Some rice traders at Ota in Ogun on Friday attributed the current hike in the price of local rice to unregulated activities of middlemen distributing the commodity across the country.
The traders expressed the viewpoint in separate interviews with the Nigeria News Agency while reacting to the recent land border closure by the Federal Government.
According to the rice sellers, there is no scarcity of local rice but dealers who acted as middlemen between the sellers and the rice millers are the ones responsible for the high price of the commodity.
Alhaja Nurat Mustapha, a local rice sellerbat Oja Market in Ota, said she bought a 50 kg bag of the commodity at N22,000 and sold for between N23,000 and N24,000.
“We are even surprised that Nigeria has enough rice. We always get the rice when we need it, and people are really happy with what they are buying.
“I now eat local rice, and I must say it is very delicious, we just need some time to adjust to the new policy; but the dealers, who buy in bulk from the farmers in the North should be cautioned,” she said.
Another trader, Mr Ojo Adekunle, noted that some locally-produced rice that could match the quality of the imported brands.
According to him, those brands are selling faster because it has been properly de-stoned and well-polished.
“After the closure, it becomes difficult to get imported rice. So, all the rice I sell now are local products, but some of them actually look like the imported type, you will never know that it is a local brand until you cook it.
“I am particularly happy with the closure because a lot of the substandard rice coming in has stopped. We just have problems with the dealers bringing the commodity from the North.
“You might go to them to buy 20 bags of 50 kg at N20,000 each today, and tomorrow they will sell at N21,000; so, we need to regulate them,” he said.
Adekunle, also a dealer in Ofada rice, noted that business was booming, especially now that he could make profit of between N1,000 and N1,200 per 50 kg bag, whereas, he made only N200 before the closure of the borders.
Mr Paul Obike, another trader, said the border should remain closed because it was going to be a win-win situation for everybody.
“I would not want the border to be re-opened because this is just the initial stage, we will adapt accordingly as time goes on. People are buying the local rice and I am sure the price will soon normalise,” he said.
A customer at the market, Ms Bolanle Gbadebo, said the commodity was very expensive, adding that rice was Nigerian’s staple food and the most popular diet of the people.
“For now, we do not have a choice. I just bought a paint bucket measure of local rice at N1,800; but before the border closure, it was N1,200.
“Although I support that government leaves the border closed, so that our farmers will have a market to sell their produce. We cannot continue to depend on imported things,” she said.
Prices of the commodity were similar when NAN checked at the Iyana-Ota and Ojuoore markets, both in Sango-Ota, Ogun but with a slight difference of less than N100, depending on the quality.
A De Rica measure of rice, which sold at N200 before, now sells at N250, N300 and N350, depending on the quality.
Also, a paint bucket measure, which was sold for N1,200, now goes for between N1,700 and N1,800, while those traders who had the imported rice, sold at N2,000 for that measure.
Meanwhile the price of vegetable oil has also increased considerably at the markets.
A vegetable oil trader, Mrs Victoria Abike, said that a 20-litre of the commodity, which used to sell for N8,000, now attracts N13,500.
Abike said that a bottle of vegetable oil now costs N350 while the five-litre measure goes for N2,800.
Edited by Folorunso Poroye/Wale Ojetimi
UN steps up cross-border aid delivery to NW Syria
The United Nations is stepping up cross-border delivery of life-saving assistance to people in need in northwest Syria, including health items to prepare for the COVID-19 pandemic, said a spokesman on Tuesday.
The massive scale-up has seen an average of over 1,350 trucks per month crossing from the two Security Council-authorized border crossing points in Turkey in the first five months of 2020, said Stephane Dujarric, spokesman for UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres.
In May alone, 1,781 trucks crossed into Syria, the highest number of trucks to go across the border since the operations were first authorized by the Security Council in 2014, he said.
Despite the massive operation, needs remain incredibly high throughout northwest Syria, with 2.8 million people in need, including over 1 million people living in camps or informal shelters, he told a virtual press briefing.
Russian guards detain drunk Ukrainian serviceman for illegal border crossing
Russian border guards have detained a drunk serviceman from the Ukrainian Armed Forces for illegally crossing the Russian border into Crimea, the Russian Federal Security Service (FSB) said Tuesday.
During a search of the detainee, a narcotic drug was allegedly discovered and seized from him, the statement added.
An illegal crossing of the Russian border is punishable by a fine of up to 200,000 rubles (around 2,900 U.S. dollars), or up to two years of forced labor or imprisonment, according to the Russian Criminal Code.
Four South Sudan soldiers shot dead by Ugandan military in contested border area
Lul Ruia Koang, spokesperson for the South Sudan Defense Forces (SSPDF) said the incident between SSPDF forces and the Uganda People’s Defense Forces (UPDF) happened on Sunday after the two sides exchanged fire in a contested border area in the southern parts of the country.
“UPDF soldiers opened fire on our soldiers in Buya and as a result, they killed four on the spot and wounded another,” the spokesperson told Xinhua by phone.
The disputed area is claimed by communities of Kajo-Keji county of Central Equatoria state in South Sudan and their neighbors from Yumbe district of Uganda.
Koang said the SSPDF soldiers were conducting foot patrol to enforce cross-border movement restrictions at the time of the clashes.
“The area where our servicemen were killed is a disputed area,” the spokesperson said, adding that calm has since returned to the region after the two governments agreed to investigate the cause of the fighting.
“We have requested for an investigation to be conducted so that we know why they opened fire on soldiers who were on foot patrol and does not pose any threat to them,” he said.
Tunisia to reopen land, air and sea borders from June 27
Tunisia decided to reopen the land, air and sea borders from June 27, Tunisian government announced on Monday.
Tunisia has reported 1,084 confirmed coronavirus cases so far.
China has helped Tunisia in its fight against the COVID-19 pandemic. On April 16, China donated a batch of medical aid to Tunisia’s Ministry of National Defense, including facemasks, test kits and medical protective googles.
Meeting with Chinese Ambassador to Tunisia Wang Wenbin on May 1, Tunisian Prime Minister Elyes Fakhfakh said his country is grateful to China for its support in Tunisia’s ant-coronavirus fight.
Russia says NATO increases military activity near its borders
Despite the spread of COVID-19, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) has significantly increased military activity with a “clear anti-Russian orientation,” Russia’s top general said Monday.
“By similar actions, the United States and its allies, hiding behind an invented threat of ‘Russian aggression,’ continue to destroy the existing security system in Europe,” Col. Gen. Sergei Rudskoi, head of the Main Operations Directorate of the General Staff of the Russian Armed Forces, told a briefing.
Naval drills held by NATO in early May on the eve of the 75th anniversary of the victory in the Great Patriotic War were provocative because they involved striking targets on Russian territory, he said.
According to Rudskoi, the Russian Northern Fleet has discovered the deployment of the NATO ships and began tracking them, which “prevented incidents and demonstrated our determination to protect our interests in the Arctic.”
Although the NATO Defender-Europe 20 drills were scaled down this year because of the pandemic, almost all combat training tasks during the drills were carried out at training grounds located in close proximity to Russia.
Currently, activity by the United States air forces and Washington’s NATO allies has also increased near the Russian border, along with aerial reconnaissance near the Baltic and the Black seas.
On top of this, Russia is concerned about the continued build-up of missile defense infrastructure in Poland, in addition to an already deployed facility in Romania, where Tomahawk cruise missiles could be placed, Rudskoi said.
Iran, Turkmenistan agree to reopen borders amid easing of COVID-19 restrictions
Iran and Turkmenistan have agreed to reopen borders on June 10 as the restrictions pertaining to the novel coronavirus are eased in both countries recently, Iranian ambassador to Ashgabat announced on Sunday.
Iran and Turkmenistan had previously agreed to reopen borders on June 1, but the date was postponed to June 10 for disinfection operations at the border posts, said Arbab Khales.
He noted that at a ministerial meeting among Iran, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan as well as negotiations between the heads of railway companies of the three countries, they have agreed to install sanitizing tunnels at both sides of the borders to help better implement health protocols.
The ambassador did not mention whether the reopening of border crossings includes only trade transactions or passengers as well.
Iran and Turkmenistan closed borders in late February after Iran reported first cases of COVID-19 in the country.
Zimbabwe steps up security measures at quarantine centers, border areas
Minister of Information, Publicity and Broadcasting Services Monica Mutsvangwa told the Sunday Mail that government will tighten up security, especially in the country’s border areas to stop the spread of the coronavirus.
“It has been the government’s position that security be heightened so that we reduce the spread of the coronavirus. Government is even working on introducing drones so that we increase security measures in border areas,” Mutsvangwa said.
The escapees were citizens who had recently returned from abroad, mainly from Botswana and South Africa.
Police spokesperson Paul Nyathi urged the community to report returnees who evade the COVID-19 screening processes.
“We appeal to the community to put their safety, health and security first, and report all returnees who evade the required COVID-19 screening processes to curtail the spread of the pandemic,” said Nyathi.
Zimbabwe had as of Saturday reported 174 COVID-19 positive cases.
Sudan summons Ethiopian charge d’affaires in protest over army-backed cross-border attack
The Sudanese foreign ministry on Saturday summoned the Ethiopian charge d’affaires in the capital Khartoum in protest over a cross-border attack by Ethiopian militias on eastern Sudan.
The attack was “backed by the Ethiopian army” and killed a Sudanese army officer and injured a number of soldiers as well as civilians including children, according to a ministry statement.
The “sinful” attack came “at a time when preparations were underway in Khartoum to hold the second meeting of the high-level joint committee on border issues,” the statement noted.
This is the first time that Sudan accuses the Ethiopian army of supporting the country’s militias in attacking the Sudanese territories.
Portugal bars entry of nearly 3,000 people at land borders amid pandemic
Portugal‘s Foreigners and Borders Service (SEF) said on Friday that it had prevented about 3,000 people from entering its land borders due to the COVID-19 pandemic, in an operation that reached approximately 500,000 people in the last two and a half months.
With the collaboration of the National Republican Guard (GNR), another 15 people were also detained at Authorized Crossing Points (PPA) with Spain, SEF said in an official statement.
The PPA with the largest movement of people was that of Valenca, where over 200,000 people were handled, followed by that of Caia, with around 70,000, and Vilar Formoso, with 60,000.
The control of land borders with Spain has been in effect since 23:00 on March 16 at nine authorized crossing points and will remain closed until 00:00 on June 15.
According to the SEF, tourist and leisure travel between the two countries is prevented, with only the transport of goods, cross-border workers, seasonal workers, emergency and rescue vehicles and emergency services being allowed.
The Directorate-General for Health (DGS) announced 14 more deaths of COVID-19 in the last 24 hours, bringing the country’s total deaths to 1,383. The number of infected people increased by 350 to 31,946 in total.
- United States anger spreads to Australia as thousands protest police brutality
- Dollar changes hands around 108.81 yen level in early trade in Tokyo
- Tokyo stocks open sharply higher on hopes for United States economic recovery
- Customers keep social distancing whilst queuing up as Ikea reopens in London
- France further unwinds anti-coronavirus lockdown from June 2
- Schools in Singapore reopen
- Egypt starts gradual reopening of services and offices
- Nostalgic tram services in central Istanbul resume operations
- helicopter with 3 on board crashes in Northern California
- New York City extends curfew till Sunday to curb violence, looting amid protests
- Chile’s COVID-19 cases top 108,000, with 1,188 deaths
- Feature: Balcony concert in Cuba signals solidarity amid lockdown
- Peaceful rally, march held in United States Houston for George Floyd
- United States initiates trade probe into digital services taxes considered by 10 trading partners
- Lagos records 17 COVID-19 related deaths in 2 days
- Roundup: Europe-based airlines start to resume services as countries try to revive tourism
- COVID-19: Lagos discharges 30 Nigerians, 3 Indians
- Lagos rehabilitates 1,983 destitute persons in 1 year
- British study suggests minorities more likely to die from coronavirus
- V4 PMs discuss with European Council president about EU funds
- Trudeau silent for 20 seconds after being asked about Trump
- UN rights chief highlights disproportionate impact of COVID-19 on racial, ethnic minorities
- France reports 107 new single-day deaths from COVID-19
- British parliament resumes physical voting amid COVID-19 fears
- Majek Fashek was an epitome of love — Adewale Ayuba
- Lagos 4th Mainland Bridge construction begins early 2021
- Black Lives Matter comes to Paris as thousands join banned protest
- COVID 19: Abia to begin massive testing of residents
- NDDC says late finance director died of COVID-19
- Gambari’s wealth of experience will move Nigeria to next level-Political scientists
- Buhari condemns killing of UNIBEN student, Omozuwa
- United States cities brace for more unrest as Trump threatens greater force
- NGO provides trauma healing for IDPs in Gombe
- Lagos to build more general hospitals — Hamzat
- COVID-19: Oyo yet to relax ban on religious activities, curfew — Taskforce
- Minnesota governor announces civil rights probe into Minneapolis Police Department
- COVID-19: PTF charges states to drive prevention processes
- Oman requests employees aged 60 in gov’t companies to retire
- Security forces launch major anti-IS offensive in Iraq
- Senate approves revised 2020-2022 MTEF, FSP
- Turkey’s pandemic slowdown continues, while Iran sees record daily rebound in COVID-19 cases
- Police Command in Niger “in talks” with top APC official over party funds
- COVID-19 patient escapes from facility in Delta – Commissioner
- Feature: City of Cars embraces art in age of coronavirus
- ‘We were scared upon inauguration in office’, says Lagos Deputy Governor
- We ‘ll make primary health care system in Oyo functional, affordable – Makinde
- Group to engage 10m youths to curtail spread of COVID-19
- Ikpeazu’s aides test positive for COVID-19, — Gov. says
- Gov. Ugwuanyi directs rehabilitation of Enugu Ezike General Hospital
- Protests in Los Angeles continue after 2,500 in custody in five days
- Markets, places of worship remain shut – Kaduna govt.
- Buhari commiserates with Delta fire victims
- Protest: Ebonyi govt. says military in to secure protesters at federal college of agriculture Ishiagu
- Egypt sets new daily record with 47 deaths from COVID-19
- Palestine urges ICC to investigate Israel’s demolition of Palestinian homes in East Jerusalem
- Umahi urges community to cease farming on disputed land in Ebonyi
- BiH’s security minister resigns
- Board of Internal Revenue bill scales 3rd reading at Bayelsa Assembly
- Assembly donates N5 million, food items to family of deceased colleague
- Lagos recruits 3,000 teachers in 12 months
- NiMet predicts cloudy, sunny weather Wednesday to Friday
- Roundup: Greece reports 19 new COVID-19 cases within 24 hours, suspends flights from Qatar
- AfDB reduces poverty, fosters inclusive growth in Africa after transformative action
- LASG confiscates 2 houses allegedly used for fraud
- APC in Niger still united – Chairman
- Iran urges Europe to stand against United States sanctions
- Lagos govt trains 2,200 vulnerable females
- Buhari condoles with Dan Suleiman over wife’s death
- Port Harcourt DisCo decries N2.5bn revenue loss over meter bypass
- OOU, herbal firm partner to produce anti-COVID-19 drug
- Reps approve Buhari’s loan request
- Everton’s Mina out for several weeks with muscle injury, says club
- Security: Gov. Oyetola inaugurates community policing advisory committee in Osun
- COVID-19: Nnewi community leader solicits support for less privileged
- Gov. Uzodimma inaugurates investigative panel on collapsed 8 story building in Owerri
- Premier League clubs can play friendlies before season restart – reports
- Anambra has 8 active COVID-19 cases – Obiano
- Spain set to introduce tax on single-use plastics
- Turkey vows to protect rights, interests in Mediterranean
- Rebels attack Sudanese army camp in Darfur
- Alitalia restarts Rome-New York service as part of wider relaunch
- I nominated N500m constituency projects–Sen. Folarin
- COVID-19: WHO advises govts to ease lockdowns in systematic step-by-step approach
- Feature: Rome’s heralded Raphael exhibition reopens with coronavirus restrictions
- UN steps up cross-border aid delivery to NW Syria
- Roundup: Italy marks Republic Day with tribute to coronavirus victims
- FRSC promotes, decorates 3 senior officers
- Biden berates Trump as protests over Floyd’s death continue to rage across United States
- I-G orders transfer of investigation into UNIBEN student’s death
- 2020 Budget: Senate increases oil price benchmark to $28
- Kwara Assembly swears-in new APC member
- COVID-19: Fidelity Bank donates N5m to Borno
- Creative Industry mourns Majek Fashek, describes him as true legend
- COVID-19: Lagos Assembly reduces state’s 2020 budget to N920.5bn
- Kuwait calls on Yemen parties to stop hostilities, focus on reaching political solution
- Bacteria live inside all cancer cells: Israeli research
- Homegrown food distribution, a success in Lagos State – LASUBEB
- NIMR, Mobihealth launch first home COVID-19 self-swab test
- UPDC lists N16bn rights issue on NSE
- Two shot dead, 60 arrested in overnight protests in Chicago
- Italy’s death toll from coronavirus climbs to 33,530
- Police arrest officer over alleged killing of motorcycle operator in Adamawa
- DSTV: Reps C’ttee vows to implement pay-as-you-go package
- 2nd LD Writethru: 1 killed, 3 wounded in explosion in Kabul
- Firm donates N2m medical supplies to Kwara Govt
- COVID-19: Doctors donate palliatives to IDP Camp at Eleko, Lagos
- COVID-19: NGO distributes face masks to cleaners, security guards in Kano
- Oyo PCRC lauds Olukolu, ex-Oyo CP
- 1st LD Writethru: UN chief appeals for urgent funds for Yemen
- NSE: All-Share Index rises further by 0.27%
- 8 fresh cases of Ebola confirmed in DRC- WHO
- I’ll stand by you, Buhari tells AfDB President Adesina
- ICT: MainOne, Group partner to support Cote d’Ivoire fight against COVID-19
- Roundup: Kenyans adopt new greeting habits amid COVID-19 pandemic
- APC has done well for South East, says Igbokwe
- UN warns of looming humanitarian crisis in Somalia
- “G7+” still lacks representation: Russian foreign ministry
- 1,826 new COVID-19 cases detected in Qatar, 60,259 in total
- South Sudan’s minister of East African Affairs dies
- Cyprus mulls bringing forward easing of some coronavirus restrictions
- Saudi Arabia reports 1,869 new COVID-19 cases, tally near 90,000
- COVID-19: Katsina govt. relaxes lockdown
- COVID-19: NDDC donates medical equipment, consumables to A’Ibom govt
- 1st LD: Assailant killed, 3 injured in explosion in downtown Kabul
- Ibadan businessman petitions new Oyo CP over alleged rights infringement
- COVID-19: NDDC donates medical equipment, consumables to A’Ibom govt
- Women protest cultists invasion in Rivers community
- Albania should be ready for second wave of COVID-19: PM
- Demand for labor in Germany continues to fall due to COVID-19 pandemic
- FG says cylinder recirculation model will increase cooking gas usage
- Leader of Mongolia’s ruling party calls for synergy to promote national development, interests
- VC harps on national re-orientation to tackle rape cases
- 1st LD: UK COVID-19 deaths hit 39,369 as another 324 patients die
- INEC seeks CSOs’ inputs on new policy to guarantee voters’ safety
- Migrants demand “freedom” at Malta’s Marsa detention center
- Majek Fashek: Sunny Neji expresses sadness
- Bank of America pledges $1bn to address racial, economic inequality
- Pfizer to invest up to $500 m in public drug developers
- UK house prices see largest monthly fall in May since 2009: survey
- GDP: Expert urges FG to prioritise mechanised agriculture, electricity to boost growth
- Tinubu mourns Sen. Muniru Muse
- Iraq’s COVID-19 cases exceed 7,000 as daily increase hits new record
- India launches $6.7 bn plan to boost electronics manufacturing
- Kwara Govt tasks officials on appropriate use of immunisation equipment
- Nasarawa Govt. mulls e -procurement
- Feature: Istanbul’s cafe resorts to well-dressed mannequins to ensure social distancing after reopening
- Adesina: United States jostling for power in Africa, says Diaspora Congress
- Gregory varsity student designs hybrid fuel-less power generator — Official
- Sexual abuse: Ekiti Assembly passes bill for child-victims to access compulsory medical treatment
- Britain announces £160m in humanitarian aid to Yemen
- Latvia confirms commitment to EU Eastern Partnership
- Lufthansa introduces mandatory mouth-nose cover rule
- Malawi plans to reopen schools in July
- 2020 farming season:Institute advises farmers to extend planting of crops
- Television subsidy, not sustainable – FG
- France to sign off on €5bn aid for Renault after jobs pledge
- Lockdown: Gov. Ugwuanyi reopens popular Ogbette main market in Enugu
- Mozambican police urge people to observe preventive measures against COVID-19
- Urgent: UK COVID-19 deaths hit 39,369 as another 324 patients die
- Somalia confirms 66 new COVID-19 cases as tally hits 2,089
- Russia reserves right to retaliate for nuclear attacks: Putin’s decree
- UN humanitarian chief asks donors to prevent Yemen from falling off precipice
- Taliban rejects UN report alleging continued ties to al-Qaeda
- Fourth batch of humanitarian medical aid from China arrives in Belarus
- SDP denies dissolution of Ondo State Executive
- UN chief appeals for urgent funds for Yemen
- Scientists use DNA to unravel Dead Sea Scrolls puzzle mystery
- Expedite action to bring Omozuwa’s killers to justice, group tasks Police
- Zambia on right track to tackle COVID-19: official
- France donates protective equipment to Lebanese civil defense for fight against COVID-19
- Ghana’s COVID-19 cases rise to 8, 297
- Kenya confirms 72 new COVID-19 cases, tally rises to 2,093
- COVID- 19: Kwara has not lifted ban on religious activities –Commissioner
- Climate change: AFAN advises members on improved seeds variety
- Saudi pledges $500m at Yemen donor conference
- Sen. Kalu’s release from prison is rule of law in action — NCDD
- COVID-19: Lagos govt says churches, mosques remain shut
- Council demands in-depth probe of Adamawa communal clash
- Expert tasks organisations on shared value initiative to reduce poverty
- Israel’s Netanyahu calls on settler leaders to support Trump plan
- Ondo 2020: Group endorses Kekemeke for APC governorship primaries
- Swine fever virus kills pigs worth N7 bn in Lagos farm-AFAN
- China to continue supporting Indonesia in its fight against COVID-19: ambassador
- CAS inaugurates accommodation complex for NAF in Imo
- CR -SIEC issues certificate of return to elected chairmen, counsellors in C/River
- Singapore reports 544 newly-confirmed COVID-19 cases, tally at 35,836
- Linkage Assurance assures meeting recapitalistion requirements, amidst COVID-19 impact
- Japan approves safer, easier saliva test for COVID-19
- Interview: Chinese consumers will benefit domestic, global economic recovery after COVID-19, says renowned UK economist
- Urgent: Explosion rocks downtown Kabul
- New CP assumes office in Gombe
- Morocco announces 37 mln USD aid package for drought-hit farmers
- Tech entrepreneur urges MSMEs to sell people’s needs to stay in business
- Yemeni photojournalist killed by masked gunmen in Aden
- China completes first Mount Qomolangma airborne gravity survey
- Over 600 civilians killed across South Sudan in Q1: UN
- Iran-Russia ties essential to regional stability: Iranian adviser
- Myanmar reports 4 more COVID-19 cases, 232 in total
- 5 police officers shot, wounded in United States protests
- S. Africa’s confirmed COVID-19 cases surpass 35,000