The African Union Development Agency and the New Partnership for Africa’s Development (AUDA-NEPAD), in collaboration with Delta State Government, have trained and empowered about 3,380 farmers in the State.
Governor Ifeanyi Okowa, who flagged off the One-Day training programme, organised by AUDA-NEPAD and the Delta State Government on Wednesday in Asaba, said benefitting farmers would be trained in six commodities; fisheries, rice, cassava, poultry, piggery and vegetables.
The Tide’s source reports that the theme of the programme was, “Innovative Strengthening of Smallholder Farmers Capabilities Towards Productive Land Restoration Amid COVID-19 and Flood in Nigeria”.
Okowa, represented by the Secretary to the State Government (SSG), Chief Patrick Ukah, thanked the African Union, AUDA-NEPAD for selecting Delta State as one of the pilot states in Nigeria for the implementation of the programme.
He said the programme has been domesticated and domiciled in the state Ministry of Agriculture and Natural Resources as a 10-year plan to grow agriculture and boost food security in the state.
According to the Governor, this programme is one of the landmark initiatives of the African Union which came on the heels of economic devastation brought by COVID-19 pandemic.
“Its four major objectives are, eradicating poverty, promoting sustainable growth and development, integrating Africa and the World economy, including the accelerated development of women.
“Agriculture remains central to African countries in their pursuit of these objectives, but they lack the technical leverage of the industrialised world.
“This is why the broad aim of the programme is to strengthen smallholder farmers, accelerate productive land restoration, combat desertification and promote the use of innovative technology to reduce post-harvest loses and maximise food security in Nigeria and in Africa, he stated.
“Against this backdrop, the AUDA-NEPAD programme is domesticated for sustainability, it’s a 10-year plan food sufficiency in our continent.
“It will help to meet the domestic food need and actualise the zero hunger policy of Nigeria, the African Union and the SMART Agenda of Delta.”
Okowa added, “to achieve this in Delta, the AUDA-NEPAD, with the support of the state government, has screened and selected 3,380 smallholder farmers across the 25 Local Government Areas of the state comprising of men, women and persons living with disabilities.”
He, however, charged the participants to remain committed to the programme in order to grow the country’s economy through agriculture.
In her remarks, National Co-ordinator and Chief Executive Officer, AUDU-NEPAD, Princess Gloria Akobundu, represented by its State Director, Mrs Christie Eruotor, said the programme was to cushion the impact of COVID-19 and Flood on the farmers.
Akobundu, however, said the benefiting farmers would be adequately empowered at the end of the programme on innovative technologies on how to increase their farming activities.
Earlier, in his address, the State Commissioner for Agriculture and Natural Resources, Dr Geoffrey Enita, said that the programme was an intervention of African Union that entails a 10-year support for African governments.
According to him, it is COVID intervention by the African Union that entails a 10-year support for African governments to undertake a range of measures to protect their population from the immediate and long term social, economic and humanitarian impact of the pandemic.
He noted that the programme was spearheaded by the Nigerian Governors Forum, which appointed Gov. Okowa and his Akwa Ibom counterpart, Prof. Emmanuel Udom, to represent the South South region.
He said that at the end of the training of the selected 3,380 smallholder farmers, that the African Union Continental Office was expected to fund their empowerment.
While thanking the State Government for attracting the programme, Enita tasked the farmers, whom he described as the bedrock of food production, to remain committed to the training to upgrade their knowledge on best farming practice.
In their goodwill messages, former State Commissioner for Agriculture, Chief Julius Egbedi, and Chief Jerry Ossai, Former, State Chairman, All Farmers Association of Nigeria (AFAN), lauded the programme, saying the country has no business with hunger if every household could own a small farm.
According to them, the state government has shown commitment by paying its counterpart funds to attract most programmes to grow the state economy.
Troops Deployed To Quell Akwa Ibom Communal Clash
Troops have been deployed to quell the ongoing violence in Eket, Esit Eket and Ibeno local government areas of Akwa Ibom State.
The actors are laying claim to a piece of land – Stubb Creek Forest, already acquired by the state government for the proposed refinery project by BUA Company Ltd.
The Tide source gathered that Eket and Esit Eket, claiming ownership of the land and other disputed areas of Ibeno, instituted a lawsuit, but suddenly embarked on violent protest, barricading the major Eket-Ibeno Road, leading to the ExxonMobil’s Qua Iboe Terminal (QIT) at Mkpanak community.
Justifying the protest, the President-General (PG) of the apex socio-cultural group, Eket Peoples Union (EPU), Dr Samuel Udonsak, said the action became necessary in order to draw government attention to the issues in dispute as Ibeno continues to lay claim to the land, and other areas allegedly belonging to Eket in the neighbouring Ibeno LGA.
He accused the state government of complicity and alleged that in seizing the disputed Stubb Creek forest for Bua refinery project without consulting the stakeholders, elders and leaders of Eket, with a view to arriving at amicable resolution of the issues in dispute, lasting peace would continue to be a mirage.
But Governor Umo Eno has warned the feuding LGAs to adhere to the peace path as the issue is still pending in court, adding that the government would not join the issue until all parties resolve to sheathe their swords as no negotiation works in a crisis situation.
The governor, who spoke through the Commissioner for Information and Strategy, Comrade Iniobong Ememobong, enjoined security agencies to work collaboratively with the new Ministry of Internal Security and Waterways led by the Commissioner, Gen Koko Essien (rtd), to restore peace.
However, the Police Public Relations Officer, CSP Odiko MacDon, said calm has returned to the troubled areas, as troops have been drafted to work with the regular police, mobile police and other security operatives drawn from the Ministry of Internal Security and Waterways.
He said, “The commissioner of police (CP), Waheed Ayilara, has visited the scene and working jointly with troops and other security agencies including the Ministry of Internal Security and Waterways, to restore normalcy and cleared the barricade on the road. The police have assisted in clearing the injured to the hospital where they are currently receiving treatment.”
“He (CP) has engaged leaders and stakeholders in dialogue for peace,” he said and underscored the importance of security as everyone’s business and indulged government, religious, traditional rulers and youths to be in the vanguard of lasting peace in the affected areas.
Delta Moves To Revitalise State-Owned Broadcast Media
Delta State Government has inaugurated a committee to work out ways of revitalising state-owned Broadcasting Station.
Dr. Ifeanyi Osuoza, the state’s Commissioner for Information, unveiled this development during a meeting with the Chairman and members of the Board of Delta Broadcasting Service, Warri, held at his office in Asaba.
Dr. Osuoza underscored the comprehensive nature of the committee’s mandate, emphasizing its task to meticulously assess the challenges confronting both Delta Broadcasting Service in Asaba and Warri. He stressed the necessity of devising pragmatic strategies to elevate their prominence within the state’s information dissemination framework and to foster healthy competition with other broadcasting entities.
In an earlier address, Chief Moses Odibo, Chairman of the Board of Delta Broadcasting Service, Warri, congratulated Dr. Osuoza on his appointment. He highlighted Osuoza’s previous tenure as Chairman of the Board of DBS, Warri, expressing confidence in his ability to grasp the challenges and effectively tackle them in his current role as Commissioner
AKSG Restates Commitment To Development Of State
The Akwa Ibom State Government says it would not relent its effort in ensuring an even development of the state by ensuring that youths contribute meaningfully to the development of the State.
The Governor of the State, Pastor Umo Eno stated this at the 2Africa Sub-marine Cable Landing – a high speed broadband infrastructure by Main One Equinix Company, at Qua Iboe Beach, behind ExxonMobil Qua Iboe Terminal, Ibeno.
Eno, who celebrated the coming of the proposed project in the state, said government will provide the right of way, as the cable makes its way through Akwa Ibom to the South South and South East.
Eno said the ICT sector was of special interest to the state, as technology was critical to the attainment of the core pillars of the ARISE Agenda which, he noted, is the economic blueprint of his administration.
The governor said government was poised to deploy ICT to all the pillars, ranging from agriculture to rural development, infrastructure and security, adding that government was building a very robust security architecture in the state that would be launched soon to track all kidnappers and criminals wherever they may be.
Eno, who noted the importance of the projects for Akwa Ibom youths, said the event marked a expansion of the cable landing to a coastal state in Nigeria, outside Lagos, and that the project is not a mean feat.
The state chief executive officer, while celebrating the great effort that engraved Akwa Ibom on the map of ICT innovation and economic and technological benefit, was optimistic that Akwa Ibom youths would be ready to go to work, as they can earn money from their living rooms. The general counsel and regional business head, MainOneEquinix Company, Abayomi Adebanjo, said the deployment of the state of-the-art infrastructure paves the way for the advancement of critical sectors of the economic through the proliferation of 4G, 5G and fixed broadband accessibility. Abayomi said by providing robust connectivity and technological advancements, the ICT company empowers businesses, educational institutions, healthcare facilities and countless other sectors to not only thrive in the digital age but also achieve their potentials.
He said the establishment of the submarine cable ensures cable diversity and resilience for Nigeria, aligning perfectly with the key success parameters outlined in the National Broadband Plan, even as the strategic initiative enhances the nations digital infrastructure resilience, safeguarding against potential disruptions and ensuring uninterrupted connectivity for all Nigerian citizens.
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