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Government should adopt direct contact approach in assisting farmers- AFAN

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Mr Moses Oladipupo, the Deputy Chairman of All Farmers Association of Nigeria (AFAN) in Osun chapter, has called for a direct contact approach from the government when assisting and dealing with farmers.

 

Oladipupo made the call on Saturday during an interview with the Nigeria News Agency on the backdrop of government programmes not getting to real farmers.

 

According to Oladipupo, majority of real farmers are not benefiting from government interventions and programmes because the programmes are mostly hijacked by politicians and those close to the government.

 

He decried the suffering and pain real farmers had to endure to keep operating, saying that a lot of them are frustrated.

The farmer noted that it was becoming difficult to encourage the younger generation to go into farming business because of so many challenges farmers are facing.

 

“The state government early this year called farmers to a meeting where it promised to provide farmers with land for farming, tractor and seedlings to assist them in their operations.

 

“So far, it is yet to fulfill the promise, largely due to the economic situation of the state which it claimed had incapacitated it.

‘’But the state government keeps assuring us of its commitment to assisting farmers in the state,“ he said.

 

He, however, noted that Gov. Adegboyega Oyetola, through his wife, had given out N10, 000 soft loan, each, to about 100 women farmers for vegetable cultivation, for a three months.

 

According to the deputy chairman, AFAN had taken steps to get assistance from the Federal Government.

“ We have our national leadership working on that, but sometime because of selfish interests, after our leaders get what they want from the government, they neglect others.

 

“Again, when Federal government wants to assist farmers, it passes through the state government for implementation, but the disbursement of government grants becomes politicised making it impossible for real farmers to get the assistance.

 

“Even getting loans from banks is extremely difficult because the requirements for loans cannot be met by ordinary farmers except those connected with the government.

 

According to him, those connected to the government get wavers and get quick loan while ordinary farmers without any government backbone cannot obtain loan for their farming business.

 

“Only those that have letters from government are given recognition and given quick loan.

 

“Real farmers are suffering, they are frustrated, and they are surviving on subsistence.

 

“There is no market for their produce, buyers just buy produce off farmers at ridiculous prices and they are not getting anything (assistance) directly from the government.

 

“This year, the Federal government provided us with chemicals at subsided rate, but if you are not recognised, you will not get to buy from it.

 

“There is also time they sell this chemicals and if the time elapses, no one can buy again but even before the end of the stipulated selling time.

He expressed concern that some people would  come, buy in bulk and be reselling to others to make profit.

 

“Government should give us assistance/needs directly without the involvement of politicians.

 

“Farmers are suffering, government should provide farmers with loan, chemicals and seedlings at the right time and at the right season.” he said.

 

ID/DUA

Edited by Dada Ahmed

Foreign

Libya’s UN-backed government reports new advances against rivals

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Forces allied with Libya’s internationally recognised government said they had captured a major city from rivals on Friday, a day after they regained control of the capital Tripoli.

In recent weeks, forces from the UN-recognised Government of National Accord (GNA) based in Tripoli have made swift territorial gains against the rival self-styled Libyan National Army (LNA) led by Khalifa Haftar.

The GNA’s military spokesman, Mohammed Gnounou, said on Friday government forces were in complete control of the city of Tarhouna, about 90 km south-east of Tripoli, and Haftar’s last stronghold in western Libya.

“Our heroic forces have taught Haftar’s terrorist militias an unforgettable lesson,” Gnounou added on Twitter.

Mostafa al-Majai, another GNA military spokesman, said the government forces had entered Tarhouna without any fighting after LNA forces had pulled out of the city into the desert.

“No reprisal acts have taken place inside the city. A large number of residents left the city days ago. This has made it easy to establish security there,” he told.

A source in Haftar’s forces confirmed on Friday that LNA forces and their allies had left Tarhouna.

Haftar’s loyalists seized Tarhouna following the start of their campaign in April last year to capture Tripoli from GNA.

Later Friday, the GNA military said its forces had also taken full control of al-Urban, a town about 130 km   south-west of Tripoli.

GNA Prime Minister Fayez al-Serraj has vowed to bring all Libyan territory under his government’s control, according to the official Twitter account of the GNA forces.

“There is no concession in applying justice and law to bring to account everyone involved in perpetrating crimes against Libyans,” he was quoted as saying.

The GNA government has repeatedly accused Haftar and his forces of committing war crimes.

Libya has been in turmoil since a 2011 revolt toppled long-time dictator Moamer Gaddafi.

The oil-wealthy country is divided between two rival factions that are supported by different regional powers.

Turkey, along with Qatar, backs the GNA against Haftar, who is supported by Egypt, Russia and the United Arab Emirates.

IAA

Edited By: Isaac Aregbesola (NAN)

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Government-run schools in Pakistan’s Sindh to hold online classes amid COVID-19

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The government-run schools in Pakistan’s southern Sindh province will hold online classes for students stuck at home owing to the COVID-19 outbreak, according to a notification released by the Sindh education department on Friday.

The department has issued directives to all district directors to provide data of teachers and students of public schools by June 17, said the notification, adding that online classes will be held for sixth to 12th grade students.

Some 75 trainers will train teachers on holding online classes, and the provincial government has also hired information technology experts for smooth conducting of the classes, according to the notification.

The classes will be launched with the help of the United Nations Children’s Fund and Microsoft.

The provincial education department also allowed private schools across Sindh to start online classes.

The number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in Pakistan has risen to 89,249 with 1,838 deaths, according to data updated by the country’s health ministry on Friday.

(XINHUA)

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Foreign

Libya’s UN-backed government forces take over Tripoli International Airport

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Forces of Libya’s UN-backed government on Wednesday announced taking over the former International Airport in the south of Tripoli from the rival eastern-based army, as the armed conflict between the two parties continues.

“Our brave forces completely freed the Tripoli International Airport and are now pursuing the fleeing forces of Haftar (commander of eastern-based army) towards Qasr bin Ghashir in the east of the airport,” Mohamed Gonono, spokesman of the UN-backed government’s forces, said in a statement.

The spokesman added that the UN-backed government’s forces have launched ten airstrikes on the eastern-based army in the airport.

The UN-backed government’s forces on Wednesday launched an operation to “free Tripoli International Airport.”

For more than a year, the eastern-based army has been trying to take over Tripoli and topple the UN-backed government by leading a military campaign.

The fighting killed and injured hundreds of civilians and displaced more than 150,000 others, despite repeated international calls for cease-fire.

(XINHUA)

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Foreign

Yemen’s government reports 20 new COVID-19 cases, 419 in total

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The total number of COVID-19 cases in Yemen’s government-controlled provinces increased to 419 on Wednesday, as 20 new cases were confirmed.

The Yemeni Health Ministry said in a brief statement that during the past 24 hours, 20 cases of COVID-19 were detected in a number of provinces under the control of internationally-recognized government.

The ministry said that the number of recoveries in the government-controlled areas increased to 17 since the outbreak of the novel coronavirus on April 10.

Also, the government announced that the death toll from the deadly respiratory disease climbed to 95 in different areas under its control, including the southern port city of Aden.

The Yemeni government has taken several measures to contain the outbreak of COVID-19, including imposing a partial overnight curfew in Aden and other major cities under its control.

The government called on donors and relevant international humanitarian organizations to provide support to help contain the pandemic.

Yemen has been mired in a civil war since late 2014, when the Iran-backed Houthi group seized control of much of the country’s north and forced the internationally-recognized government of President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi out of Sanaa.

(XINHUA)

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Health

Doctors issue 14-day ultimatum to  Ondo State Government 

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The National Association of Government General Medical and Dental Practitioners (NAGGMDP), Ondo State  branch, has issued a 14-day ultimatum to the  State Government, ahead of its planned industrial action.

 

This is contained in a statement by the association’s Chairman, Dr Aina Oluwafemi, after the branch’s emergency meeting and  made available to newsmen on Wednesday in Akure.

 

NAGGMDP is an affiliate of the Nigerian Medical Association (NMA),  the umbrella body for all general duty doctors engaged by the state’s Ministry offer Health (MOH) and the Hospitals’ Management Board (HMB).

 

Others are the Ondo State Primary Health Care Development Board (OSPHCDB), Ondo State Contributory Health Commission (ODCHC) and the Ondo State Oil Producing Areas Development Commission (OSOPADEC).

 

The University of Medical Sciences Teaching Hospital Complexes (UNIMEDTHC), completes the list.

 

The doctors said, “Government had, through official press release, social media, and circular to relevant government agencies announced the approval for immediate implementation, the payment of the 50 per cent basic salary as special COVID-19 hazard allowances, for all health workers, three months in the first instance.

 

“Government  failed to implement the said pronouncements  when the May salary was paid.

 

“Rather, doctors observed that their salaries were  slashed in May.  As much as 2.5 per cent of their consolidated basic salary was removed for reasons best known to the state government.”

 

The association said that its members were  expectedly disappointed, perplexed and in distraught as to why  the State Government could subject them to such treatment.

 

Doctors in Ondo State are, as we speak, angry and very low in spirit.”

 

The association also alleged that the state government was being insensitivity to the welfare of its members  in the state based on the above development.

 

Till date, the Ondo State Government has refused to implement the consequential adjustment of increment in minimum wage to doctors and other health workers.

 

“Whereas, other workers in the State have been enjoying the new minimum wage since January 2020.

 

“In the same vein, the government has also sought to divide the previously united body of doctors in the state by selectively implementing skipping, which is a regularised salary structure for health workers, to only doctors in the newly established UNIMEDTHC.

 

“To this end, the State Executive Council of our association had issued a 14-day ultimatum to the Ondo State Government, to tell us, why we have to part with 2.5 per cent of our basic salaries and the unsolicited deduction be refunded with immediate effect.

 

“We also demand to know the present situation of our ill- fated 50 per cent basic salary as special COVID-19 allowance and the modalities for the immediate implementation of the consequential adjustment of the increment in minimum wage.

 

“We also demand  to know  when our January 2017 salary arrears will be paid and also, the commencement of the regularisation of the skipping salary structure, for the Ondo State Doctors.”

 

The association’s executive  said that it would have no other choice than to  abide by the decisions of  its Congress if the state government should fail to meet its stated demands.

 


Edited By: Chinyere Nwachukwu/Peter Dada (NAN)

 

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Australian universities warn of research “disaster” without government support amid virus outbreak

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Australia’s universities have warned that the nation’s research capacity will be devastated by the coronavirus crisis without government support.

Universities Australia, on Wednesday, released modelling that found the sector could lose 16 billion Australian dollars ($11 billion) in revenue between 2020 and 2023 as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The figures were released ahead of a meeting between the peak body and Education Minister, Dan Tehan, on Wednesday.

Tehan has dismissed calls from universities for government assistance, instead urging them to adjust their business models.

The government has guaranteed 18 billion AUD ($12.4 billion) in funding, previously committed to the sector, but has ruled out support for universities under its JobKeeper wage subsidy scheme.

Catriona Jackson, the Chief Executive of Universities Australia, said that the projected shortfall would have a long-lasting impact on university finances.

“We can’t pretend that won’t have a big impact.

“Not only does that revenue support the staff and facilities to educate the next generation of skilled workers, it also pays for much of the research and innovation that keeps Australia internationally competitive,’’ she said in a media release.

“If there’s less research on campus we will be less equipped to deal with crises like COVID-19 and bushfires in future.’’

“You can’t have an economic recovery without investing in research and development,’’ she added.

Universities accounted for 34 per cent of Australia’s investment in research and development in financial year 2017-18, up from 24 per cent a decade earlier.

Brian Schmidt, the Vice-Chancellor of Australian National University (ANU), told News Corp Australia that ANU has resorted to using international student fees to fund its research amid the pandemic.

“That money is going to go and the question is: what is Australia going to do about it?

“All the evidence is that when you invest in research in universities, you get large economic spill-overs,’’ he said.

“This is an impending disaster, which needs to be sorted out in the next few months.

“Universities like my own will have to make decisions about what activities we can afford to do and what we can’t.

“We’re to lose a potential early-career researcher generation.’’

The Group of Eight (Go8), a coalition of Australia’s top universities, said that prior to the pandemic, research from its members “pumped almost 25 billion AUD ($17.3 billion) into the economy each year’’.

“Life, as we know it, has changed dramatically and more than ever we need a research-led economic recovery – unashamedly focused on job creation, retraining, improved productivity processes and new industries supported by AI and hi-tech manufacturing,’’ Go8 Chief Executive, Vicki Thomson, said.

COVID-19 has shone an uncomfortable light on what we have known all along – our funding system is broken, with an over-reliance on international fee income to prop up our university research – 70 per cent of which is undertaken in Go8 universities.’’

The warnings come as La Trobe University, which has more than 25,000 students across Australia, faces bankruptcy.

Nine Entertainment newspapers reported that La Trobe will be broke within weeks unless it can secure bank loans and an agreement with all staff on a 10 per cent pay cut.

In a briefing, sent to staff on Tuesday, Vice-Chancellor, John Dewar said that there was “no money tucked down the back of the sofa’’, warning that unless staff agreed to a pay cut, there would be 450 redundancies.

AIB

Edited By: Abdulfatah Babatunde (NAN)

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Foreign

Roundup: Australian universities warn of research “disaster” without government support amid virus outbreak

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Australia’s universities have warned that the nation’s research capacity will be devastated by the coronavirus crisis without government support.

Universities Australia on Wednesday released modelling that found the sector could lose 16 billion Australian dollars (11 billion U.S. dollars) in revenue between 2020 and 2023 as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The figures were released ahead of a meeting between the peak body and Education Minister Dan Tehan on Wednesday.

Tehan has dismissed calls from universities for government assistance, instead urging them to adjust their business models.

The government has guaranteed 18 billion AUD (12.4 billion USD) in funding previously committed to the sector but has ruled out support for universities under its JobKeeper wage subsidy scheme.

Catriona Jackson, the chief executive of Universities Australia, said that the projected shortfall would have a long-lasting impact on university finances.

“We can’t pretend that won’t have a big impact. Not only does that revenue support the staff and facilities to educate the next generation of skilled workers, it also pays for much of the research and innovation that keeps Australia internationally competitive,” she said in a media release.

“If there’s less research on campus we will be less equipped to deal with crises like COVID-19 and bushfires in future.”

“You can’t have an economic recovery without investing in research and development,” she added.

Universities accounted for 34 percent of Australia’s investment in research and development in financial year 2017-18, up from 24 percent a decade earlier.

Brian Schmidt, the vice-chancellor of Australian National University (ANU), told News Corp Australia that ANU has resorted to using international student fees to fund its research amid the pandemic.

“That money is going to go and the question is: what is Australia going to do about it? All the evidence is that when you invest in research in universities, you get large economic spillovers,” he said.

“This is an impending disaster which needs to be sorted out in the next few months. Universities like my own will have to make decisions about what activities we can afford to do and what we can’t. We’re to lose a potential early-career researcher generation.”

The Group of Eight (Go8), a coalition of Australia‘s top universities, said that prior to the pandemic research from its members “pumped almost 25 billion AUD (17.3 billion USD) into the economy each year.”

“Life as we know it has changed dramatically and more than ever we need a research-led economic recovery – unashamedly focused on job creation, retraining, improved productivity processes and new industries supported by AI and hi-tech manufacturing,” Go8 chief executive Vicki Thomson said.

COVID-19 has shone an uncomfortable light on what we have known all along – our funding system is broken, with an over-reliance on international fee income to prop up our university research – 70 per cent of which is undertaken in Go8 universities.”

The warnings come as La Trobe University, which has more than 25,000 students across Australia, faces bankruptcy.

Nine Entertainment newspapers reported that La Trobe will be broke within weeks unless it can secure bank loans and an agreement with all staff on a 10 percent pay cut.

In a briefing sent to staff on Tuesday Vice-Chancellor John Dewar said that there was “no money tucked down the back of the sofa”, warning that unless staff agreed to a pay cut there would be 450 redundancies.

(XINHUA)

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Foreign

Syrian government eases anti-pandemic measures

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People wait at a juice store in Damascus, capital of Syria, June 2, 2020. The Syrian government has recently eased the measures undertaken against the spread of the COVID-19. (Photo by Ammar Safarjalani/Xinhua)

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General news

DG nominee vows to ensure transparency in government procurement process in Nasarawa 

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Dr Dominic Bako, a nominee for the position of Director General, Nasarawa State Bureau for Public Procurement has vowed to ensure accountability and transparency in government procurement process.

 

Bako gave the assurance on Tueday when he appeared for screening before the state House of Assembly   in Lafia.

He said that it would no longer be business as usual in the award of contract and purchase of government property given the establishment of the bureau.

 

“I want to commend His Excellency, Gov. Abdullahi Sule for appointing me and also the Speaker and the Honourable members for passing the bill for the establishment of this Bureau for Public Procurement.

 

“I want to assure you that if confirmed and sworn in as DG of this Bureau, it will no longer be business as usual in the government procurement process.

 

“I will ensure transparency and accountability, due process while discharging my duties for the overall development of the state,” he said.

 

The DG nominee said that he would use his wealth of experience towards ensuring the rapid development of the state.

 

Alhaji Ibrahim Abdullahi, Speaker of the Assembly announced the confirmation of Bako as the DG of the Bureau for Public Procurement, citing his integrity, competence and wealth of experience.

 

The speaker directed the Clerk of the Assembly to communicate the house  resolution to the governor for necessary action on Bako’s confirmation.

The News Agency of Nigeria reports that Bako was until his appointed, the Special Adviser to the Governor on Budget, Finance and Economic planning.

He also served as Head of Service, Permanent Secretary and  Commissioner under the immediate past administration of Gov. Umaru Al-Makura in the state.

 


Edited By: Ifeyinwa Okonkwo and Isaac Ukpoju (NAN)

 

 

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Contact US: editor @nnn.com.ng, nnnnews247 @gmail.com

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