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Hampers, decoration makers cry out over low patronage in Ibadan




Hampers, decoration makers cry out over low patronage



By Adebisi Fatima Shittu

Ibadan, Dec 23, 2018(NNN) The Christmas and New Year celebration is fast approaching but traders in hampers and decoration items in Our State are lamenting over low patronage.

A cross section of those  who spoke with the News Agency of Nigeria (NNN) at Aleshinloye, Dugbe and Ogunpa markets in Ibadan, said sales had been low since the beginning of December.

Mrs Rebecca Okpara, a trader at Aleshinloye market, said though prices of hampers and Christmas decoration items remained stable, ”patronage is not encouraging.

”We have not been seing buyers as expected, especially for the sales of hampers.

”The development is disturbing because Christmas is just few days away so I use this opportunity to tell our prospective customers that we have large quantities in stock.

” Patronise us for their hampers and other items for the celebration of Christmas and new year”.

Mr Jacob Olumomi, a trader at Dugbe, said he had sold only two dozens of hampers since the beginning of December, unlike in 2017 when he sold five dozens between Dec.  1 and 20.

Olumomi attributed the low patronage to the unfavourable economy in the society.

He appealed to government to pay workers’ salary on time so that money could circulate.

Another trader, Mrs Caroline Ebibi, said sales were not moving, but expressed the hope that  there would be improvement.

A buyer, Mr Peter Idowu, said he bought hampers worth N10,000, hoping that 2019 would be better.

Idowu attributed his low purchases to school fees he needed to pay after yelutide .

” There is a lot to buy this season: cloth, shoes; a wise father will rather buy less because of school fees payment after the yelutide.” said Idowu. (NNN)


News Analysis: Self-rule declaration in southern Yemen hampers anti-Houthi military campaign 




The announcement of Yemen’s Southern Transitional Council (STC) to establish self-rule in areas under its control could hamper the years-long military campaign against the Iranian-backed Houthi rebels, experts said.

Some Yemeni experts believe that the self-governance declaration will pose serious consequences for the government’s efforts aimed at ending the Houthi coup and restoring the country’s state institutions.

“The STC’s declaration faced rejections from other local authorities in the country’s southern part and it only serves the Houthis who will exploit it as a chance or pretext for expansion militarily in Yemen,” said Mohammed Ahmadi, Yemeni political writer and analyst.

In a statement, the Aden-based STC declared a state of emergency and said that it would begin in self-governing the country’s southern port city of Aden and other key neighboring southern provinces under its control.

It also assigned its own economic, legal, military, and security committees to manage all the state institutions located in the country’s southern provinces.

Nabil al-Bukiri, director of the Arab Forum for Studies and Development, told Xinhua that “the announcement may be used by the STC just as a threat to expedite the implementation of the political provisions of the Riyadh deal and maybe for getting more political gains in the upcoming power-sharing government.”

“Both the warring sides failed to implement the military and security provisions of the Riyadh deal and the self-rule declaration will lead to the formation of a new power-sharing government as soon as possible to avoid escalation in Aden,” He said.

“Aden and neighboring southern provinces are already ruled by the STC and the self-governance declaration brought nothing new as it only came to divert the public’s attention after the demonstrations staged against the deterioration of services,” said Nabil.

The STC’s statement stated that “the decision to control and self-govern the country’s southern provinces came in light of the failure, mismanagement and rampant corruption of the Yemeni government, which practiced the policy of subjugation and starvation of the people.”

But Yemen’s government based in Saudi Arabia’s capital of Riyadh issued an immediate response to the STC’s announcement, saying that it would have catastrophic consequences for the power-sharing deal signed in last November.

The country’s Foreign Minister Mohammed al-Hadhrami said in a statement posted on Twitter that the STC’s announcement is “a resumption of its armed insurgency … and an announcement of its rejection and complete withdrawal from the Riyadh Agreement.”

“The so-called transitional council will bear alone the dangerous and catastrophic consequences for such an announcement,” the Yemeni minister said.

However, Majed Aldaare, Aden-based expert and political analyst, told Xinhua that “the STC’s self-governance announcement came as a result of the government’s absence to manage the situation and provide services to the citizens living in the southern cities.”

Aldaare said that “the STC dealt with the Saudi-brokered deal positively and offered many concessions to the government before declaring a self-rule in the southern provinces.”

People living in Aden and other southern main cities reacted positively to the STC’s self-governance announcement and considered it as a glimpse of hope to end their long-suffering, said Alaa Adel Hanash, political writer and observer.

“People waited for this moment for a long time, and some southern provinces witnessed major celebrations after this historic announcement,” said Hanash.

The expert believes that “the STC will definitely succeed in managing the southern provinces for several factors including gaining massive public support that will help the council perform its duties more easily and improve the citizens’ living conditions.”

On Monday, the Saudi-led coalition demanded an end to any escalation between the Yemeni parties, a day after the STC announced a state of emergency in Aden and other southern provinces.

The anti-Houthi Arab coalition also vowed to undertake practical and systematic steps to ensure the implementation of the Riyadh Agreement, Saudi Press Agency reported.

The Riyadh Agreement was signed in November last year between the elected Yemeni government and the Southern Transitional Council, ending months of stand-off between the two sides in Aden.

The main points of the deal include the unification of all military forces under the ministries of interior and defense, and the formation of an efficient government made up equally between the north and south of Yemen.


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Petroleum Industry Governance Bill absence, hampers investment in Oil, Gas sector



Mr Odein Ajumogobia, Chairman, Nigeria Natural Resource Charter (NNRC), says absence of laws especially, Petroleum Industry Governance Bill (PIGB), has hampered Nigeria’s oil and gas  resources full maximisation.

Ajumogobia, former Minister of State, Petroleum Resources, said this at the NNRC launch of the 2017 -2019 Benchmark Exercise Report (BER) in Abuja on Friday.

According to him, Nigeria needs better oil and gas management and only a legal framework can help achieve that.

Nigeria News Agency reports that NNRC, is a non-profit policy institute, and BER was its  biennial findings from assessment of Nigeria’s petroleum sector from 2017 to 2019.

“What we launched today was the 2019 benchmark report, we have this biannually,  and it is a valuable peace of information based on a lot of research in the industry that recommends best practice.

“Policy makers will benefit from looking at the report because presently, we have a law that confers enormous power on the minister of petroleum to do whatever.

“If you have a law that allows a man to do whatever he likes, then investors are not going to be pleased with that because they cannot predict him, they do not want uncertainties .

“You might have a very good man today, then you have a very bad man that does not do right.

”So, investors will like to look at the law rather than have that, thus the reason for the PIGB,” he said.

Ms Tengi George-Ikoli, NNRC Program Coordinator, said that identified gaps had been well-articulated in the 2019 BER and ways forward.

George-Ikoli said  the report was based on 12 precepts providing a focal point for public engagement and civic action while acting as a tool for holding government accountable for its decisions.

She said that the report highlighted those areas where there had not been any form of improvement.

”Notably precepts five and six and the other two precepts that will be affected when the PIB is passed; precepts three and four.

”The four key benchmarks Nigeria needed to attain and focus on as it targeted reforms were the Natural Resource Charter (NRC)’s precepts three, four, five and six consecutively which asked pivotal questions.

“It ask questions: on whether government encourages efficient exploration production operations, and allocate rights transparently.

”Does the current fiscal framework enable the government realise the full value of its resources consistent with attracting necessary investment, and should be robust to changing circumstances?

“Does government pursue opportunities for local benefits and account for, mitigate, and offset the environmental and social costs of resource extraction projects?

”Is the national oil company accountable, with well-defined mandates and an objective of commercial efficiency?,” she said.

George-Ikoli said that if all these questions were adequately tackled, Nigeria would have the potential to compete globally and stand a chance of moving some of its 187 abjectly poor citizens out of poverty.

NAN reports that the BER report  recommended that the Federal Government should put in place legal framework to boost investment in the oil and gas sector to help Nigeria maximise profit for the benefit  of all citizens.

The report which identified petroleum sector progress and areas for improvements, was aimed at empowering stakeholders to advocate for best practices within their various spheres of work in the sector.

It said that NNRC through BER had kept  track of 12 specific areas or precepts of natural resource governance in which Nigeria needed to improve to successfully translate resource wealth to sustainable development to its citizens.

“The report revealed that Nigeria realised N83 trillion in the oil sector in the past 37 years and yet 87 million Nigerians are still in poverty.

“Findings showed that, impact of oil and gas between the local communities from 2017 to 2019 has some notable decline in terms of strategy by the government to transfer benefits and to ensure that the impact of oil extraction on local community is minimised.

“The research shows that discretionary powers are still retained  by the Minister of Petroleum over the licensing process while there is no pre licensing Environmental Impact Assessments (EIAs), since there is no PIGB.

“It also shows that Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) audit report is not readily available, refinery losses continue and NNPC lacks focus while there are conflicts of interest due to absence of the PIGB.’’

The report showed that costly non-essential investment incentives by government had not been totally minimised for oil and gas resulting in less revenue for  government due to flare gas tax credits.

It also revealed that Nigeria had not improved in the area of transparency and accountability since 2017.

It added that every Nigerian could enjoy quality health, education and overall quality of life if Nigeria was graded green in all 12 focus areas.

Edited By: Chidinma Agu/Ali Baba-Inuwa

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Lack of elected LG officials hampers development in Bauchi – CSOs



 The Forum of Executive Directors of Civil Society Organisations in Bauchi state has said that lack of elected local government officials has hampered grassroots development in the state.

The Chairman of the forum, Mr Sodangi Chindo, stated this at the end of the year meeting of the group in Bauchi on Sunday.

He called on the Gov. Bala Muhammed, to conduct local government election in the state without further delay.

According to him, the call for local government election has become imperative, considering the absence of elected officials at grassroots level in the state.

Mr Chindo, however, commended the governor for the successful takeoff of his administration and the leadership style which he had exhibited so far, particularly the declaration of emergency on education and health as well as the standing order already approved for counterpart funds.

“We have also seen high level of commitment in the payment of pensions and gratuity, appointment of key advisers, commissioners and local government caretaker chairmen.

“Though the number of women is of concern, the appointments were, however, timely and well-deserved. We, therefore, call on the governor to conduct local government election in the state to further strengthen the dividends of democracy in the state.

“We want to remind the governor of his campaign promise that when elected into the office, he would conduct local government election to strengthen democracy and good governance,” he said.

Chindo explained  that the objective of the forum was to strengthen civil society organisations towards a coordinated response in the state through vital and accurate information dissemination.

“Our contributions to development in the state include employment creation, advocacy, strengthening community-based structures and implementation of vital projects in health, education, agriculture, water and sanitation, human rights, democracy and good governance,” Chindo said.

He advised members of the forum to redouble their efforts towards achieving the objective of the group.

“There is the need to generate accurate data of development challenges across the political wards in the state and use it for resource mobilisation and as a guide for critical decision making,” Chindo added.

Edited by ‘Wale Sadeeq




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Inadequate work space hampers productivity -LCDA official



Mr Johnson Olukoya, Coordinator, Skill Acquisition and Empowerment Scheme at the Ikotun-Igando Local Government Council Development Area (LCDA) has said that inadequate work space was hampering the scheme’s productivity.

Olukoya told Nigeria News Agency on Thursday Lagos that this was caused by the ongoing renovation at the council.

reports that LCDA sells forms to interested participants of all ages at N500 for skill acquisition training every three month.

”Right now, we don’t have a work space anymore. Students and instructors do not have a place to stay. This is not conducive for the training as our offices are being converted into training ground.

“For instance in the first quarter we had 80 students that registered, so fixing that number into offices wouldn’t make learning easy,” he said.

Olukoya said that students who failed during practical are made to re-enroll in the next session to ensure that they learn better.

He said that an instructor monitors the progress of the empowerment scheme for it to continue to record success story.

“The feedback has being fantastic. We have students that invite their instructors for their shop opening which is the essence of the scheme, so that they can learn a skill.

“Some will send pictures of the services they render to their supervisors from abroad, even the corp members posted to the local government take advantage of the scheme,’’ Olukoya said.

On awareness level, the coordinator said that during Community Development meetings, handbills are distributed and referrals from former students also help attract more people.

reports that programmes offered by the scheme are; Catering and Hotel Management, Event and Decoration, Hair Dressing, Nails and Makeup, Computer Studies, Fashion Designing and CCTV and Solar System.

Eighty students registered for the programme in the first quarter and 50 students are in the second quarter while the third quarter would start in October.

Edited by Chinyere Bassey/Ismail Abdulaziz

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Death toll in Pakistan quake rises to 32 as rain hampers rescue



The number of people killed in an earthquake in north-eastern Pakistan has risen to 32, officials said on Wednesday, as rescuers scrambled to reach victims in heavy rain.

The strong earthquake hit parts of Pakistan, including parts of Kashmir under its control, on Tuesday afternoon, killing and wounding dozens and damaging houses, shops and roads.

At least, a dozen people died of their wounds overnight in the worse-hit district of Mirpur in Pakistani Kashmir, bringing the death toll to 30 in that region alone, local Police Chief, Sardar Gulfraz Khan, said.

At least two others, including a child, were killed in two different cities in the eastern province of Punjab, local rescue official, Jam Sajjad, said.

More than 450 injured people are being treated at hospitals in Mirpur, Saeedur Rehman, a rescue official in the district said.

Nearly 150 of them are in critical condition, he added, fearing the death toll could increase.

Another two dozen people were wounded in the Pakistani city of Jehlum, where the epicentre was, Sajjad said.

Pakistan’s meteorological department put the magnitude of the quake at 5.8, while the U.S. Geological Survey said it was 5.2.

Pakistan began rescue efforts and mobilised the aviation and engineering wings of the military on Tuesday but their operations were being hampered by heavy rain on Wednesday, Police Officer Khan said.

“We believe some people may still be trapped but we can’t reach them because roads are damaged and rain is heavy,’’ Rehman said.

The metrological department in Islamabad had predicted torrential rains in the region for the next four days.


Edited by Abdulfatah Babatunde

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Absence of baking ingredient hampers cassava bread production – Ogbeh



Chief Audu Ogbeh, the Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, says absence of sure-bake yeast, a baking ingredient, in the country was hampering the inclusion of cassava in bread.

Ogbeh said this in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria in Abuja on Wednesday.

NAN reports that sure-bake yeast is a blend of active dry yeast and bread improver which makes bread-making easier and is recommended for bread-making.

The minister however disclosed that the problem would soon be solved as a U.S.-based Nigerian had agreed to commence the production of the ingredient in the country.

“There are issues with cassava bread which we are trying to resolve now.

“There is something called sure-bake yeast which they say we must add to cassava, otherwise, the bread won’t rise and that has been an issue with the bakers.

“The Nigerian in the U.S. said he would come and produce it here. We have heard that there is a glut of cassava and that is why the farmers are not harvesting now,’’ he said.

The minister noted that government was ready to support the private sector for the production of industrial starch and syrups from cassava.

“We are also moving into high grade industrial starch and syrups, but again, to build those factories, you use stainless steel equipment and they cost money.

“We are talking of five to 10 million dollars to set up such a factory. Nobody can borrow that from a bank in Nigeria and survive.

“That is why we are looking for funds and the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) is helping to find funds to give people who want to invest in the processing,’’ he said.

The Federal Government under former President Goodluck Jonathan, in 2014, launched the first commercial 10 per cent composite cassava flour in bread.

Dr Akinwumi Adesina, former Minister of Agriculture, said at the launch that government’s goal was to ensure Nigeria became the largest cassava processor as it had been the largest producer of the commodity in the world.


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Export Prohibition Act hampers aggressive yam export to Europe, U.S. — Yam Committee



The Technical Committee on Nigeria Yam Export Programme, says the Export Prohibition Act of 1989 is currently hampering aggressive drive of yam export to the United Kingdom and U.S.

Prof. Simon Irtwange, the Chairman of the committee said in an interview with newsmen in Abuja on Tuesday, that the Act also prohibited the export of yam derivatives out of the country.

Irtwange, also the President, National Association of Yam Farmers, Processors and Marketers, said the committee in partnership with other yam stakeholders had met with relevant stakeholders to ensure that the Act was repealed.

“Yam export is still on-going under the government policy on the diversification of the economy but in the regulatory framework, we are having issues.

“The Export Prohibition Act of 1989 is the issue but we have made a lot of efforts trying to advocate to relevant government agencies, ministries and the National Assembly that if we really want to diversify this economy, that law has to go.

“As long as that law is there, there are many people who want to come into the business who are scared.

“Export of yams have not been suspended because people still carry food products to America hiding under the guise of taking food items to their relatives there but we are not as aggressive as we wanted to be.

“The earlier we put the Act out of the way, the better for us,’’ he said.

The president said that the National Agricultural Seeds Council (NASC) bill would address issues of regulatory and legal framework for the operations of seed companies, adding that yam farmers have had issues of the propagation of the produce.

The Act which took effect from Feb. 1989, stipulates that any person, who takes, causes to be taken, induces any other person to take, or attempts to take out of Nigeria any of the goods specified, shall be guilty of an offence and liable on conviction to imprisonment for life.

The produce which is absolutely prohibited by the Act include beans, cassava tuber, maize, rice, yam tuber, all products or derivatives of items from number one to five, all imported food items.



















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NGO says insecurity hampers open defecation-free target in Benue LGA





By Tosin Kolade
Abuja, Jan. 17, 2019 (NNN) An NGO, United Purpose has attributed the insecurity and crisis in Benue to the delay in attaining Open Defecation Free (ODF) target in Logo Local Government Area of the State.


Mr Nanpet Chuktu, the Programme Manager of the organisation told the News Agency of Nigeria (NNN) on Thursday in Abuja.


Chuktu said that the situation also affected communities which had hitherto been free from open defecation practice as they had now slipped back to the practice.


He said that having access to the area was difficult due to security concerns, which prevented the organisation and the  implementing groups from helping the communities.


“As a result, communities in Logo LGA, Benue, which have been verified Open Defecation Free or were close to it, started experiencing slippage because pressure on sanitation facilities in host communities and in temporary shelters where facilities were often inadequate.


“As a consequence of the outbreak of armed conflict between herdsmen and farmers in Logo, achieving ODF status has not been successful.


“The conflict resulted in a humanitarian crisis with half the population displaced and dispersed in temporary camps and shelters.”


Chuktu said this trend led the group to facilitate a key stakeholders and chiefs meeting on the Rural Sanitation and Hygiene Promotion in Nigeria (RUSHPIN) programme.


He said that the programme was to consolidate and sustain efforts of the local council toward ending open defecation practice and overall hygiene promotion.


He said that the response also included the establishment of Water Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) committees to conduct sanitation and hygiene education in the six internally displaced persons camps in Logo with the support of the WASH units.


He expressed hope that Logo was at the verge of making history and becoming the first local government in Benue where the practice of open defecation would end and the people would be  enjoying the benefits of healthy living.


NNN reports that when the Federal Government signed the Memorandum of Understanding with GSF in 2014, the aim was for the global body to provide five million dollars for the project implementation.


Benue and Cross River states were expected to commit 2.2 million dollars each toward the project, while incorporating addition three local government areas into its coverage.


Benue government has however paid N50 million as part of its counterpart funds, leaving Cross River, which has not paid anything.


According to the Global Open Defecation Index, Nigeria ranks fifth in the world practicing open defecation, while 868,000 children die or experience stunted growth annually as a result of open defecation. (NNN)

Edited by Grace Yussuf


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Christmas: Dealers lament low Hampers patronage in Enugu




Maureen Ojinaka

Enugu, Dec. 19 , 2018 Ahead of 2018 Christmas and New Year celebrations, Hampers have flooded markets and shopping centres in Enugu but dealers complain of low patronage.

The Nigeria News Agency reports that hampers are usually presented as gifts by individuals, groups and corporate organisations during celebrations to clients, friends and relations.

A Correspondent of NAN, who visited markets and shopping malls in Enugu metropolis on Tuesday, reports that many hampers in decorated raffia baskets, plastic bowls and wooden boxes had yet to be sold.

The markets visited include Garki, Ogbete main markets and shopping malls.

The prices of the hampers depended on their sizes, contents and descriptions. They range from N10,000 to N50,000.

Dealers, who spoke to NAN, expressed disappointment over low patronage which, they attributed to the poor economic situation in the country.

Mrs Felix Ikeazor, a shop owner at Ogbete Main Market, said that the economic situation had greatly reduced the purchasing power of customers for hampers during this Yuletide.

He added that he regretted investing his money in the business.

“I have not been able to sell 10 of the 45 hampers I bought since November, it is disappointing.

“Many of my counterparts did not invest in hampers this year; I wish I did not,’’ he said.

Mrs Lauretta Uba, who sells hampers at Mayor Shopping Mall, said that she had yet to make any brisk business this festive season.

She also attributed the low patronage to hardship.

Mr Jude Eboh, a banker, told NAN that his family had received only two hampers this year compared to 2017.

“Usually, by now, we would have got up to seven hampers. I am shocked that we have received only two.

“It has to do with the fact that many companies are trying to reduce expenses amid low profit,’’ she said.

However, a Pharmacist, Mrs Oluchi Nwaigbo, attributed the low purchase of hampers to the attitude of some dealers, who package expired items into the basket which discourages buyers.

“It is annoying that when you open some hampers, most of the items are almost expired. There is no value for the money paid.

“Because of these unwholesome practices, many people buy the items needed in bulk and prepare the hampers themselves,” she said.

(Edited by: Chioma Ugboma/Peter Ejiofor)

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