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Coronavirus: Agricultural economist laments astronomical rise in prices of food items

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Coronavirus: Agricultural economist laments astronomical rise in prices of food items

The Nigerian Association of Agricultural Economists (NAAE) has expressed concern over astronomical rise in prices of food items across the country due to the COVID-19 pandemic.


Prof. Job Nmadu, the National President of the association, in a statement in Abuja said the pandemic had disrupted some vital agricultural activities.

He said that the 2019/ 2020 harvest, land preparations and planting for 2020 and 2021 season had been disrupted, leading to the high cost of goods.

Nmadu said unless something urgent was done by government and relevant stakeholders to arrest the situation; it would lead to devastating conditions like starvation.

According to him, some effects of the pandemic have started manifesting.

“Prices of food items have risen sharply further making it difficult for most Nigerians to afford food items that will ould provide balanced nutrition.

“In order to avoid widespread hunger and starvation in 2021, government must start working on strategies that would ensure that shortages are appropriately supplemented.

“In particular, post-harvest losses which are about 34 per cent of harvest must be prevented as much as possible.”

On impact of the pandemic on other areas of life, particularly education, the don said the educational sector was one of the most hit.

He called for more investment in Information Communication Technology (ICT).

Nmadu said that it had become necessary for stakeholders to undertake robust consultations to give online schooling a priority in the country.

According to him, most countries of the world are providing infrastructure for free Wi-Fi in public places, buildings and educational institutions.

He, however, decried that in Nigeria, students and pupils were expected to buy their data, adding that it was not sustainable.

Nmadu said it would be necessary to include provision of Wi-Fi as part of conditions for operating schools.

“The long-term impact of COVID-19 pandemic on the socio-economic and cultural life of Nigeria and Nigerians is disturbing.

“The pandemic led to the closure of all educational institutions in the country since March 2020 and necessary measures must be taken to ensure that students do not lose out completely.”

The don called on relevant stakeholders to ensure that all issues concerning resumption of normal academic activities were properly addressed to ensure a win-win situation for all.

Nmadu also called for resolution of pending issues with Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) were addressed as soon as possible.

Edited By: Abiemwense Moru/Grace Yussuf (NAN)

 

Cecilia John: is a graduate and a professionally trained journalist, with experience in national news reporting/editing and verification at the News Agency of Nigeria. NNN is a Nigerian online news portal that publishes breaking news in Nigeria, and across the world. Our journalists are honest, fair, accurate, thorough and courageous in gathering, reporting and interpreting news in the best interest of the public, because truth is the cornerstone of journalism and they strive diligently to ascertain the truth in every news report. Contact: editor[at]nnn.com.ng

Judiciary

Court remands “spiritualist” for allegedly obtaining N2m from woman

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A Chief Magistrates’ Court in Geagwalada, FCT, on Tuesday ordered that a 43-year-old man, Friday George be remanded in police custody for allegedly cheating and fraudulently obtaining N2 million from a woman.


The police charged the defendant, who resides in Banode Estate, Bida Niger State, with three obtaining, cheating and extortion.

He pleaded not guilty.

Magistrate Yusuf Ibrahim adjourned the case until Aug. 26 for hearing.

Earlier, the Prosecutor, Abudullahi Tanko, told the court that one Bode Adebayo of Blantyre street Wuse II, Abuja and two reported the matter on July 15, 2020.

Tanko alleged that the accused sometime in 2009 approached Adebayo’s sister, Alice, with the intention to defraud her.

He further alleged that the defendant, dishonestly “hypnotized” her into thinking that he was a “spiritual man of God”.

He alleged that the defendant told Alice that God instructed him to avert her problems and bring her vision to reality.

The prosecution counsel added that the defendant also promised to revive her dead father which he claimed to have restored him back to life.

He alleged that the defendant intentionally cheated them by extorting about N2 million from them for sacrifice, cleansing, feeding and treatment for the revived father.

The prosecution counsel added that the said money was also meant to secure a job for one Rebecca Adebayo and Tony Adams with the Nigeria Immigration Service.

He said that during police investigation the defendant confessed to have brainwashed and collected huge amount of money from them.

The offence, he said, contravened the provisions of sections 176, 320 and 292 of the Penal Code.

Edited By: Edwin Nwachukwu/Sadiya Hamza (NAN)

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Sport

China’s Qingdao appoint Wu as head coach to replace Machin

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Qingdao Huanghai have appointed former Shanghai Shenhua manager Wu Jingui as their new head coach to replace Pablo Machin, the Chinese Super League (CSL) side announced on Tuesday.


Promoted Qingdao had terminated the contract of former Sevilla and Espanyol boss Machin last month after one of his relatives had tested positive for COVID-19, preventing the Spaniard from travelling to China to take up the job.

The club confirmed the appointment of Wu in a post.

Wu, who has had multiple spells as Shanghai boss, guided the team to the Chinese FA Cup title in 2017 and was appointed their technical director the following year.

The 59-year-old has also managed Zhejiang Greentown and had a brief stint as Shandong Luneng caretaker boss in 2012.

Qingdao are second from bottom in Group B of the 2020 CSL season after a defeat and a draw from their first two games. They take on Shanghai SIPG on Thursday.

Edited By: Chioma Ugboma/Maharazu Ahmed (NAN)

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Politics

APC UK optimistic of Diezani’s prosecution by British Government

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The All Progressives Congress (APC), UK chapter, says it has received favourable response from the British Government to prosecute former petroleum minister, Diezani Alison-Madueke and other Nigerians suspected of fraud, bribery and corruption offences, living in the United Kingdom.


According to a statement signed by Mr Jacob Ogunseye, the APC UK Publicity Secretary, issued on Tuesday in Abuja, the assurance was given by British Minister of State for Security, James Brokenshire.

In the statement made available to the News Agency of Nigeria , the British government also promised to help Nigeria fight corruption to a standstill.

It said Brokenshire’s promise followed a petition initiated by the APC UK legal department to the British government on the need to prosecute the former petroleum minister and other Nigerians suspected of fraud, bribery and corruption.

The statement said the petition was sequel to a plea by Ibrahim Magu, former Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) at a virtual meeting before his suspension.

It said that Magu had appealed to Nigerians in Diaspora to assist the commission in putting pressure on the British government to repatriate the former minister to Nigeria to answer charges against her.

It said the APC UK legal department took up Magu’s challenge by initiating a legal process reminding the British government of Alison-Madueke’s arrest on October 2, 2015 by its National Crime Agency (NCA) in London.

It recalled that Alison-Madueke was arrested along side four other persons on suspicion of bribery and corruption offences, but was released on bail.

It added that the APC UK legal team went further to request for reasons for the loss of traction by the United Kingdom NCA in prosecuting the former minister since her bail in 2015.

The statement said the department also demanded for a speedy trial of the former petroleum minister in the UK or in the alternative, facilitate her immediate repatriation to Nigeria to face graft charges.

The statement quoted Mr Ade Omole, leader of the chapter, as saying that a fair trial as enshrined in Article 6 of the Human Rights Act would be followed if Madueke was repatriated to Nigeria to face trial.

APC UK supported the legal process with petitions through Members of Parliament and Peers in the House of Lords, the British Government was left with no choice but respond promptly to the issues raised.

“The British government responding through its Minister of State for Security, Rt. Hon. James Brokenshire, promised to work with the Federal Republic of Nigeria in ensuring that corruption is fought to a standstill and persons involved in criminal acts are duly prosecuted,” Omole said.

He added that the response from the British government was a strong indication of good things to come regarding suspects hibernating in the UK.

He stressed that the APC in UK had a good strategy and dedicated legal team that would ensure that looters did not commit crime in Nigeria and run to the United Kingdom to hide.

He said Nigerians should expect some traction on the near comatose criminal case involving the former petroleum minister going forward.

“Though COVID-19 lockdown down is not helping matters, we hope the pandemic will soon be over so we can double our efforts from this end,” Omole said.

The statement quoted Brokenshire, as saying that: “The UK is continuing to lead international efforts to combat corruption, as evidenced by the commitments in the UK’s Anti-Corruption Strategy and the Economic Crime plan.”

He said the UK was determined to ensure that its society and economy remained hostile to illicit financial flows.

“As you will know, in 2018 the Financial Action Task Force assessed the UK as having the strongest controls of any country assessed to date.

“I am acutely aware of the negative impacts of grand corruption, including on developing countries.

“The International Anti-Corruption Coordination Centre, hosted by the NCA, is working to recover stolen assets, share intelligence across jurisdictions, and build capacity to support grand corruption cases in developing countries,” he said.

He added that the centre had supported a number of high profile arrests involving politicians and public officials across the world.

“We are working closely with the government of Nigeria to prevent corruption, including  providing support in-country.

“The NCA runs a number of multi-agency projects in Nigeria which target corruption as one of the threats to the UK,” Brokenshire said.

According to him, these projects provided specialist training, equipment, buildings and infrastructure.

He said it also provided UK-based mentors and intelligence to fight corruption at all levels, adding that the Department for International Development funds programmes to tackle corruption in the Nigerian public sector and oil industry.

Brokenshire assured the APC UK of UK’s commitment to combating corruption in Nigeria and other African countries.

Edited By: Chioma Ugboma/Maharazu Ahmed (NAN)

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Foreign

BP posts second-quarter post-tax loss of $16.8bn

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Global energy giant BP on Tuesday reported a post-tax loss of 16.8 billion dollars in the second quarter amid lower oil prices and writedowns.


The loss compared to a post-tax profit of 1.8 billion dollars in the April to June period a year ago.

The company said that costs for writedowns of inventories and exploration charges weighed heavily on the results.

Second-quarter oil prices were down by over one half compared to a year ago in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic and a oil price war between Saudi Arabia and Russia earlier this year.

“These headline results have been driven by another very challenging quarter, but also by the deliberate steps we have taken as we continue to reimagine energy and reinvent BP,” chief executive Bernard Looney said.

By the end of decade, Looney said BP would be investing around 5 billion dollars in low-carbon projects a year, and during the same period expected daily oil and gas production to drop by 40 per cent from 2019 levels.

The company said it would cut its dividend payout for the first time since the Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico in 2010.

Shareholders were to receive 5.25 United States cents per share, compared with the previous quarter’s 10.5 United States cents per share.

Edited By: Emmanuel Yashim (NAN)

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