The Akwa Ibom State Government has called on investors across the world to invest in agriculture and other sectors in the state, assuring them of providing enabling environment.
The State Governor, Umo Eno, said this at a High Level Meeting tagged “Attracting investments in Land Restoration, Food Systems and Rural Transformation in Africa”.
The meeting was organised by African Union Development Agency-New Partnership for Africa’s Development (AUDA-NEPAD), Nigeria, in collaboration with AUDA-NEPAD Continental on margins of the 78th session of UN General Assembly.
Eno, who was represented by his Senior Special Assistant, Dr Ekem John, spoke on his readiness to welcome investors to his state and give them maximum support.
According to him, apart from Abuja, the Nigerian Federal Capital Territory, Akwa Ibom has made conscious efforts to put infrastructure to attract investors.
“We are making conscious efforts in terms of the three gateways – land, air and sea. You can go to anywhere within Akwa Ibom in one hour on motorable roads.
“We conscious of the fact that as we’re promoting agriculture, small farm holders in our rural areas must be able to evacuate their produce.
“In terms of air infrastructure. We’re the first sub-national governments to build and operate an airport efficiently.
“I think we’re the first sub-national government in West Africa to own an airline and that airline traverses the entire Nigeria and in the coming few days, in October, we’ll be establishing regional flights from Uyo.
“So, investors can seize that opportunity to invest in agriculture in Akwa Ibom”, he said.
The Governor said he had separated the Ministry of Agriculture and Water Resources, and mandated the Ministry of Water Resources to begin to work out modalities to improve on the irrigation farming.
Eno said he was recently in Benin Republic where he signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the Songhai farms and “the idea really, is to train small farm holders into adopting modern agric practices.
“So, we’re setting up a Songhai farm in Akwa Ibom and we’re recruiting young people are trying to make agric fashionable for the young people. So, they are paid the salaries, trained and then allowed to go and establish and run their farms.
“The government is also thinking ahead by providing storage facilities for these farmers that we are bringing on board.
“And let me also say that apart from the education in terms of regulation, just last week, before we departed for this meeting, we clamped down on some companies”, he stated.
Speaking in an interview at the event, Sen. Abdulaziz Yar’dua, Chairman, Senate Committee on Nigerian Army, said the event was important to Nigeria because it discussed challenges faced my rural farmers and way forward.
“So, it is important to attract financing, investment and also ensure that certain processes are put in place so that our farmers, rural farmers can have very good harvest.
“We’re doing everything possible in Nigeria to ensure that all the things that are needed within the agriculture value chain are provided to the farmers but most importantly.
“This event and this session that I attended, which involves attracting international financing, is to ensure that our rural farmers are given access to finance”, Yar’dua said.
He recalled that in last administration, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) had to be involved in getting the rural farmers access finance.
“You know the Nigerian financial institutions were not interested in giving access to finance to our rural farmers, basically because they believe agriculture is not a business and they believe they cannot quickly get profit out of that.
“So, in the last administration, the government had to involve the CBN through the Anchor Borrowers scheme to ensure that our rural farmers are having access to finance.
“With this international financing investment, I think it will add value to what is existing in Nigeria to ensure that our rural farmers get access to finance, get capacity, get knowledge of modern agriculture”, he said.
The s5enator said it is important for farmers to understand that agriculture is a business.
“We need to build their capacity in order to ensure that they reap maximum benefit in what they do.
“So that it does not stop just at subsistence farming that we do only during the rainy season but that will be an all year round funding for our rural farmers and once you engage rural communities, of course, the economy will improve the gross domestic product of the country will improve”, he said.
PAP: Kuku Urges Ndiomu To Revive, Complete Vocational Centres
Former Special Adviser on Niger Delta Affairs to ex-President Goodluck Jonathan, Kingsley Kuku, has urged the Interim Administrator of the Presidential Amnesty Programme (PAP), Major General Barry Ndiomu (rtd), to revive and complete all Vocational Training Centers in the Niger Delta region.
Kuku, who also served as Chairman of the PAP under the Jonathan administration, made particular reference to the vandalised Vocational Training Center in Kaiama, Kolokuma Opokuma Local Government Area of Bayelsa State, carried out by hoodlums in 2019.
Making the appeal at the Presidential Amnesty Office in Abuja on Wednesday during a courtesy visit to the Interim Administrator, Kuku regretted that the facility will undoubtedly cost billions of naira to revive.
“Bring back the centre no matter what it will cost you,” he said, adding that the facility when revived, can serve as advanced training centre for universities in the region, even beyond being a facility for training ex-agitators.
Kuku commended late President Umar Yar’Adua, ex-Presidents Goodluck Jonathan and Muhammadu Buhari, as well as incumbent President Bola Tinubu for the creation and sustenance of the Programme.
On malicious media attacks against Ndiomu, Kuku urged the Interim Administrator to remain steadfast in his “commendable” resolve to impact lives in the Niger Delta.
Administrator. The only thing you will get are abuses. But they will thank you tomorrow,” Kuku added.
Commending the Aviation Resuscitation Programme for Pilots/Aircraft Maintenance Engineers under which some of the beneficiaries are currently undergoing their Type-rating Programme in South Africa, Kuku said, “In today’s Aviation Industry, any Pilot without Type-rating is nothing. You are touching lives. After what you are doing for them now, they will get jobs easily”.
He expressed delight that Ndiomu has brought back hope to the Niger Delta, and assured of his unalloyed support towards sustaining the gains of the Amnesty Programme.
Earlier in his remarks, General Ndiomu told Kuku that his administration is resolutely building on many of his legacies, adding that the enormous number of graduates under the Amnesty Scheme today, can be traced to his (Kuku’s) doggedness to better the lives of ex-agitators.
The Interim Administrator regretted that after such hard work and efforts put in by Kuku, it is “disappointing” and “embarrassing” that his administration came on board and inherited huge debts.
“For me, it was a bit irresponsible and reckless. But I came in here to surmount these challenges,” he said.
While noting that the Amnesty Programme has not fully lived up to its objectives, Ndiomu recommended a possible transition of the scheme into “a Social Investment Agency” to directly impact the lives of youths in the region.
Ndiomu disclosed that the Vocational Training Center in Agadagba-Obon in Ese-Odo Local Government Area of Ondo State, when completed, will be named after Kuku, regretting however, the vandalization of the Kaiama Vocational Training Center in Bayelsa State.
The Amnesty Office also disclosed that 106 out of over 800 beneficiaries have been trained and certified in various digital skills, in its partnership with the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA). This is as over 600 are currently undergoing various digital courses.
Calabar Wears New Look Ahead Of Carnival
The capital city of Cross River State, Calabar, is wearing a new look ahead of the commencement of the 2023 edition of the Annual Calabar Carnival scheduled to begin today.
The TIde’s source reports that in a bid to ensure seamless movement, the State Government has put finishing touches to the rehabilitation of major streets and roads in the city.
While drainage system across Calabar Municipality are being desilted, waste managers also worked round the clock to rid the streets and roads of wastes.
The lawn on major roads and streets, especially in the carnival routes, have received the attention of the landscapers.
The aesthetics of Calabar have been further enhanced with the reactivation of street lights on major roads and streets across the municipality.
The government is also matching word with action to organise the best carnival since its inception in 2004 by carrying out rehabilitation of junctions in the city.
While the junctions have been adorned with lighting and Christmas decorations, the foremost Millennium Park has been transformed to signpost the commencement of the carnival.
The decorated junctions include Eleven Eleven, Mary Slessor, Calabar Calabar, Effiete and Etta Agbor.
Executive Secretary of the state’s Carnival Commission, Mr Austine Cobham, had recently disclosed plans to make the 2023 edition of the festival the best organised in history.
Cobham had disclosed that four countries, South Africa, Brazil, Turkey and Egypt would participate in the carnival.
He further said 26 states of the federation had also indicated interest to be part of the annual carnival.
He assured that adequate arrangements had been put in place to ensure security of lives and property before, during and after the festival.
stopped. For instance, the children carnival is coming back after 10 years.
“Again, concentration will not just be in Calabar alone, central and northern parts of the state will also be made to feel the carnival.
“Just like we are lighting up major roads and streets in Calabar for the festival, same will be done in central and northern parts of the state”, he stated.
The source also reports that as part of the plans to ensure seamless movement in and out Calabar, the State Government had on Tuesday inaugurated additional aircrafts to boost the fleet of the state-owned airline, Cally Air.
The Governor, Sen. Bassey Otu, had said the Boeing 737, with the previous plane, yesterday, started and will be flying from Abuja and Lagos to Calabar during the 32-day carnival.
The annual carnival, which started in 2004, has taken place every year, except in 2020 and 2021, due to the COVID-19 lock down.
2023 NCDMB’s PNC: Petroleum Ministers, Others To Meet In Yenagoa
The Nigerian Content Development and Monitoring Board (NCDMB) has said all is now set for the 2023 annual Practical Nigerian Content (PNC) forum.
A statement made available to newsmen, midweek, in Yenagoa, by the management of the board says the 2023 PNC is billed to kick-off at the NCDMB’s content tower, its headquarters in Swali, Yenagoa, the Bayelsa State capital from 4th through 7th December, 2023.
The board’s management also stated that this year’s PNC is the 12th edition of the annual event in which stakeholders and operators of the oil and gas industry are expected to converge to brainstorm on prospects and challenges in the sector.
According to the NCDMB, the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources (Oil), Senator Heineken Lokpobiri, and his Gas counterpart, Hon. Ekperikpo Ekpo, would lead other big wigs of the oil and gas industry to Yenagoa, describing the PNC as one of the biggest events in the calendar of the oil and gas industry.
The board’s management stated that the Ministers were expected to deliver ministerial addresses and to show the direction of the Federal Government’s thinking concerning Nigerian Content and investment strategies.
The Tide learnt that the 2023 PNC is to be hosted by the NCDMB in partnership with DMG Events and the Bayelsa State Government.
“Some of the presentations that will be received at the PNC include the opening keynote address by the host of the event and Executive Secretary of NCDMB, Engr. Simbi Kesiye Wabote, while the Chief Executive Officer, Nigerian Upstream Petroleum Regulatory Commission (NUPRC), Engr. Gbenga Komolafe, and Chief Executive, Nigerian Midstream and Downstream Petroleum Authority (NMDPA), Engr. Farouk Ahmed, alongside other key industry figures would feature prominently in the 4-day event.
“The Group Chief Executive Officer, Nigerian National Petroleum Company (NNPC) Limited, Mallam Mele Kolo Kyari, is also expected to grace the PNC as he had always done in previous years.
“Major international oil companies (IOCs), members of the Independent Petroleum Producers Group (IPPG), and service companies, would be actively participating in the four-day conference, with their chief executive officers functioning in one capacity or the other, principally as moderators of panel discussions or panellists or delivering papers on critical subjects relating to local content practice in the oil and gas industry.
“For the 2023 edition, key subjects for the panel sessions centre around ‘Providing an Enabling Environment for Investment in the Energy Sector’, Opportunities in Decarbonisation and Domestic Gas Utilization’, ‘Deepening Nigerian Content in the Manufacturing Sector’, and ‘Financing a Thriving Midstream Sector for Socio-economic Development’, and ‘Sustainable Framework for Human Capacity Development.
“Presentations on R&D Success Stories are also expected”, the NCDMB added.
By: Ariwera Ibibo-Howells, Yenagoa
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