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FG targets 5 percent lending rate to farmers

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Chief Audu Ogbeh

Aminat Isah

The federal government says it is targeting 5% lending rate to farmers to ensure Nigeria attains self sufficiency in food production to her citizens and also exits food importation.

Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Chief Audu Ogbeh, disclosed this in Dutse, Jigawa state on Monday, at a special town hall meeting on agriculture, organised by the Minister of Information and Culture.

It would be recalled that the reduction of interest rate on lending to farmers to 9% has ignited a revolution in agriculture in the country while the ongoing reform of the Bank of Agriculture, which
will be completed by the end of this year is expected to give rise to the 5% lending rate to farmers.

According to Ogbeh, the revolution in agriculture by the present administration has turned Nigeria into an exporter of agricultural products.

“In July this year, the Tin Can Island published a report that agricultural export has risen by 150%. Containers leaving Nigeria are no longer going empty,” he said.

In a Similar vain, the Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, warned Nigerians not expect support from any food exporting country for her ongoing policy to ensure self sufficiency in food production.

The minister cited a recent report which said that Nigeria imported 400,000 Metric Tonnes (of rice) more this year, as the country reduced rice importation by 90%, as the handiwork of detractors who are bent on dampening the resolve of the government to exit food importation.

He said: “Please permit me to alert Nigerians to the reality out there: In pursuing our agricultural revolution, which will ultimately lead to self sufficiency in the national staples, we should not expect accolades and support from outside, especially from countries that have hitherto been the main exporters of food items such as rice to Nigeria.

“Every nation pursues its national interest, and it is definitely not in their interest for Nigeria to produce what it consumes, because it means you will no longer import from such countries.

“It is in that context that Nigerians should see the recent fake news that Nigeria imported 400,000 metric tonnes more than the quantity of
rice imported in 2017. The report, quoting the 2018 United States Department of Agriculture World Markets and Trade Report, also posited
that Nigeria’s local rice production is dropping. When the figures were challenged, they could not provide any empirical ground for the
report.”

He said contrary to the report, the Central Bank of Nigeria revealed that it had not allocated any foreign exchange for the importation of
rice this year because rice importation has reduced to the barest minimum.

“So those who claimed that Nigeria imported 400,000 MT of rice more
this year have not been truthful,” the Minister said.

While recalling that the conspiracy to thwart Nigeria’s push toward self sufficiency in rice did not start today, he said in 2015, the government was put under undue pressure to import rice ostensibly to make up for a massive shortage, when in the real sense there was a glut of paddy rice produced locally.

Lai Mohammed said there is no doubt that the Buhari Administration has made a giant stride in the area of Agriculture, which is widely regarded as one of the success stories of the Administration.

The Governor of Jigawa State, Alhaji Muhammad Badaru Abubakar, had led the four Ministers on the tour of an agricultural exhibition where farm
products including processed and packaged local rice, packaged soya beans, sesame seeds, curry powder, fruit juice, fish, goats, rams a well as farming implements were on display.

Other Ministers at the Town Hall Meeting were the Minister of Water Resources, Engineer Suleiman Adamu, and the Minister of State for Industry, Trade and Investment, Hajia Aisha Abubakar.

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Metro

FG urged to declare state of emergency on federal roads, Senate tasks

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Disturbed by the deplorable conditions of road networks across the country, the Senate on Tuesday, charged the federal government to declare a state of emergency on all federal roads.
This was as the upper legislative chamber mandated  its Committees on Petroleum (Downstream), Federal Roads Maintenance Agency, FERMA and National Planning to investigate the Petroleum Products Price Regulatory Agency, PPPRA on the non-remittance of five percent user charge pump price of petrol.
Besides, the joint committees were also asked to investigate the non remittance of international vehicle transit charge accruing to FERMA and other established state roads maintenance agency.
These resolutions followed deliberations on a motion sponsored under Orders 42 and 52 of the Senate rule by Senator Geshom Bassey (PDP Cross River South)  who lamented the deplorable state of federal roads in the country.
Presenting the motion, Senator Basset expressed concern that several thousands of lives have been lost to road accidents due to bad and un-motorable roads, while bad portion of roads are safe haven for kidnappers and armed robbers on Nigerian highways.
Supporting the motion, Senator Chukwuka Utazi (PDP Enugu North) said the state of the federal highways are highly deplorable and that urgent attention is needed especially within this budget cycle to do something drastic to address the situation.
Utazi said “and like you prayed that the PPPRA should release the fund for totally provided for FERMA to do  it’s job.
“Mr President, the raining season is just gradually coming to an end and this is the opportunity for FERMA to go and start rehabilitating our roads so that Nigerians can move freely.
“This period is also the time for harvest and in order to ensure that farmers that are in the hinterland get to the appropriate market to get adequate prices for their goods, we  have to make sure the roads are properly done.
“You also know that because we don’t have the rail lines that should be in place, most of the goods and services that we move from one place to the other are done through trucking and if you continue to do trucking, you know that the life span of any  major federal highway may not last long.
“This is a very important motion moved at the most appropriate time to get the desired attention and I’m standing here lending my support and full weigh to get that being done knowing fully well that those of us from the south east are the major complainants of the bad roads in this country and we hope that we get the desired attention from FERMA if  this motion scales through.”
In his remark, President of the Senate, Dr. Ahmad Lawan said he believe that every part of the country suffers from this problem of deplorable  roads.
He expressed optimism that the  committees mandated to look into the matter will  swing into action and attend to the issue associated with this motion.
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Metro

SAD… Taraba INEC REC is dead

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The INEC Resident Electoral Commissioner, (REC) in Taraba State, Alhaji Baba Abba Yusuf, is dead.
INEC Secretary, Rose Oriarian-Anthony, said the REC died on Saturday night at the University of Maiduguri Teaching Hospital, Borno State, where he had been on admission.
She said: “The Independent National Electoral Commission regrets to announce the death of the Resident Electoral Commissioner for Taraba State, Alhaji Baba Abba Yusuf.
“He died last (Saturday) night at the University of Maiduguri Teaching Hospital, Borno State, where he was on admission for sometime.
He was buried today (Sunday) September 29 2019 at 4pm in Maiduguri.
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Transgender: Sade Adu’s daughter finally becomes a man (PHOTOS)

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Izaak and Mum

Sade’s transgender son has shared a heartfelt message of thanks to the soul singer, as he completes his transition from female to male.

Izaak Theo Adu, born Mickailia ‘Ila’ Adu, has spent the past six months in recovery after undergoing phalloplasty surgery, the reconstructive procedure typically undergone by transgender and non-binary people.

After returning home to his family, Izaak shared a sweet photo of himself hugging Sade, 60, along with a message praising the iconic singer for her unwavering support. In the Instagram post, Izaak wrote: ‘It’s been a long hard road but We did it!! We are coming home!!!! ‘Thank you for staying by my side these past 6 months Mumma. Thank you for fighting with me to complete the man I am. ‘Thank you for your encouragement when things are hard, for the love you give me. The purest heart. I love you so much. Queen of queens ♥️ #mumma #lioness #queen#iloveyou.’

Izaak is Sade’s only child from her former relationship with reggae music producer Bob Morgan.

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