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Emir tasks traditional rulers on security, unemployement

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The Emir of Borgu Kingdom in Niger State, Muhammed Dantoro, on Sunday called on traditional rulers to support the Federal Government’s efforts toward tackling insecurity and unemployement in the country.

Dantoro made the plea during a courtesy visit to the palace of the Otaru of Auchi, Edo.

“I call on traditional institutions to come together and address the security challenges in the country, our people should not live in fear, we should be free as a people and nation to move freely where ever we go without being policed.

“We have great work to do, if the traditional institutions come together with a strong voice to call on the politicians to understand they have responsibility to their people in terms of security.

“I want to use this opportunity to call on traditionl institutions to unite with the present administration to move Nigeria forward.”

Dantoro said that governments needed to understand that traditional institution is the institution of the people and that they cannot function well without the collaboration of the traditional rulers.

According to him, the royal fathers have key role to play in the area of security and creating employement, adding that these should not be left alone to government.

“Royal fathers have key role to play in this regard. Also we need to play a very key role in poverty, we need to work together to create employement.

“So that our people can have something to do, and that we cannot do without the government; so we need to work with the government so that we can achieve what is needed to achieve,” he said.

The emir said that the purpose of his visit was to thank the Otaru for his support during his installation as the Emir of Borgu Kingdom and to enhance the existing relationship between the two communities.

He commended the monarch for the propagation of Islam and ensuring unity among Muslims and Christians for peaceful coexistence.

“On behalf of the entire people of Borgu Kingdom we have come to thank you and to appreciation you for the good work you are doing especially in the field of Islam and may Almighty God continue to guide and protect you,” he said.

Responding, the Otaru, Aliru Momoh, harped on the long standing relationship between Auchi and Borgu and promised to sustain it.

“Borgu and Auchi are one community, and under one God who has put us together.

“I was happy when you were coronated, I know your late father and the two communities had a good relationship during the reign of your late father,” Otaru said.

Edited by Donald Ugwu

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Economy

120 SMEs for Lagos MegaCity Fair — Organiser

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No fewer than 120 small businesses from across the country are expected to participate in this year’s Megacity Fair which opens on Friday at Amuwo Odofin Festival Mall in Lagos.

Convener of the Fair, Ifeoma Emenahi, told journalists in Lagos on Wednesday that the three-day event would offer free master classes for women to acquire new skills that would empower them financially.

She said that the 8th edition of the Fair, tagged, ‘Black Friday Sales’, was aimed at supporting vendors and small businesses to network and showcase Made-in-Nigeria products.

“The event this year is not just for the visitors to come and buy, but also for them to come and learn, adding value to themselves.

“We want to empower the women with skills by teaching them how to make headgear like facinators, auto gele and turbans.

“There’s also a master class where they will be taught how to make accessories using Ankara fabrics; all these will be taught for free,” she said.

She added that the Fair would also feature red carpet events, raffle draws, games and bouncy castles to keep the visitors entertained.

“If visitors come to the fair and they find it dull, they won’t come back again but if they are entertained, they’ll be happy to stay,” Emenahi, said.

Edited by Wale Ojetimi (NAN)

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AFEX wins IAMN Technology Innovation for Agribusiness Investment Award

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AFEX Commodity Exchange, a private sector commodities exchange, has won the Institute of Agribusiness Management Nigeria’s (IAMN) Technology Innovation for Agribusiness Investment award.

A statement issued by the AFEX’s Brand and Communication Lead, Obianuju Okafor on Wednesday in Abuja, said the award was given at the fifth edition of IAMN’s National Agribusiness Conference held in Abuja.

She said AFEX had been deploying solutions for the Nigerian agriculture sector for the past five years,

According to her, IAMN is a recognised professional body for agribusiness executives, agriculturists, entrepreneurs and practitioners working within the food and agricultural value chains in Nigeria.

The brand and communication lead said the award was received by AFEX’s Business Development Manager, Akinyinka Akintunde, who thanked the institute for the recognition.

Okafor stated that Akintunde while receiving the award noted that the award was “A recognition of AFEX’s work over the years.

“It is also a little encouragement as we go into our next five years as a company, recommitting ourselves to digitising the agricultural sector in Nigeria so that with more measurable and manageable risk associated with the sector, it becomes more attractive to investors at various levels.

“We are excited about the future and cannot wait to carry everyone along on the journey with us.”

Okafor pointed out that AFEX had a key technology solution that it had deployed with great results accruing to its business, with a number of other solutions under development.

“AFEX’s technology solution, WorkBench, is an integrated ERP designed for agriculture value chain management.

“WorkBench ensures that data and warehouse transactions are shared in real time with the AFEX office, and also allows the Exchange’s clients to track and monitor the progress of their projects with AFEX.

“This solution, therefore, helps to capture necessary events in the agricultural value chain and introduces a level of transparency that Nigeria’s fragmented agricultural sector has been historically unable to enjoy, “she said.

Okafor further said the Chairman of IAMN, Richard Ogundele, who commented on the award said, “From amongst 3 nominees driving Agribusiness via innovative technology in Nigeria, AFEX was adjudged most innovative with real impact by the IAMN at the National Agribusiness Conference 2019.

“About seven categories of sector awards were considered by the IAMN and industry actors were asked to nominate recipients with a basis of selection.

“A google link was created and circulated amongst actors for nominations. About 250 entries were received, collated and sorted for the winner of each category to emerge.”

The brand and communication lead further pointed out that Key in AFEX’s innovation with WorkBench was an understanding of the Nigerian environment.

According to her, such understanding led to WorkBench been developed to work offline, enabling field agents who work in remote areas to easily register farmers, capture their data and geotag their farms with all the data syncing to the server when the field agent got into an area with internet access.

She also said the transparency and traceability enabled by AFEX’s technology solution had been key in attracting more investment into primary production from varied sources.

She said the Exchange facilitated access to finance for 6, 231 farmers through its 2019 input financing programme, enabling them to access good quality inputs like fertilizers and crop protection products for their production activities.

Okafor further noted that with over 250 million smallholder farmers and pastoralists in Africa with the need for improved and meaningful livelihoods, digital solutions for agriculture was a game-changer in supporting and accelerating agricultural transformation across the continent.

“AFEX’s continued drive to digitise the sector will go a long way in continuing to make the sector attractive to investors, making for a stronger agriculture economy that will ensure a fair exchange of value among players,”she said.

On the mission and vision of AFEX, Okafor said it was Nigeria’s first private sector commodities exchange firm providing solutions to make Nigeria’s agriculture economy scalable and efficient.

She noted that AFEX was working towards helping Africa to feed itself by continually drawing on its knowledge of the food systems in Africa to create the right incentives and a shared platform that supports wealth creation, risk management and efficient markets.

She said in its first four years of operating in Nigeria as at 2018, AFEX reached and enhanced the livelihood of over 100,000 farmers and aggregated over 100,000 metric tonnes of grain.

On the task ahead, Okafor said AFEX was seeking to create a market infrastructure that would promote a transparent, data-driven, tech-enabled agriculture ecosystem, where risks were efficiently measured, managed, and priced.

Edited by Dorcas Jonah/Felix Ajide (NAN)

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NOA urges Kebbi Assembly to criminalise use of non professionals in building construction

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The National Orientation Agency (NOA), in Kebbi, has urged the Kebbi Assembly to enact law to enforce strict compliance in the use of professionals in building construction, to curtail incidences of building collapse.

The Director of the Agency in the state, Mr Joseph Machina, gave the advice in an interview with the Nigeria News Agency in Birnin Kebbi on Wednesday.

“In line with the directive of the Director- General of NOA, Dr Garba Abari, we are calling for the citizens engagement in the management and reduction of disaster in the state.

“As such, we urge the Kebbi assembly to enact laws and enforce strict compliance to use of professionals and certified engineers in building construction in the state,” he said.

Machina attributed incidences of disasters, including building collapse and fire outbreaks to improper information on preventive measures and management.

“The incessant and numerous building collapse, fire incidents, especially bush burning during harmattan season that result in loss of lives and properties are results of lack of disaster risk reduction design, poor maintenance culture, and patronage of uncertified engineers, among others.

“The use of fire fighting gadgets and maintenance culture in all government and private organizations, residential  houses and markets should be enforced,” he said.

Machika assured that the agency would carry out a step down awareness campaign at the grassroots on disaster management.
 
“All the Chief Orientation and Mobilization Officers of the agency in the 21 local government areas will be involved in the campaigns against bush burning and illegal construction of building in order to reverse the trend,” the director said. .

Edited by Maharazu Ahmed (NAN)

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Bauchi UNICEF Chief decries non-domestication of CRC by Bauchi, other states

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Mr Bhanu Pathak, UNICEF Chief of Field, Bauchi Field Office, on Wednesday expressed dismay over the refusal of 25 out of the 36 states in the country to domesticate the Convention for the Rights of the Child convention (CRC), signed over 30 years ago by the UN.

Briefing newsmen in Bauchi as part of events commemorating the 30th anniversary of the convention, he said it was disappointing that most of the defaulting states were in the northern region, listing Bauchi, Gombe, Jigawa and Adamawa States as those defaulting under the field office.

According to him, under the UNICEF Zone D Field Office, only Plateau and Taraba States have domesticated the CRC, while the above mentioned four have refused to do so.

He also said that no fewer than 34,000 children in Taraba were malnourished.

“In Taraba State, almost 34,000 children are malnourished and needed immediate support.

“Similar numbers are in Bauchi, Gombe and Adamawa States as well, and if the state governments did not intervene, many of them will die.

“Many of these children need immediate support and treatment to save them from severe malnutrition,” he said.

Pathak also said that 50 per cent of children in Bauchi, Gombe, Plateau, Adamawa, Taraba and Jigawa states were not fully immunised against the six child-killer diseases.

He further said that a survey had shown that the country was battling with 10 million out-of-school children, a phenomenon he described as “disheartening”.

Pathak said that UNICEF was working in collaboration with Adamawa, Bauchi and Gombe state governments to identify the children and get them enrolled in schools.

“UNICEF can only support but the states have to take the bulk of responsibilities; we are here to support and have supported,” he asserted.

Edited by Jane (NAN)-Francis

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Economy

Nigeria customs impounds 1,343 bags of foreign rice, others worth N492m, makes 6 arrest

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The Federal Operations Unit (FOU) Zone ‘C’ of the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) in Owerri said it impounded 1,343 bags of foreign rice and other contraband worth N492 million and made six arrest within the month.

The Area Controller of the Zone, Compt. Kayode Olusemire, made this known while displaying the seized items to newsmen in Owerri on Wednesday.

He said the contraband with Duty Paid Value of N492 million were seized by his men along Port HarcourtOwerri axis, while six suspects were arrested in connection with the seized items.

He said that two of the suspects had been given administrative bail.

He expressed regret that in spite of Federal Government’s efforts, through the Nigeria customs and other government agencies to combat smuggling, some individuals had remained adamant in shortchanging government’s revenue generation.

Olusemire said that most of the seized items had expired,  while others such as Analgin had been banned by the government and so are unfit for human consumption.

“Nigerians derive joy in perpetrating evil all in the intent to defraud the government and make more profits.

“The war against importation of foreign rice is not yet over. Nigerians should be encouraged to eat what is produced in the country. We can do this by stopping to patronise foreign rice.

“With technology, you can plant anything and it will grow. Depending on and patronising foreign-made goods is undermining the economy of the nation,” he said.

The area controller identified the seized items to include a 1* 40 ft container carrying 312 bales of used clothing, another 1 * 40 ft container with 1,182 cartons of Analgin injection and other items and a 1 * 40 ft truck with 233 cartons of foreign furniture.

He said the foreign furniture truck was seized due to wrong declaration made by the conveyor.

The Nigeria News Agency reports that other items seized are a truck containing 392 bags of 50kg foreign rice and 33 bales of second hand clothing, both with DPV of over N15.253 million.

A ttruck with 205 bags of 50kg foreign rice both valued at N7.95 million and another truck carrying 684 bags of 50kg foreign rice with DPV of N22.35 million.

Olusemire said the prohibited second hand clothing, furniture, rice and analgin were concealed with other unprohibited items such as granite to deceive the eagle eyes of the customs men.

He said that a Toyota Sienna car carrying 62 bags of 50kg foreign rice with a total DPV of N3.20 million were equally seized.

The customs officer described smuggling as an evil practice that had made the country’s industries moribond causing the Nigerian youths employment opportunities.

“There are so many ways smugglers operate. But we can only stop them, especially the rice smugglers by not patronising the foreign rice.

“We will continue to sensitise Nigerians untill the war against smuggling is won,’ he said.

Olusemire called on Nigerians to always provide useful information about activities of smugglers, stressing that the NCS was  better equipped and trained with wide spread tentacles to stop smugglers any how they decided to operate.

Edited by Tajudeen Atitebi (NAN)

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Lawmaker calls for calm over suspension of petrol to border communities

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Rep. Babatunde Hunpe, member of the House of Representatives representing Badagry Constituency, has urged residents of the border communities to remain calm following the Federal Government’s suspension of petrol supply to their areas.

Hunpe made the plea in an interview with the Nigeria News Agency on Wednesday in Badagry, saying that the members of the House were on top of the matter.

NAN reports that the Federal Government had on Nov. 6 announced the suspension of diesel and petrol supply to filling stations within 20 kilometres radius of all Nigerian borders.

The Comptroller-General of the Nigeria Customs Service, Retired Col. Hameed Alli, issued the directive in a memo.

NAN also reports that on Nov. 11, the House of Representatives called on the Federal Government, through the Nigerian Customs Service, to lift the ban on sales of petrol within the country’s borders.

A member of the House, Mr Sada Soli, had moved a motion of urgent national importance at the plenary asking that the order by the NCS should be vacated.

According to him, the order by the customs boss contravened the provisions of the Customs and Excise Act.

Hunpe urged his constituents not to be confrontational with security operatives as a result of the directive.

He said that the members of the House of Representatives were working round the clock to ensure that the Federal Government rescind its directive.

“Sincerely, I understand the plights of my people in all the border communities as a result of closure of the borders and now suspension of petrol to them.

“Many people have lost their jobs, while some have their means of livelihood stopped. Since the closure of the borders, things are not the way it used to be.

“The question is that if our security operatives live up to expectations, it will not result to this suspension.

“At present, my people have lost many things to this closure; our friends, business partners and many travellers that ply our roads.

“I am from a border community and I got voted into the House of Representatives to seek their welfare, which I have promised with my strength.

“I feel your pains my people, I know what you are passing through with the border closure and now the pains of travelling down many kilometres to get petrol.

“Even, many of our women have lost their babies at birth due to no petrol supply to travel to the next hospital in the middle of the night in the border communities.

“Can we blame God because He created us in this place?’’ Hunpe asked.

Hunpe appealed to the Federal Government to see reasons with members from border communities and lift the ban on the suspension of petrol to those border communities.

He said that this would alleviate sufferings the residents were passing through and reduce the numbers of people that were out of jobs as a result of the border closure.

Edited by Oluyinka Fadare/Olagoke Olatoye (NAN)

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