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Organisations to create data on paddy rice produced in Niger



The Nigeria Paddy Aggregation Centres Strengthening (NPACS) project, has said it was collaborating with the Value Chain Development Programme (VCDP), to create data on the quantity of paddy rice produced in Niger.

‘‘At the end of this exercise we hope to generate data to determine the amount of paddy rice produced annually in Niger state,’’ he said.

Oroh said that the measure would support the development of paddy aggregation centres by various stakeholders in the state.

‘‘We have the responsibility to guide our farmers in the development of paddy aggregation centres,’’ he said.

He said that the objectives of the NPACS include increasing the management and operational capacity of Paddy Aggregation Centres (PACs) in the country.

The Project Director said that NPACS would increase farmers’ access to inputs and outputs, as well as markets through PACs.

He expressed hope that the programme would increase farmers’ income and livelihood opportunities through engagement with PACs.

Similarly, Dr Matthew Ahmed, VCDP Coordinator in the state, said that if the programme was well nurtured the state would be the largest producer of paddy rice in the country.

Ahmed called for supply of tractors, threshers, winowers, drying slabs, potable water, perimeter fence and other facilities to make the paddy aggregation centres functional.

He also advocated for the commercialisation of the centres, to sustain them.

Also, Malam Mohammed Kontagora, Chief Executive Officer, Shea Agro, Nigeria Limited, an investor, said that the measure would bring about standardised paddy rice in the market.

News Agency of Nigeria reports that the one day meeting was collaboration among officials of VCDP, NPACS and Niger Government for the stakeholders.

The stakeholders agreed that the meeting being the first would subsequently be held quarterly.




General news

Expert tasks organisations on shared value initiative to reduce poverty



A Professor of Strategic Management, Chris Ogbechie, on Tuesday urged business organisations to adopt the concept of shared value to empower local communities, reduce poverty and ensure long-term business successes.

Ogbechie of Strategic Management, Lagos Business School (LBS), made the call at an online training programme for journalists tagged: “Advancing Nutrition, Health and Wellness through the Media”.

It was organised by the Nestlé Nigeria Plc in collaboration with the Lagos Business School.

He described shared value concept as policies and operating practices that enhance the competitiveness of a company while simultaneously advancing the economic and social conditions in its host community.

According to him, today, the world is faced with numerous social problems, global pandemic such as outbreak of diseases, pollution, malnutrition and the problem of climate change.

“Business organisations can be solutions to these problems, because a company thrives better if the society that host it thrives better.

“Business organisation cannot be making progress or profit while its host community or society is not progressing.

“Business organisation profits from solving social problems in the society it operates.

“Government alone cannot solve the problems in our society, but private businesses or companies can assist to solve social and economic problems, reduce poverty and achieve sustainable development goals.

“For instance, if each beverage company in Nigeria can invest in the productivity of local farmers, especially in the rural areas where they are economically deprived with many social problems.

“Empowers these farmers with skills to cultivate right species of maize, sorghum, millet or cocoa. When they harvest, these companies will buy from them and shun importing their raw materials.

“By doing so, the local farmers are producing quality raw materials for the company; they are making money and their poverty is alleviated.

“The company is also using the raw materials to produce products to meet the needs of customers.

“So, it is a win-win cycle that can guarantee sustainability, profit and long-term business success,” Ogbechie said.

He said that the the concept of shared value was not just about producing products, but about purpose to drive a strong economy with healthy populace, vibrant workforce and profitable businesses.

“The more companies help farmers to make money in the rural communities, urban migration will reduce, poverty will reduce and the standard of living will improve.

“If companies can adopt this concept within their catchment areas, the better for our nation.

“Sustainability is an ensuring long term business success while contributing toward economic and social development and a healthy environment,” he said.

Edited By: Olagoke Olatoye (NAN)

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Coalition of conservation organisations launches online petition against vulture killings



A coalition of international conservation organisations has launched an online petition dubbed #StopTheKillings, calling for action to address the unprecedented mass killings of vultures in Guinea-Bissau through poisoning.

Mr Oladapo Soneye, the Head Communications, Nigerian Conservation Foundation (NCF) made the call in a statement in Abuja on Thursday.

Members of the coalition of #StopTheKillings petition  are BirdLife International, Vulture Conservation Foundation, IUCN Vulture Specialist Group, Royal Society for the Protection of Birds, Peregrine Fund and Organisation for the Defence and Development of Wetlands in Guinea-Bissau (ODZH).

Soneye said that the killings, the largest incident of mass vulture deaths in the world was a big blow to conservation efforts to save Africa’s vultures.

“More than 2,000 critically endangered hooded vultures are reported to have died following deliberate poisoning with an agricultural pesticide, which is highly toxic for vultures.

“Vultures play a vital role in our environment keeping it free of decaying carcasses, yet these majestic birds have experienced catastrophic declines around the world with populations of all African vulture species plummeting by 70 to 97 per cent over the last 50 years.

In the Guinea-Bissau case, initial investigations indicate that this mass killing of vultures is being driven by belief-based use.

“It is erroneously believed that vulture heads and other body parts have special powers and can bring
good luck to users.”

He said that widespread killing of vultures in Guinea-Bissau through poisoning, the leading cause of vulture mortality in Africa, threatened to wipe out stronghold populations of these critically endangered birds.

Soneye said that the coalition of conservation organisations was calling on the Guinea-Bissau government, the Economic Community of West African States, the African Union and the global community to take urgent action to halt these mass killings.

“These killings can be halted by bringing to account those responsible for these atrocities, and enforcing measures to safeguard vultures.

“The large scale poisoning of vultures in Guinea-Bissau represents a major blow to vulture conservation efforts in the West African region and in Africa at large. ”

He said the petition also called on the global community to support interventions aimed at halting the persecution of vultures in Guinea-Bissau and across Africa.

Soneye quoted Mr Francisco Wambar, the Executive Director, ODZH as saying “we are urging the Guinea-Bissau government to address these mass killings urgently to safeguard Guinea-Bissau’s vulture populations.”

Prof. Carlos Lopes, retired UN Under-Secretary General was quoted as also saying: “As a long-time amateur ornithologist, I have come to admire birds’ life cycles and conservation needs.’’

“The mass deaths of vultures in my country highlights the dire vulnerability of Africa’s vultures and the need to urgently save these rapidly disappearing birds, while involving local communities in these interventions.”

Rebecca Garbett, Vulture Conservation Manager at BirdLife International, was quoted as saying: “Poisoning of vultures in Guinea-Bissau is being driven by demand for vulture body parts used for superstitious purposes such as ritual charms.’’

“Changing this trajectory will require concerted efforts from all stakeholders, most importantly local and national authorities and civil society organisations.

“Halting the killings and urgently putting in place measures to protect vultures should be a priority.”

Soneye said the NCF, which is the BirdLife partner in Nigeria was lending its support to the petition launched on Wednesday in furtherance of its “save vulture” campaign project, which started in 2017.

He said the awareness campaign had been done in major cities such as Lagos and Abuja and taken to the vulture hotspots states such as Kano, Sokoto, Taraba, Ogun, Osun, Ondo, Enugu, Yobe and Oyo.

Soneye said the vulture conservation campaign “is ongoing in Nigeria’’.

Edited By: Grace Yussuf (NAN)

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COVID-19: NGO urges organisations, rich individuals to complement palliatives efforts of govts



An Abuja based Non-Governmental Organisation (NGO), on Tuesday called on corporate organisations and rich individuals to complement the efforts of governments in distribution of palliatives to vulnerable persons.

Chief Ugochukwu Nnam, the National Coordinator of the NGO, Initiative for Leadership Development and Change (ILDC), made this call in an interview with News Agency of Nigeria in Abuja.

Nnam who commended the federal government for rising up to the occasion, said the task of providing foods on the tables of the poor at the moment was not a sole responsibility of government.

He said that the pandemic would only be won with collective efforts of NGOs, corporate organisations and philanthropists among others, in addressing the food insecurity created by the lockdown.

“Let all of us play our part by providing foods to the poorest of the poor in order for them to continue to stay safe at home.

“I know that nobody wants to die. So with foods on their tables, they will not risk coming out. Let us help to give them food and hope,” he said.

Nnam said there was  need for Nigerians to support the federal government’s policies aimed at defeating the pandemic.

According to him, to combat COVID-19 now there is need to comply with safety rules as social distancing, staying at home, wearing masks, regular washing of hands and use of hand sanitisers.

He said the best way to promote these was by tackling food insecurity.

Nnam said ILDC would continue to support the government  in cushioning COVID-19 effects adding that its focus was on providing foods to the poor and vulnerable persons in hinterlands.

He said that it was not time for criticisms, but to demonstrate patriotism, love and show of brotherliness to the advantage of Nigeria.

Edited By: Chidinma Agu/Donald Ugwu (NAN)

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COVID-19: NSCDC tasks corporate organisations on social responsibility



Mr Everestus Obiyo, Commandant, Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC), Enugu State Command, has urged corporate organisations to live up to their social responsibility in this trying period of COVID-19.

The Command’s Public Relations Officer, Danny Iwuchukwu, made this known in a statement issued in Enugu on Sunday and made available to the News Agency of Nigeria .

Iwuchukwu noted that the commandant made the call on Friday after inspecting the state government’s donation `No Hand Contact Wash Hand and Sanitising Kits’ at main entry points of the New Market, Enugu, close to NSCDC Command.

NAN reports that the – No Hand Contact Wash Hand and Sanitising Kits – are the first of its kind in the state.

It has foot operation levers, that when matched upon will bring out water or alcoholic-based sanitiser, depending on the one that is matched upon.

According to him, the commandant called on corporate organisations to make good the social responsibility theory to bring to an end the spread of the pandemic in the state and the country in general.

The NSCDC spokesman said that the commandant also extolled the state government for its commitment toward ensuring that the state is free from the menace of COVID-19.

He added that the commandant expressed joy over the efforts of Gov. Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi so far in curbing the spread of the deadly disease in the state.

Iwuchukwu said that the commandant, however, promised to deploy some personnel from the Disaster Management Department of the Command to assist in managing the facilities to avoid early damage.

Edited By: Edwin Nwachukwu/Adeleye Ajayi (NAN)



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CLO tasks faith-based organisations on provision of palliatives to indigents



The Civil Liberties Organisation (CLO)  has urged Churches and other faith-based organisations to provide palliatives to poor and vulnerable Nigerians, whose livelihood had been adversely affected by the COVID-19 lockdown.

The Chairman of CLO, Anambra, Mr Vincent Ezekwueme, gave the task while speaking with the News Agency of Nigeria in Enugu on Sunday.

Ezekwueme spoke on the sidelines of His Grace, Archbishop Valerian Okeke, Catholic Archbishop of Onitsha, palliatives to all parishioners in his archdiocese to cushion socio-economic effects of  the lockdown over the Coronavirus pandemic.

“I passionately appeal to other church leaders, faith-based organisations and public spirited individuals to provide adequate palliative measures to the downtrodden, poor and vulnerable.

“Also, the faith-based organisations should continue to remind their faithful on the need to obey government and experts’ directives to contain spread of COVID-19,’’ he said.

On Archbishop Okeke, the CLO boss said that the humanitarian gesture of the archbishop “is a clear indication that he has natural inclination for charity, kindness, compassion and empathy”.

He noted that it was no longer news that the archbishop in his magnanimity and love for humanity and poor, celebrated his birthday, Easter and Christmas with prisoners yearly.

“Archbishop Okeke often pays hospital bills for the indigent especially indigent women who gave birth through cesarean operation.

“The purpose of life is to serve, show love, empathy, compassion and help others,’’ he added.

Edited By: Chioma Ugboma/Muhammad Suleiman Tola (NAN)

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COVID-19: Archbishop Kaigama urges religious bodies, organisations to donate health facilities



Most Rev. Ignatius Kaigama, Archbishop, Abuja Catholic Archdiocese has urged religious groups and corporate organisations to donate health  facilities in support of the fight against COVID-19.

Kaigama made the call in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria in Abuja on Tuesday.

NAN reports that as at Monday, the number of COVID-19 cases in the country had increased to 2,802 with 93 deaths.

He said the Catholic Bishops Conference of Nigeria offered about 435 hospitals and clinics to the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 as its contribution towards combating the pandemic.

“We made an offer, I do not have any evidence showing that the offer we made has been accepted,” he said.

Kaigama said Nigerians have shown strong resilience in the face of the COVID-19 outbreak, saying, “ we have shown concern, unity of purpose and commitment to fight the disease”

He described the COVID-19 as a strange disease which required collective discipline and commitment to tackle.

The clergy urged Nigerians to adhere to measures established by regulatory authorities to tackle the spread of the virus.

“The disease is everywhere, let us stay at home, avoid unnecessary traveling, ensure good hygiene and stay safe,” he said.

Edited By: Azubuike Okeh/Sadiya Hamza (NAN)

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General news

COVID-19: Organisations distribute handwashing items to public places in Bauchi



Child is Gold’, a Non Governmental Organisation (NGO), in Partnership with Ikra Foundation for Women and Youths Development (IFWYD) on Monday distributed handwashing  items to public places in Bauchi to curb the spread of the novel  coronavirus (COVID-19) in the state.

The News Agency of Nigeria reports that the items were donated to the Police Command, Primary Healthcare Centres, Correctional Centres, Bauchi State High Court, markets  and some communities.

The items include water tanks, bowls and detergents as well as food items such as Rice, Beans and seasoning.

Miss Elizabeth James, Founder of ‘Chikd is Gold’, while presenting the items on behalf of the organisations said they were to be used as preventive measures against spread of COVID-19 in the  state.

She said the organisations also distributed food items to indigent persons in some selected communities in the  state.

According to her, the exercise was part of the organisations’ contribution to the global fight against the spread of the virus.

She called on community members to adhere to the social distancing guidelines, avoid hand shaking among other directives by the  Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) and the World Health Organisation(WHO).

“Handwashing is key in the guidelines provided by the WHO and other  health experts.

“The items were provided in public places to ensure handwashing practices were adhered to.

“The food items also will serve as palliative to cushion the effort of the hardship the vulnerable households in our communities are going through”, she said.

Mr Philip Maku, Commissioner of Police in Bauchi, commended the organisations for the role toward curtailing the spread of COVID-19 in the state.

Similarly, Mr Saad Sambuwal, Chief Registrar, Bauchi High court, described the gesture as a giant stride toward the fight against the Coronavirus.

Also, Mr Suleiman Shanunu, officer in charge of the Correctional Centre in Bauchi, lauded the effort of the NGOs for extending the gesture to inmates in the state.

Edited By: Gregg Mmaduakolam/ Isaac Ukpoju (NAN)



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General news

COVID-19: Ogun govt. appeals to banks, other organisations to decontaminate premises



The Ogun Government has appealed to corporate organisations such as banks, industries, large and small scale enterprises to decontaminate their premises ahead of resumption of some business activities.

Mr Abiodun Abudu-Balogun, the Commissioner for Environment, made the appeal in a statement issued in Abeokuta on Sunday.

The commissioner said that the measure was desirable because of large volume of customers and visitors that thronged their premises for transactions.

Abudu-Balogun explained that it was also to complement the state government’s efforts at flattening the curve of the pandemic in the state.

He commended the corporate organisations for their support for the Gov. Dapo Abiodun-led government and their host communities through donation of medical interventions and palliatives.

He noted that it was important for them to complete the cyle of war against COVID-19 by decontaminating their premises to help stop the spread of the virus.

The commissioner urged the organisations to enforce government directives on the pandemic at their premises through wearing of face masks by their workers, visitors, keep social distancing and provision of hand washing materials and sanitisers.

He appealed to organisations to feel free to contact the Ministry of Environment for assistance in decontaminating their premises and general environment if need be, so that the coronavirus scourge could be defeated in the state.

Edited By: Adeleye Ajayi (NAN)



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Coronavirus: LASG receives donations from 201 individuals, organisations



The Lagos State Government says it has received donations from a total of 201 individuals and corporate organisations toward containing the spread and effect of coronavirus disease.

The state governor, Mr Babajide Sanwo-Olu made this known in a statement signed by his Chief Press Secretary, Mr Gboyega Akosile on Friday.

Sanwo-Olu said that there was need to make this known in line with his administration’s commitment to transparency and accountability in governance.

He said that the names of individuals and corporate organisations that donated to the state government towards the fight against the novel coronavirus pandemic had been released.

According to him, the donations are in cash and materials such as; hospital items, Personal Protection Equipment (PPE), ambulances, respirators, isolation facilities and food items to support the vulnerable and the needy during the period of lockdown.

Recall that the governor had said while giving update on COVID-19 that the government would release the names of all the donors, so that Lagosians would know who they are and what they have done to support fight against the virus.

He also said that it would not be out of place for government to name the public spirited individuals and corporate bodies for recognition and appreciation for their show of love and magnanimity.

”Let me specially thank everyone who has donated to the Lagos State COVID-19 response, by way of cash, medical equipment and other essential materials.

”Your generosity is greatly appreciated. From Friday, May 1, the Lagos State Government will be acknowledging all of you, our worthy partners, in newspaper advertisements that will outline all that we have received, in the spirit of full transparency and accountability.

”There are a total of two hundred and one donors as advertised in the newspapers,” he said.

Edited By: Oluwole Sogunle (NAN)



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