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Delta, AUDA-NEPAD Empower 3,380 Farmers Against COVID -19, Flood

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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.

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Niger Delta

London Museum Returns Looted Benin Bronzes To Nigeria

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A small museum in south-east London has begun the official process of returning looted Benin bronzes to Nigeria. The Horniman Museum, which houses a collection of 72 treasured items that were taken by force from Benin City in 1897, officially handed over ownership of the artifacts to the Nigerian government.
The Horniman described returning the looted objects as a “moral and appropriate” response after a request from Nigeria’s National Commission for Museums and Monuments (NCMM). There are still questions about whether thousands of items which were held at large institutions globally, including the British Museum, will ever be sent back.
However, the first six objects which were being returned includes two Benin Bronze plaques from the royal palace which were handed over to Nigerian officials at a ceremony marking the transfer of ownership of 72 looted items. The items were taken from Benin City by British troops in February 1897.
Nick Merriman, chief executive of the Horniman Museum and Gardens, and prof. Abba Tijani, the NCMM’s director general, were asked by journalists ahead of the official handover if they were frustrated at the British Museum’s apparent reluctance to hand over the 900 objects it had held for more than a century. Merriman, who said the Horniman had been an “excellent example” of leadership, stated that, “Journalists who ask me about the Benin return always want to ask me about the British Museum.”

“I would rather talk about what an excellent example the Horniman is rather than answer questions about the British Museum.” The six objects selected in consultation with the NCMM as being representative of the collection of 72 items form the first wave of physical repatriation of Benin objects from the Horniman.

A new agreement between the NCMM and the Horniman will allow the remainder to stay in Britain on loan for now, with a second phase of physical repatriations to follow in due course. Professor Tijani later explained that about 5,000 Benin bronzes were currently “scattered” around the world. He said that he is hoping that talks with various institutions may result in deals that could herald the items being returned from places including Germany and the U.S.

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Niger Delta

Underage Street Traders Increase Bothers Agency

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The Delta State Capital Territory Development Agency has expressed worries at the increasing number of underage street traders.
The agency consequently blamed parents of such traders for their failure to ensure proper care of their children and wards.
Its Director-General, Mrs Joan Onyemaechi, told newsmen in Asaba that underage children were becoming common sight on streets in the state capital, whereas such children were supposed to be in school.
According to her, the proliferation of street trading has become worrisome and steps will be taken to ensure that children are taken off the streets.
“More than 8,000 under-age children are on the streets, especially at Koka and Ibusa junctions of Asaba, selling pure water and other items when they are supposed to be in school,’’ she noted.
Earlier, some of the hawkers, who spoke with newsmen, said they ventured into selling pure water to earn a living as there were no persons to cater to their well-being.

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Ndiomu Lauds PAP’s First Class Graduates, Others As Admiralty Varsity Holds Maiden Convocation

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The Interim Administrator of the Presidential Amnesty Programme (PAP), Maj. Gen Barry Ndiomu (rtd) has applauded PAP’s First-Class graduates at the Admiralty University of Nigeria, Ebusa, Delta State.
The ceremony, which was the school’s maiden convocation, held on the campus, at Asaba, the Delta State capital, saw a female beneficiary of the PAP scholarship, Ms Ebike-Emiyen Doma Perewolatei, emerging as the best graduating student in the Faculty of Arts, Management and Social Science for the 2021/2022 academic session.
The Tide learnt that Ms Perewolatei, who bagged four other awards, including cash gifts, clinched a coveted First-Class degree in History and International Studies with a CGPA of 4.86.
While Alagha Tarinpre Angela, another PAP scholarship beneficiary, who also bagged a First Class degree, was presented with an award and cash gift as the student who exhibited the best leadership qualities.
Another PAP Scholarship beneficiary graduate, Mr Famous Tumodi, who also bagged first-class honours, was awarded the best graduating student in International Relations and Tourism Studies.
In the same vein, another beneficiary of the PAP Scholarship, James Ayefemawei Thomas, emerged as the best graduating student with a first-class degree in Accounting, Business Administration and Economics on a CGPA of 4.72.
Other PAP Scholarship beneficiaries among the ten that bagged First Class are: Olotu Jerry, Peters Isobeye Princess, Bernard Moses Ebiwei, Azibanataram Reuben, Moses Diepreye Immaculate, and Iko Tokoni.
The Tide also learnt that aside the 10 students, 61 other beneficiaries of the Amnesty Programme also awarded Second Class Upper Division at the ceremony in which a total of 118 beneficiaries of the programme graduated.
Speaking on behalf of the Interim Administrator of the Presidential Amnesty Programme, Maj. Gen Barry Ndiomu (rtd), Head of the Reintegration Department, PAP, Wilfred Musa, said the Presidential Amnesty Programme was proud to have sponsored very brilliant minds who have been found worthy in character and learning.
He charged the recently graduated beneficiaries to continue to be good Ambassadors of the university, themselves, the PAP, and the Niger Delta at large, assuring that a good future awaits them if they choose to continue in the excellence they have exhibited in their academics.
He further expressed excitement about the award presented to Ms Alagha Tarinpre Angela, commending her for being an excellent example of a leader, saying it was worthy of emulation by Niger Deltans.
“The PAP is committed to excellence and these students have shown that there is a great future for the Niger Delta region.
“The Interim Admnistrator has revealed that the PAP will not renege on its existing commitment to the students under its scholarship programme.
“General Ndiomu has advised students undergoing studies in other universities to emulate the exemplary academic excellence of these fresh graduates”, he said.

By: Ariwera Ibibo-Howells, Yenagoa

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