Connect with us

News

80% Surge In Food Importation Alarming – FG

Published

on

The Federal Government says there is an alarming surge of over 80 per cent in food importation between 2019 and 2023.
Dr Kingsley Uzoma, Senior Special Assistant to the President on Agribusinesses and Productivity Enhancement (SSAP), disclosed at the National policy dialogue on Thursday in Abuja.
The policy dialogue is tagged “Deepening Partnership for Scaling-Up of Information and Communication Technology for Development (ICT4D) for Smallholder Farmers in Nigeria.”
It was organised by the Federal Government, International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) and the National Information and Technology Development Agency (NITDA).
He said that no fewer than 88.5 million Nigerians were faced with insufficient food consumption while the figure was projected to increase by six million in December.
Uzoma said the Federal was committed to reversing the trend.
The senior special assistant identified decline in agricultural capacity as a major contributor as the country was being forced to rely heavily on food imports.
He said the country had the highest rate of stunted children globally added that 70 per cent of the population lived below poverty line and food inflation stood at 31.52 per cent in October.
“This escalating dependence on external sources further intensifies the challenges within the domestic food landscape all of which have resulted in the declaration of state of emergency in food security by Mr President.
“The IFAD-financed programme such as Value Chain Development Programme (VCDP) and Livelihood Improvement and Family Enterprises Project for the Niger Delta (LIFE-ND), aim to enhance incomes and food security through sustainable practices and integration of ICT4D.
“These programmes involve tool such as the Mini-weather Station (Nimet) and Agriculture Market Information System (AIMS) to benefit farmers.
“However, challenges in data access, gender equality, infrastructure and technical support still exist,” he said.
He identified sustained efforts at digital literacy and collaboration by agencies and private sector as critical in ensuring greater technology adoption by smallholder farmers.
Uzoma said such efforts could translate to improved productivity, extensive technical upscaling, promote best practices, increased trade competitiveness and market access.
The presidential aide said it was essential to apply a twin approach of developing critical technology enabling infrastructure in partnership with the universal service provision fund and mobile network operators while driving low technology solution as USSD and WhatsApp to increase accessibility.
“Increased collaboration with the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Food Security and the NITDA is necessary to implement the National Digital Agriculture Strategy to further leverage technology for advancement of the agricultural sector.
“These aligned with the mandate of my office under the leadership of the vice president which encompasses a multifaceted approach rooted in technology and innovation to ensure transformative change in Nigeria’s agricultural sector.
“This includes empowering one million women, youths and minorities to achieve food and nutritional sovereignty, ensuring food security and heightened agricultural productive.
“It is also to achieve a 22 billion dollars import substitution of high-value crops like wheat, implement sustainable agricultural practices to promote environmental conservation and mitigate climate change.
“Moreover, the mandate seeks to generate two million direct and six million indirect jobs with a focus on youth and women while simultaneously addressing and minimising farmer/herder crises,” he said.
Mrs Dede Ekoue, IFAD Country Director, said the dialogue was aimed at strengthening partnership for enhanced access of smallholder farmers to digital solutions.
According to her, the solutions will enhance their livelihoods, contribution to food security, nutrition, poverty reduction, economy growth and job creation.

Continue Reading

News

Customs Suspends Rice Sale As Seven Die In Stampede

Published

on

The Nigeria Customs Service has announced the suspension of the sale of foodstuffs following a stampede that reportedly killed seven persons at the NCS Old Zonal Headquarters in the Yaba area of Lagos State, last Friday.
A Chief Superintendent of Customs and National Public Relations Officer for Comptroller General of Customs, Abdullahi Maiwada, disclosed the suspension of the exercise in a statement on Monday.
Nigeria Customs had said it was selling seized food items at N10,000 per 25kg to alleviate the people’s suffering as a result of the current high cost of living and other economic hardships.
Last Friday, a pregnant woman and six others reportedly died in a stampede after some suspected hoodlums attempted to force their way into the Yaba Customs office compound.
Some Lagos residents who thronged the NCS office in Yaba expressed disappointment on Monday following the suspension of the initiative.
However, in a statement on Monday evening, the NCS said the suspension became necessary considering “the recent unfortunate event.”
“We regrettably announce the suspension of this exercise until we establish what transpired on Friday, February 23, 2024,” the NCS spokesman said.
He explained that: “The disposal of the food items got off to a smooth start at about 0800hrs. We enjoyed the cooperation of the large crowd that obliged us, giving preferences to the elderly, people living with disabilities, pregnant women, and other vulnerable Nigerians who showed up for the exercise.
“This was the case up until about 1700hrs, as attested to by the over 5,000 beneficiaries and members of the press. However, unforeseen challenges arose when we ran out of stock and announced the continuation of the exercise the following day, leading to a regrettable outcome.
“The crowd became desperate and charged through our barricades in search of rice bags inside emptied containers. In the stampede that ensued, some fatalities and injuries were regrettably recorded.”
The Customs extended its “heartfelt condolences to the families of those who lost their lives during the unfortunate incident.”
The service said it was working with health authorities to establish contact and engage directly with the victims’ families on their next steps.

Continue Reading

News

Court Dismisses Police Objection Against Fubara’s CoS …Restrains Police From Arresting Ehie

Published

on

A Rivers State High Court in Port Harcourt, yesterday, dismissed the preliminary objection by counsel to the Nigerian Police, Celestine Dickson, challenging the jurisdiction of the Court to hear the fundamental rights suit by the Chief of Staff to Governor Siminalayi Fubara, Hon. Edison Ehie against the police for lack of merit.
The trial Judge, Justice Sika Aprioku, in a ruling, yesterday, assumed jurisdiction and held that the non-joinder of the Nigeria Police Force in a matter that the Commissioner of Police is a party to does not render the suit incompetent.
Justice Aprioku said the application by the Police lacks merit and thereby dismissed it with a cost of N100,000 in favour of Hon Edison Ehie.
Aprioku also granted the prayers of the counsel to Edison, Damian Okoro to restrain the Police from arresting, detaining, harassing, or inviting Ehie based on the trumped-up charges in the suit by Rt Hon. Martin Amaewhule in connection to the destruction of the Hallow chamber of the Rivers State House of Assembly.
Speaking to newsmen outside the courtroom, counsel to the Police, Celestine Dickson, said he would study the judgment and advise his clients accordingly.
Dickson stated, “That is the wisdom of the court and we cannot criticise the wisdom of the court. The outcome of court decisions must bind parties.
“If you are not satisfied I think you study the judgement and take the next step. The court made it clear that in a couple of minutes, we were going to have copies of the judgement. That will give us the opportunity to look at the judgement and advise our clients accordingly.
On his part, one of the counsel to the Chief of Staff, Ibioku Mac-Barango said the judgment reflects the position of the law.

Continue Reading

News

Fubara Expresses Confidence In Tinubu To Address Labour Concerns

Published

on

In the midst of the ongoing nationwide protest organised by the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), Rivers State Governor, Sir Siminalayi Fubara, has expressed confidence in President Bola Tinubu’s ability to address the concerns raised by the organised labour and alleviate their fears.
Fubara gave the assurance during the NLC’s protest to the Government House, Port Harcourt, yesterday .
The State NLC, led by its chairman, Alex Agwanwor, had joined its counterparts in other parts of the country to protest against high cost of living in the country occasioned by the fuel subsidy removal by the Federal Government in May last year.
Recall that there have been a series of protests across the country over the cost of living, inflation, insecurity and hardship among Nigerians.
The NLC and the Trade Union Congress (TUC) had on February 8 issued a 14-day nationwide strike notice to the Federal Government over the failure to implement the agreements reached on October 2, 2023 following the removal of the fuel subsidy.
Responding to a letter of demands presented to the governor by the State NLC, Fubara noted that the grievances outlined by the protesters primarily fell within the purview of the Federal Government.
The governor, who was represented by the Head of the Rivers State Civil Service, Dr. George Nwaeke, said, “To all who listened to every presentation of the labour leader as it is being read out, we can find out none is local, not originating from local source here. They are all national issues and we have hope in the Renewed Hope Agenda of the Federal Government. We have hope. And I know Governor Fubara will also deliver this message as presented by you to the President.”
Fubara further assured the protesters that his administration remained committed to alleviating the economic hardships faced by the people of Rivers State.
He highlighted initiatives such as the provision of palliative buses in response to the fuel subsidy removal and the ongoing development of 20,000 housing units for low-income earners.
The governor also emphasized his administration’s dedication to improving the welfare of civil servants, citing measures such as the employment of 10,000 youths into the state civil service, promotions, and the provision of bonuses.
He affirmed the significance of the issues raised and reiterated his commitment to prioritizing the welfare of workers in the State.
He, however, assured that the NLC’s demands would be conveyed to the President as presented.

Continue Reading

Trending