The Federal Government/International Fund for Agriculture (IFAD)-Value Chain Development Programme (VCDP), says it plans to support over 9,000 farmers in Anambra in 2020 under the additional financing.
Mr Nnamdi Agwuncha, the State Programme Coordinator, -VCDP disclosed this in an interview with the Nigeria News Agency in Awka on Wednesday.
Agwuncha, who expressed satisfaction with the programme, said it had spent over N300 million as at Oct. 31, in encouraging rice and cassava production during the 2019 farming season.
According to him, VCDP added three new Local Government Areas namely: Ihiala, Ogbaru and Orumba South this year that now benefit from our services and farm inputs support in both rice and cassava crops.
He gave the previous benefitting Local Government Areas as Orumba North, Awka North, Ayamelum, Anambra East and Anambra West.
“This year, 1, 670 farmers have so far benefitted as against 1, 001 farmers in 2018.
“We have got approval for additional financing, which will commence next year. This was as a result of the improvement in the programme and performance by farmers,’’ he said.
He said the N300 million was spent on input/seedling and agro-chemical disbursement, land development/preparation, building of aggregation and cassava bulking centres, provision of water schemes and rice processing mills.
Other areas of support include building of market stalls, construction of small bridges to provide access roads to farm lands as well as provision of solar powered borehole, among others.
“In terms of yield, average yield of six tons of rice was recorded in 2019 as against 5.5 tons in 2018, while an average yield of 35 tons per hectare was recorded in 2019 as against 30 tons for cassava.
“In our 2020 annual work plan and budget, we have planned to support 3, 000 (2, 000 and 1, 000) farmers for rice and cassava production respectively.
“Other 6, 000 VCDP profiled farmers would benefit in all the VCDP training and extension services,” he said.
On border closure by the Federal Government, Agwuncha said it was long overdue, and urged farmers to seize the opportunity to excel in providing food and employment for the country.
“As a matter of fact, I had expected that to have happened a long time because there is no basis to make Nigeria a dumping ground.
“When the team visited the state in 2015, they went round and concluded that Anambra had the potential to feed Nigeria in terms of rice.
“If you open the borders, it affects the efforts of farmers. I expect the Federal Government to close the borders so we look inwards because we have the human and natural endowment to produce rice that will feed Africa,” he said.
The programme coordinator, however, advised the Federal Government to improve its support to agriculture by constructing rural roads and subsidising inputs, among other supports.
Edited by Kabir Muhammad/Felix Ajide (NAN)
30 stranded Nigerians in Lebanon rescued, among 150 awaiting evacuation – NIDCOM
Thirty Nigerians, who were trafficked and left stranded in Lebanon have been rescued, and are among a total of 150 victims awaiting evacuation to Nigeria.
The Nigerians in Diaspora Commission (NIDCOM) made this known in a statement by Gabriel Odu of its Media, Public Relations and Protocol Unit on
The commission said the rescue came after a video footage of the stranded Nigerians making an appeal to the Federal Government and well-meaning Nigerians to come to their aid viral on the Internet.
According to it, the appeal for help by the stranded Nigerians led to their rescue by officials of the country’s mission in Lebanon.
The stranded Nigerians have already been relocated to a more conducive apartment.
“They will be part of 150 others to be evacuated to Nigeria after they were trafficked and left stranded in Lebanon.
“The Lebanese Ambassador to Nigeria, Mr Houssam Diab disclosed the evacuation plans when the Management of NIDCOM, led by the Secretary, Dr Sule Bassi, visited that country’s mission in Abuja,” Odu said in the statement.
He quoted Diab as saying that the 150 girls would be returned home in batches with the first group of 110 people leaving Beirut for Lagos on Aug. 12.
The second batch sws expected to arrive Abuja on Aug. 16.
“The diplomat commended efforts of the Lebanese Community and the Oyo State Government who is sponsoring the return of 55 of the girls,” he said.
Responding on behalf of the NIDCOM Chairman/CEO, Mrs Abike Dabiri-Erewa, Secretary of the commission, who acknowledged the excellent ties between Nigeria and Lebanon, urged both countries to sustain the cordial relationship.
Bassi also lauded the Nigerian Ambassador to Lebanon, Amb. Goni Madu Zanna Bura for his dedication and commitment.
He also commended the staff of the Nigerian mission, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Oyo and Ogun state governments and other strategic partners for their efforts.
“As part of the Nigerian Embassy’s Consular responsibility, the ladies in the said video that went viral and many other distressed Nigerian domestic workers were located and relocated to a safer place.
“Suffice it to say that 150 of these stranded victims are expected to be evacuated next week and handed over to NAPTIP, the agency responsible for (dealing with human) trafficking.
“A break down of the evacuees shows that Oyo State had 41, Ogun 21, Lagos 12, Ondo 18, Osun 26, and Imo 3.
Others are Kwara– 9, Enugu — 1, Ekiti — 6, Kogi — 1, Edo — 1, Delta — 3, Ebonyi — 1, Benue — 1, Abia — 1, Akwa Ibom — 1, and Anambra — 1,” he said.
Edited By: Chioma Ugboma/Emmanuel Yashim (NAN)
Multiple taxes: Petroleum dealers in Anambra threaten shutdown, gives 21 day ultimatum
Petroleum dealers in Anambra have threatened to shut down operations in 21 days over alleged government multiple levies and indebtedness.
The operators under the aegis of NNPC Enugu Depot Community issued the warning in a communiqué issued after an all stakeholders’ meeting held in Awka on Tuesday.
Members of the community included the Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria (IPMAN), Petroleum Dealers Association of Nigeria (PEDAN), Anambra Chapter, and Petroleum Tanker Drivers(PTD.
The communiqué was signed by Mr Chinedu Anyaso and Mr Emeka Iloafor, Chairman and Secretary respectively of IPMAN, Enugu Depot, Chief Cletus Okafor and Mr Peter Jideani, Chairman and secretary respectively of PEDAN and Mr Charles Ezeme and Mr Oliver Ekwueme of PTD Enugu Unit.
The Petroleum dealers said they had been harassed by different agencies of government under Internally Generated Revenue who distributed various demand notices for taxes and levies to their members against the existing agreed terms they had with government.
The dealers said that one of its members was indebted to the tune of N13. 6 million since 2017 and government had refused to pay him in spite of all entreaties.
They alleged that there had also been incessant harassment and attacks on petrol stations by the Police.
They tasked the Anambra government on operationalising a Petroleum Tanker Park in the state to stem the tide of incessant crashes and fire outbreak.
“At the end of the meeting, we resolve that Anambra government should direct the relevant agencies to withdraw all the demand notices, revert to previous arrangement already in place and stop harassing our members.
“Government should reach out to the Police authorities to stop forthwith the harassment and attacks on our petrol stations and advise them to focus on their surveillance on states and locations where petroleum products are loaded.
“That the payment of N13.6 million to be made in favour of the marketer concerned.
“Your Excellency Sir, we are expecting that government act on the above demands within 21 working days to avoid leaving us with no other option than to call for withdrawal of our services as we can no longer continue to operate under the present environment,” they stated.
In his reaction, Chief Peter Nwosu, Special Adviser to Gov. Willie Obiano on Oil and Gas promised to relay their message to the governor, whom, he said would address their plights.
Nwosu, who is also a patron of the group, said Anambra would continue to provide conducive business environment adding that the governor would not allow the state to shut down.
He said he was aware of the indebtedness and that it would be resolved in no distant time.
According to him, His Excellency will not allow the worst to happen, the issues will be resolved amicably.On the tanker park, he said that work was almost completed, so my and urged them to remain calm.
Edited By: Maureen Atuonwu (NAN)
We stand by elections we conducted, Anambra FA Electoral Committee says
The Electoral Committee for the 2020 elections into the nine-man Anambra State Football Association (AnSFA) Board and 20 Local Football Councils (LFCs) on Tuesday defended the process it midwifed.
The process, which led to the re-election of incumbent Ifeanyi Ubah via electronic voting on Sunday, has since been rejected by the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF).
A committee member, Obinna Dike, however told newsmen in Awka that the committee executed its task in the interest of football and all stakeholders.
”We did our job as expected by all stakeholders, including the Anambra public, football community, candidates and delegates,” he said.
The News Agency of Nigeria reports that the committee, which started work June 1 with sale of nomination forms, conducted elections into the board and LFCs through electronic means.
This followed the suspension by the state government of the elections, which were scheduled for July 27 and July 28 respectively.
This was on the grounds that physical elections would flout the COVID-19 preventive laws which were still in force in the state.
“The Electoral Committee was unable to conduct elections on July 27 in view of Anambra State Government’s letter to it complaining of the violation of the COVID-19 protocols in the state,” it stated while announcing the names of members of the caretaker committee billed to be inaugurated on Wednesday.
But Dike, who is Vice-Chairman and Head of Media and Publicity of the Electoral Committee, said the committee was able to execute its task to a conclusion.
He pointed out that this was in spite of the enormous pressure on the committee by those hell-bent on cutting corners.
“From inception, we advertised the sale of forms and ensured that every process was done in the open and most times reported in the media.
“We refused to get involved in the politics of the FA, and stood by our resolve to conduct the elections in line with best practices.
“This did not go down well with some powerful interests in the state.
“We updated the government with developments through the Anambra State Sports Development Commission, by briefing it on our activities regularly.”
Dike however said the committee was startled by the suspension order of the government which came 48 hours to the exercise.
“This process was transparent, free and fair, in line with the mandate given to us.
”We had to ensure that it came to a conclusion because there were innocent people who followed it and indeed everybody was invited to be part of it.
“We were surprised that government which had been part of what we were doing came up with that order because of COVID-19.”
He added that the committee went on thereafter, after obeying government’s order, to find a way to complete the process.
”We said since that was the process, let us obey and find a way round it to ensure nobody was endangered, and that was how the board gave us the nod to use e-voting.
“We are glad to have done our job well, and the winners have been issued their certificates and the process has ended.
”So, it is up to the NFF to decide what to do with it.
“However, as for the caretaker committee being put in place, it has been on the table for some time. That was one of the options they were brandishing in our face, with so much pressure.
”So, we are not surprised. But we are not politicians,” Dike said.
He went on to advise that whatever was happening at the Anambra FA should be in the best interest of the game, and he expressed confidence that the committee would be vindicated.
“I am a Catholic Reverend Father, and I have my integrity to protect and it is still in tact.
“So, on behalf of the committee I want to endorse every bit of what we have done. Only the future will show the role everyone has played.”
Edited By: Chioma Ugboma and Olawale Alabi) (NAN)
NFF appoints caretaker committee for Anambra FA
The Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) on Monday constituted a 6-man caretaker committee to steer the affairs of Anambra State Football Association for the next three months in the first instance.
This came less than 24-hours after the Jude Anyadufu led electoral committee set up late May concluded its task on Aug. 2 with a virtual election which returned Sen. Ifeanyi Ubah, the incumbent chairman for second term.
In a statement issued on Monday, the NFF said the caretaker committee became inevitable following the expiration of the Ubah led board on July 28 and the inability of the electoral committee to conduct the elections.
It would be recalled that the board and local football council elections were scheduled to hold on July 27 and July 28 before the Anambra government ordered the suspension of the exercise on July 25 citing breach of COVID-19 safety protocols.
The NFF said the caretaker committee led by Emmanuel Okeke had the mandate to conduct elections into the board and the LFCs between Aug. 4 when their appointment became effective and Nov. 2 when it would elapse.
The interim committee would be inaugurated on Aug. 5.
“Recall that the tenure of the Board of Anambra State Football Association and the Anambra State Local Football Councils elapsed by effluxion of time on April 30 and May 2 respectively.
“Arising from the novel coronavirus pandemic (COVID-19) and the general lockdown, including football activities, the ASFA Congress was convened on April 28 leading to the extension of tenure of the Board and the LFCs, for another three months, which again expired on August 2.
“The Electoral Committee was unable to conduct elections into the Board of ASFA and LCF on July 27 in view of the Anambra State Government’s letter to the Electoral Committee complaining of the violation of the COVID-19 protocols of the State.
“Art. 85 of the NFF Statutes 2010 provides that ‘the Executive Committee shall have the final decision on any matter not provided for in the Statutes or in cases of force majeure.
“Consequently, the Executive Committee of the NFF in its wisdom, and in order not to create a vacuum do hereby constitute a Caretaker Committee for ASFA as follows: Emmanuel Okeke, Chairman and Victor Nwangwu, Vice Chairman.
“Others are Nonso Philip, Member; Charity Okonkwo, Member; Onyeabo Chimezie, Member and Onyedika Chijioke Secretary.
“The Caretaker Committee is to administer the activities of the Anambra State Football Association and also conduct elections into the Board of ASFA and LFCs within three months, effective from Aug. 4 to Nov. 2.
Edited By: Chidinma Agu/Hadiza Mohammed-Aliyu (NAN)