticket for Khana 2.
In Obio/Akpor1, Hon Amaewhule Martin Chike was returned, just as Mrs Emilia Lucky Amadi emerged the candidate for Obio/Akpor 2, and Frankline Nwabochi will fly PDP flag for Ogba/Egbema/Ndoni1.
In the same token, Mrs Nkemuika Ezekwe will fight for Ogba/Egbema/Ndoni2 seat on the platform of the PDP, Davids Arnold Okobiriari won the ticket for Ogu/Bolo, a serving member, Somiari Steward Linda will return in Okrika, while Nwankwo Sylvanus emerged for Omuma seat.
Orubienimigha Adolphus grabbed the ticket for Opobo/Nkoro,Hon Gerald Oforji emerged for Oyigbo, Solomon Wami won the ticket for Port Harcourt1,Hon Tonye Smart Adoki will return for Port Harcourt2, Hon Azeru Opara emerged for Port Harcourt3, and Ngbar Bernard Baridamue won the ticket for Tai.

By: Nelson Chukwudi & Reward Akwu

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