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Governors laud U.S food security initiative, assistance

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Governors of Eleven States across Nigeria on Thursday in Abuja commended the U.S government for its assistance in ensuring food security through the implementation of the Feed the Future Nigeria Country Plan.

The News Agency of Nigeria reports that the states are: Adamawa. Benue, Borno, Cross Rivers, Delta, Ebonyi, Gombe, Kaduna, Kebbi, Niger and Yobe where the country plan will be implemented.

Commending the initiative, they said it would help in boosting the agricultural sector of the economy and address the nation’s challenges of food insecurity, malnutrition and hunger.

Gov. Abubakar Bagudu of Kebbi State said the U.S government initiative was of great importance to Nigeria because food security is a key element of international security.

Bagudu said that the initiative would also create a platform for opportunities that would link small holder farmers to investors, especially from the private sector.

“What is a common feature to all the eleven states and indeed all Nigeria States is that Agriculture is undertaken by millions of hardworking men and women who are often small, family based farmers.

“They are looking for opportunities, so what is a valuable thing to do for them is to link their efforts to opportunities and such opportunities include improvements in their agronomy practices.

“Linking them to market or ensuring policies which are in place to complement their small scale capacity.

“I am glad that what the Global Food Security Strategy has the capacity to do is to help us optimise those linkages in such a way that the benefits will be realized by majority,” Bagudu said.

Bagudu said that initiative like this would also help improve local production with hopes of boosting exportation.

Also speaking, Mr Benson Abounu, Deputy Governor of Benue said that ensuring food security was the third pillar of Benue Government programme under the current administration.

Abounu said that the Feed the Future Nigeria Country Plan will further help the states in realizing its goals of food sufficiency for the people of Benue and Nigeria as a whole.

He said that as an agrarian state and the food basket of the nation, Benue takes seriously and was concentrating on developing small holder farmers, who constitutes 80 per cent of the population.

Abounu said that as part of efforts to improve the quality of agriculture in the state, the state government has embarked on scientific farming with collaborations with the University of Agriculture, Makurdi.

Representing the Gombe State Government, Mr Mansor Jato, said the initiative was very important to the state, which plays host to a large number of Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs).

He explained that as one of the relatively peaceful state in the North East, Gombe State was saddled with feeding and catering for the upsurge of IDPs from other states.

He said that the state would require every help and assistance from the U.S government to lift the state out of its current state.

Representatives of the other Governors from benefitting states also commended the initiative, pledging their full commitments to the implementation.

The News Agency of Nigeria reports that the U.S and Nigerian Governments on Thursday signed a declaration of partnership to launch the five-year Feed the Future Nigeria Country Plan to increase investments in food security.

The Feed the Future is a U.S government initiative coordinated by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) to sustainably reduce global poverty, malnutrition and hunger and boost economic growth.

The Country Plan provides a blueprint for inclusive and sustainable agriculture-led economic growth and strengthening resilience among people and the system.

Edited by Felix Ajide

 

Foreign

Onyeama takes office, lists security of Nigerians abroad, attracting FDI as priorities 

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Returning Minister of Foreign Affairs, Geoffery Onyeama says  he will focus attention on ensuring the security of Nigerians living abroad and attracting Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) to the country.

Onyeama made this known in Abuja on Wednesday when he assumed office following his reappointment as Minister of Foreign Affairs.

He said that his focus would be in line with President Muhammadu Buhari’s agenda which aims to make to make the Nigerian economy to be reckoned with at the ECOWAS, African Union, and global level.

Onyeama said that in implementing foreign policies, the ministry would be  more aggressive and robust in engaging countries to ensure that the human rights and security of Nigerians anywhere in the world were respected.

He said that to that effect, a call number would be made available to Nigerians living abroad to enable them to call and ask for assistance wherever they were.

Speaking on the attacks on Nigerians in South Africa, Onyeama said that both countries would work on growing a special relationship between them at the presidential level.

He explained that in the framework, the issue of the security of Nigerians in South Africa would be addressed at the  highest level.

Onyeama said that there was also a trust deficit between Nigerians living in South Africa and the South African Police.

 ”Essentially, the priorities of Mr President is what we have to focus on and build from which are security, anti-corruption and the economy

 “We have just signed to the African Continental Free Trade Area (AFCTA) and this can be a game changer for the continent and with 200 million people, we really would define the success of the AFCTA.

”So, we are going to have to cooperate and coordinate with the Ministry of Trade and Investment to ensure that we get maximum benefits from African integration.

”Another important area of Mr President’s priority would be repatriation of looted funds across the world, engaging with countries to get all the stolen funds returned to us.

“And at the Multilateral level, at the UN level, we are going to be President of the UN General Assembly for one year, starting from September.

“We have to leverage on that position to secure as much benefit at the global level for Nigeria,” Onyeama said.

Onyeama called for the support of Members of staff of the Ministry so that they could all work together to achieve the visions of President Buhari for a greater Nigeria.

Also speaking, Amb. Zubairu Dada, Minister of State, Foreign Affairs pledged his support to work with the Minister and staff of the Ministry .

”We are supposed to work as a team because that is the mandate that has been given to u and we can only succeed if we put our hands together.

”In me you find a ready student, back to do some re-learning and I would urge you all to be kind enough to allow me learn from you,” Dada said.

(Edited by Emmanuel Yashim)

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Israel Embassy in Nigeria welcomes new Deputy Head of Mission

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The Embassy of Israel in Nigeria on Wednesday welcomed its new Deputy Head of Mission, Mr Yotam Kreiman.

According to a statement by Ms Zanswat Bowsan, Press Officer of the Embassy, Kreiman took over from Mr Nadav Goren, as the Deputy Head of Mission of the Embassy.

“This is the first ever posting for Kreiman who takes over from Goren, now Head of Israeli Mission in Mexico.”

Goren became the Deputy Head of the Israeli Mission in Nigeria since 2014.

Nigeria News Agency reports that Israel and Nigeria established diplomatic relations in 1960

FEA/DCU

Edited by Donald Ugwu

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Kuwait voices support for preserving Yemen’s unity, sovereignty

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The Kuwaiti Permanent Representative to the UN, Mansour Al-Otaibi, said his country was looking forward to the efforts exerted by Saudi Arabia in hosting talks in Jeddah between Yemeni government and representatives of the Southern Transitional Council (STC).

Al-Otaibi said Kuwait hoped that the final outcome of the talks would lead to the return of security and stability in a way that preserves Yemen’s unity and sovereignty over its territory.

However, the Aden-based STC previously said its forces rapidly advanced on the ground and declared full control over the neighbouring province of Abyan.

YI/DCU

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Lack of funds forces closure of UN humanitarian programmes in Yemen

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Lack of funds forces UN to closedown life-saving aid programmes in Yemen.

In a statement on Wednesday, the UN quoted its Humanitarian Coordinator for Yemen, Lise Grande, as saying money pledged by Member States to fund the programmes had “failed to materialise”.

“We are desperate for the funds that were promised. When money doesn’t come, people die,” Grande reportedly said.

At a fundraising event in February, the UN and its humanitarian partners were promised 2.6 billion dollars to meet urgent needs of more than 20 million Yemenis.

To date, less than half of this amount has been received, the statement quoted the coordinator as saying.

“Of the 34 major UN humanitarian programmes in Yemen, only three are funded for the entire year.

“Several have closed in recent weeks, and many large-scale projects designed to help destitute, hungry families have been unable to start.

“Another 22 life-saving programmes will close in the next two months unless funding is received.

“All of us are ashamed by the situation. It’s heart-breaking to look a family in the eye and say we have no money to help,” she said.

According to the statement, the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) was forced to suspend most of the country’s vaccination campaigns in May.

Procurement of medicines has been stopped and thousands of health workers are no longer receiving financial support.

Plans to construct 30 new nutrition centres have been shelved and 14 safe houses and four specialised mental health facilities for women have closed.

A treatment plant that purifies the water used to irrigate agricultural fields shut in June, the organisation added.

Grande warned that the closure would affect millions of people in Yemen, “who through no fault of their own are the victims of this conflict, and depend on us to survive.

She said food rations for 12 million people would be reduced and no fewer than 2.5 million malnourished children would be cut-off from essential services unless the funds were received in the coming weeks

Moreover, 19 million people stand the risk of losing access to health care, including one million women who depend on the UN for reproductive health.

Clean water programmes for five million people would be closed at the end of October, and tens of thousands of displaced families may find themselves homeless, Grande reportedly said.

Yemen, a Western Asian country, has been in the grip of a civil war since 2015 that has killed no fewer than 13,000 people including 5,000 civilians.

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Pompeo, UNGA president salute victims of terrorism, urge more support

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U.S. Secretary of State, Mr Mike Pompeo, and the President of the United Nations General Assembly (PGA), Ms Maria Espinosa, have expressed solidarity with victims and survivo&rs of terrorism.

In separate messages to mark the second International Day of Remembrance and Tribute to the Victims of Terrorism on Wednesday, Pompeo and Espinosa saluted the “strength and resilience” of those affected.

The UN General Assembly set aside Aug. 21 annually as the International Day to honour and support victims and survivors of terrorism.

The 2019 edition is dedicated to honoring the resilience of victims and their families.

“We express our solidarity with the victims of terrorism and their families, and condemn the suffering caused by terrorism around the world.

“The State Department will continue to work with our partner governments, international organisations and civil society, to provide victims of terrorism and their families with the necessary support and assistance.

“We honor the strength and resilience of these victims and their families and the important role their engagement and voices contribute to preventing the recruitment and radicalization of potential terrorists,” Pompeo said.

On her part, Espinosa recounted her experience with a 15-year-old survivor she identified as Halimsa/ during her recent visit to Chad.

She said Halima, who is currently a gender activist, refused to become a suicide bomber while in the captivity of terrorists, and upon her release, became a paralegal.

“The PGA said that she felt inspired by Halima, who is a true example of resilience and strength to the world,” the spokesperson, Ms Monica Grayley, told newsmen in New York on Wednesday.

She said as a paralegal, Halima had helped hundreds of women and girls to escape extremism and terrorism, and to combat gender-based violence.

She does this by her work with educational activities, according to the PGA.

Espinosa said more should be done to tackle terrorism, and to support victims “as they try to recover from violence and trauma and to rebuild their lives”.

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