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Agriculture

Lagos first rain: Farmers caution against early planting

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Lagos first rain: Farmers caution against early planting

Lagos recorded the first rainfall on Monday but some local farmers in the state urged their members to delay planting.


Some farmers and motorists gave their opinion on the early rain in separate interviews with the Nigeria News Agency .

They noted that the first rain was not enough to start planting crops.

NAN reports that first rain of the year was witnessed in Ikeja, Igando/Isheri and Iyana-Ipaja axis of the state.

Mr Chukwuemeka Chuba, a vegetable farmer, said it was a good sign that the rain came early this year but warned farmers against early commencement of planting to prevent loss of crops.

“The first rain this year is a good sign for local crop farmers. It means it is time for crop farmers to start clearing their farms and prepare.

“However, the first rain does not mean they should commence planting immediately.

“They should prepare the ground and start planning ahead for the rainy season.

“Going by last year when the first rains came, a lot of farmers went ahead to start planting and it did not rain again for so long and many people lost their crops.

“Farmers need to be wary of commencing planting simply because of the first rain,’’ Chuba explained.

According to him, we need to watch the way the trend goes and farmers should also be observant of climate change effects.

On his part, Mr Michael Aleagbu, a crop farmer, asked local farmers to be patient and observe the trend of the rain before starting the planting season.

“It is really great to experience the first rain of the year so early.

“I do not want farmers to be so excited about it and begin farming immediately.

“We should be observant and patient to see if the rain will continue in good succession before beginning planting.

“This is the first rain as crop farmers; we are still studying it but the early rain simply means we should expect more rain this year.

“It is going to be a good year for crop farmers; we should also expect better yields but we are still studying the rain,’’ Aleagbu said.

Mr Solomon Eromosele, a Commercial Motorist plying the Igando/Isheri to Iyana-Ipaja route, said the rain was most welcome and a good start for the year.

“It is a good thing that we witnessed the first rain of the year in Lagos State this afternoon.

“We really welcome the rain; it is a good start for the year.

“The rain today has made the weather quite suitable for us motorists plying the Igando/Isheri to Iyana-Ipaja route.

“Right now I am driving without sweating; the weather is no longer hot.

“I do not think the rain will cause gridlock or traffic on this route because now the government has ensured that the road on this axis is quite free of potholes.

“We are glad that it rained,’’ Eromosele said.

Edited by: Abdulfatah Babatunde/Adeleye Ajayi

 

Omoike Mercy: 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

Oil & Gas

PPMC fixes ex-depot price of PMS at N138.62 per litre

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The downstream subsidiary of Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), Petroleum Products Marketing Company (PPMC), has fixed the ex-depot price of premium motor spirit (PMS), known as petrol at N138.62 per litre.


PPMC disclosed this in a memo signed by its Manager, Sales, Mohammed Bello, in Abuja, on Tuesday.

The ex-depot price is the price at which depot owners sell the commodity to retail outlets.

It said that that the new price would come into effect from Aug. 5.

The PPMC also put the ex-coastal price of the commodity, which is the price at which the product is sold to depot owners, at N113.70 per litre.

The ex-depot price for automotive gasoline oil (AGO), also known as diesel, was fixed at N160 per litre and N165 per litre, for depots in Lagos and Oghara respectively.

It further fixed the ex-depot price for kerosene at N160 per litre.

The News Agency of Nigeria reports that the Petroleum Products Pricing for Regulatory Agency (PPPRA) was yet to release the monthly pricing modulation for petroleum products for August.

The pricing modulation determines the pump price that the products will be sold to motorists. 

Edited By: Chidinma Agu/Abdulfatah Babatunde (NAN)

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Metro

Safety Compliance: LASWA impounds engines of 6 erring ferry operators

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The Lagos State Waterways Authority (LASWA) on Tuesday said that it had impounded engines of six passengers’ boat operators in its renewed efforts to sanitise waterways to prevent boat mishaps.


Its General Manager, Mr Oluwadamilola Emmanuel, disclosed this in a statement in Lagos by Mrs Nkechi Ajayi, the Public Affairs Officer of LASWA.

The News Agency of Nigeria reports that there have been reports of accidents on waterways in Lagos in recent times, the latest being July 29, which claimed more than 10 lives.

Emmanuel expressed LASWA’s commitment to continually ensure the safety of ferry passengers in the state.

According to him, the arrest of erring boat operators is part of the authority’s efforts in the ongoing enforcement and monitoring exercise across the inland waterways.

“The patrol team of Lagos State Waterways Authority (LASWA) earlier today seized a total number of six boat engines belonging to commercial ferry operators that were caught flouting safety regulations on the waterways.

“Their offences include: not wearing life jackets, overloading, reckless driving, among other offences which could have resulted in preventable fatalities when accidents occur,” the LASWA boss said.

According to him, areas covered during today’s safety compliance operations were Mile 2, Kirirkiri, Abule Osun Jetty, Alex Jetty, Liverpool, Ebute-Ojo all in the Ojo axis of Lagos.

Emmanuel reassured that the authority would no longer condone any action that would be against the safety standards of the state inland waterways.

“Any erring operator will be sanctioned appropriately,” the general manager said.

According to him, the authority will work harder on boat captains and deckhands while continuing sensitisation, awareness and enlightenment to foster safety on waterways.

Edited By: Adeleye Ajayi (NAN) 

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Education

Resumption: Unity schools’ Principals in Lagos assure parents, guardians of students’ safety

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The Principals of King’s College, Lagos, Mr Andrew Agada, and Queen’s College, Lagos, Dr Tokunbo Yakubu-Oyinloye, have assured parents and guardians of safety of their children and wards as they resumed.


Agada and Yakubu-Oyinloye gave the assurance in separate interviews with the News Agency of Nigeria on Tuesday in Lagos, on the resumption of schools by the exiting students of the 104 Unity Colleges across the country.

The students were resuming to write their examinations after a long break due to the lockdown and closure of schools following the outbreak of Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic in the country.

NAN also reports that the schools had been shut following the directive from the Federal Ministry of Education since March, as a result of the ravaging pandemic.

The Federal Government after due consultations with other key stakeholders, agreed to reopen the schools only for the existing classes of the Senior Secondary School 3 and the Junior Secondary School 3.

This is to allow the SSS 3 students to participate in the 2020 West African Senior School Certificate Examination (WASSCE).

Agada said: “First and foremost, I want to thank God for sparing our lives, the children, our parents and all other stakeholders. We have also been looking forward to receiving them.

”I also want to seize this opportunity to thank the Federal Ministry of Education for the assistance rendered so far in order to make this resumption possible.

”Yesterday, the entire college was decontaminated, ranging from the classrooms, hostels the laboratories, everywhere, by the Federal Ministry of the Environment.

”We want to assure our parents that there is no need to panic, as our lives are in God’s hands but we will do our best and God will continue to protect us.”

According to him, the college has set up a committee called the “COVID-19 Guidelines Enforcement Committee”.

He said that the committee was made up of dedicated teachers that would be going round during the classes, the dinning halls and hostels to ensure that the students maintain the safety protocols.

Agada added that already,  messages had also been sent to the parents and guardians to also advice their children and wards against any form of gatherings or contact activities such as playing of football or games that would bring them together.

“They have come, let them concentrate on their examination as there is barely no time left, and so, we have put a committee in place whose responsibility is also to monitor the students.

”By tomorrow, full lecture will commence. We are fully prepared. The timetable is out and the teachers are very ready more than ever before to hit the ground running,” he said.

On the part of the management, the principal said that they have also put certain things in place.

“First, since it is only the SS3 students that are coming back, we have prepared hostels and spread them to all the hostels that hitherto, accommodated SS1, 2, 3 in the college.

”So, currently, we are not having more than 12 students in a room.

“Secondly, on the issue of classrooms, we have 30 of it at our main campus here, for the senior school.

“The SS3 students are coming in soon and these ones will be occupying 19 classrooms at the JSS section of the college, as against the 10 they used to occupy before now.

”All these are means of ensuring strict adherence to social distancing and also we have sanitisers, even customised ones, that is the pedal one.

“And graciously, where we procured some of these equipment from, the company is also coming in to assist us by giving us automated dispensers, like you see at the airports and other places,” Agada said.

He added that the college would also be mounting about 15 of such at the main campus and another 15 at the annex for the Junior Secondary School.

”We have also worked on our water, as we recently dug another borehole to expand our water reticulation system.

“The hostels too, we  have worked on the hostels,  the bunks, the broken down ones have been repaired, the classroom desks, we have also refurbished them.

”So, as the students are coming, we are sure that there is enough desks, bunks, space and water and all other necessary facilities that would ensure their safety and comfort.

“They have come, let them concentrate on their examination as there is barely no time left  and so we have put a committee in place whose responsibility is also to monitor the students.

“Again, another measure we adopted to reduce the crowd is to allow the borders in two houses, to be checked in first. We have four houses. By tomorrow borders in the other two remaining houses will be checked in,” he said.

The principal added that for now, only the borders were being checked in.

He said parents of some day students were also applying to be accommodated as boarding students.

The principal cited difficulty of accessing the roads to the college, following the closure of the 3rd Mainland bridge as a huge challenge.

”We have considered them, because we have the space.

”Our advice, therefore, to our parents is to remain hopeful and assuring that God who has kept us all these while, is still fully in control, and we must look unto Him and have faith in Him.

”It is our prayer too that our students will all finish their examination successfully in good state of health and will all return home to their parents safely,” he prayed.

Also, at the Queen’s College, Lagos, its Principal, Dr Tokumbo Yakubu-Oyinloye, took NAN Correspondent round the college premises.

Yakubu-Oyinloye said: “We have put all the guidelines and protocols in place to ensure that our students are safe when they resume and all through the period of their stay here.

“You can see the sitting arrangements in our classes. We do not have more than 20 students per class with their seats placed two metres apart from each other.

“Names of students per class have been pasted by the entrance of each of the respective classes.

”We have also fixed automated hand sanitisers in all the classes, including the foot pedal sanitiser at the gate.”

According to her, instead of using the 12 classes that were designated before now for SS3 students, 34 more classrooms, including those for the SS1 and SS2  have now been converted for tluse of SS3 students to ensure social distancing.

Yakubu-Oyinloye added that the same measures also applied to the hostels.

The principal said that the school management, in collaboration with the PTA had fumigated the hostels and all other sections of the college.

She said that already, the Federal Ministry of Education, also in collaboration with the Federal Ministry of the Environment, had decontaminated and disinfected the entire college.

”We have also serviced our water treatment plant as well as wash our tanks. In addition to keeping social distancing, we will also be staggering our break periods as well as our meal time.

”We have also designated a building as an isolation centre in the college, should there be any case of high temperature, before contacting the appropriate authorities.

“On the part of the teachers, they have been fully sensitised and equipped.

“In fact, teachers who will have no business on campus are not allowed to come around. They can do their jobs at home.

“In the same vein, all returning SS3 students must also come with at least five masks and must wear their masks before they can be checked in.

“They must also ensure that they come with their personal effects including cutleries as sharing is not allowed,” Yakubu-Oyinloye said.

The principal commended a set of the Old Girls of the college for donating 68 white boards for each of the classrooms in the college, adding that already another set of the old girls are set to donate four interactive boards to facilitate teaching and learning.

She pleaded with parents to impress it on their children and wards to ensure that they always adhere strictly to the safety guidelines.

NAN reports that the resumption of the JSS 3 students of the Unity Colleges in the state had been moved to Aug. 10.

Edited By: Tayo Ikujuni/Olagoke Olatoye (NAN)

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COVID-19

LASG holds consultative forum for Y2021 Budget, adopts holistic approach to COVID-19

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The Lagos State Government says it is engaging a holistic approach to restarting the state’s economy and re-imagining its operations toward surviving the COVID-19 pandemic in its year 2021 budget.


Mr Samuel Egube, the State Commissioner for Economic Planning and Budget, made this known at the 2021 Budget Consultative Forum on Tuesday in Lagos.

Egube said that in order to minimise the effect of the pandemic, the state government had implemented interventions along the line of aggressive healthcare responses, business support, sustainability measures and relief to the poor.

“The state government has increased commitment to Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises MSMEs to help them during and post COVID-19.

“We intend to adopt consolidation and tactical redirection to areas that would help employment, food production and security, particularly to overcome the effects of COVID-19.

“We are going to flag off our internship programme by the Ministry of Wealth.

“The idea is to get people to work, and the state government will pay them, while working for SMEs to gather experience and tackle unemployment,” the commissioner said.

He said that for half of the year 2020, the state recorded a budget performance of 57 per cent (N334. 838bn), which was in absolute terms higher than the 73 per cent (N316.676bn) for the same period of 2019.

“The COVID-19 pandemic with its resultant health and economic impacts greatly affected the state, like other geographies around the world and changed the context within which we execute development agenda.

“Within this very difficult context, LASG was able to achieve greater revenues, while managing expenditure with revenue stronger by six per cent against the approved budget.

“In view of the dwindling revenue of the State’s Internally Generated Revenue (IGR) due to the pandemic, LASG is committed to growing the state’s IGR to sustain its developmental projects.

“We will continue to minimise wastage through tighter expenditure controls and promote prudent spending.

“Plans to invest in comparative advantage areas such as aquaculture for quick wins was underway,” he said.

For the Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs), the commissioner said that the state was providing wage subsidies based on maintaining payroll and enhancing the access of SMEs to short term funding through the State Empowerment Trust Fund.

He added that the state also focussed on agriculture as plans to finish the Rice Mill at Imota and undertake a Public-Private Partnership (PPP) concession afterwards was underway.

“Rice Mill at Imota is expected to employ 300, 000 people and is at 75 per cent completion.

“It is expected to produce 120, 000 Metric Tonnes annually, and increase local rice production by 75 per cent.

“Efforts are also ongoing to train rice farmers on the right variety of rice to produce to feed the mill,” he said.

The commissioner said that continued efforts to digitise the state were ongoing.

On the economic outlook for year 2020, he said that forecasts suggest 2020 GDP growth would be severely impacted followed by a sharp rebound of 3.5 per cent.

Earlier, Mr Adebayo Sodade, Special Adviser on Economic Planning and Budget, said the forum was an avenue to update the stakeholders on the half year performance of the budget.

Sodade said it also brought to general knowledge the resources available for the next budget, taking into cognisance all economic variables and externalities such as crude oil prices, inflation, interest rates and the effect of COVID-19 on the economy.

“Rubbing minds with you also provides us an ample opportunity to share ideas geared toward the greater Lagos project, while ensuring that your desired interests are adequately captured in the development agenda,” he said.

Sodade urged citizens to fulfil their civic responsibilities through regular payment of taxes, monitoring of government projects and reporting observed lapses.

He also called for the protection of public facilities and infrastructure, obedience to traffic and safety rules and regulations, ensuring environmental friendliness and security consciousness for a greater Lagos.

The special adviser said government had planned to improve revenue and overall service delivery by widening the tax base to meet citizens’ expectations.

Edited By: Bola Akingbehin/Olagoke Olatoye (NAN)

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