We followed due process in leasing VI property, Ecobank tells court
By Moji Eniola
Ikeja, Feb. 15, 2019 (NNN) Ecobank Plc on Friday told an Ikeja Special Offences Court it followed due process in leasing the property located in Victoria Island, Lagos, which is a subject of an ongoing N500 million estate fraud dispute.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NNN) reports that Ecobank represented by Mr Adeolu Dawodu, a staff of the bank, made the disclosure at the ongoing criminal trial of Semasa James, a prince of Kweme Land in Badagry.
Semasa is accused by the Police Special Fraud Unit (SFU) of defrauding the estate of his late father, Oba Afolabi James of N500 million.
One of the allegations is that the prince on July 2005 in Lagos, fraudulently converted the property at Plot 282 Ajose Adeogun St., Victoria Island, Lagos, by leasing it to the defunct Oceanic Bank Plc now Ecobank Plc.
Dawodu who described himself as being in charge of property and realty services in the bank informed the court that due process was followed by the bank in leasing the Victoria Island property.
Led in evidence by Mr O. Olabisi, the SFU prosecutor, the banker said though he was not a staff of Ecobank when the lease agreement was entered into by the parties, he was familiar with the transaction.
He said the bank had in good faith, prepared a lease agreement document to the first defendant (Semasa James) who had represented the estate of late Oba Afolabi James in the business deal.
Dawodu noted that the first time he met James and Afolabi Kazeem, his codefendant was at the SFU when Ecobank was invited to give a statement in respect of the property transaction.
“When I was invited to the SFU, to give evidence on the subject matter, I made my statement and we presented some documents to the SFU.
“The documents we presented to the SFU include – account mandate, letter of administration, the account opening documents of the Oceanic Bank.
“The lease agreement was prepared, and executed by the bank to the estate, which was represented by Mr Kola James (the first defendant),” Dawodu said.
Following his testimony, Dawodu presented a Certificate of Compliance from Ecobank in respect of the property, which was marked as an exhibit by the court.
NNN reports that Semasa and Kazeem his co-defendant, are facing a seven-count charge of conspiracy, cheating, stealing, forging of company resolution, fraudulent disposing of trust property, and forgery proffered against them by the SFU.
According to the SFU, the prince fraudulently converted N500 million property belonging to the late king between 2000 and 2017 in Lagos.
The prosecution alleged that Semasa had fraudulently sold a property located at Plot 1440, Ilesanmi St., Itire Road, Surulere, Lagos, to a private individual and illegally leased another property located at Plot 282 Ajose Adeogun St., Victoria Island, Lagos, to Ecobank Plc.
Semasa had also allegedly forged some purchase receipts of his late father’s property.
The SFU claimed that Kazeem, Semasa’s personal assistant, was as an accomplice in defrauding the late king’s estate.
Kazeem allegedly connived with Semasa to trick the beneficiaries of the late king of N150 million, which was part of the proceeds of sale of a property located at Dideolu Estate, Victoria Island, Lagos.
The offences contravene Sections 383(1), 383(2) (f), 390(9), 421,434, 465 and 467 of the Criminal Code, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria 2004.
Justice Oluwatoyin Taiwo adjourned the case until March 18 for continuation of trial. (NNN)
Edited by Salif Atojoko
World Bank to support SAN yoghourt boost production – Official
Dr Adetunji Oredipe, Task Team Lead, World Bank, on Friday assured the readiness of the bank to support Zaria based SAN Yoghourt company to boost its production.
The Nigeria News Agency reports that the support would come through Agro Processing, Productivity Enhancement and Livelihood Improvement Support Project (APPEALS).
Oredipe said: “What we are trying to do under APPEALS is to enhance productivity of our farmers to fix the value chain in this wise; dairy farming.
“And in fixing the value chain when you take from where you move it to the field till when the farmers is able to raise the animal, produce the milk, then you take it up and turn it to yoghourt as the end product.
“There is a lot of nots along this chain, if any of the nots is weak, then the final thing you get will not be optimal, so, our job as a team working with your team is to look at all the nots and fix all the problems.
“There are roles that we will play as facilitators, when I say we I mean the project, there are roles that farmers themselves will have to play and as off-takers you also have your roles,” he said.
According to him, the beauty of the relationship is in identifying those roles and everybody playing according to the rules.
He expressed satisfaction that the company agreed to work with the farmers.
“We observed that for you to work with them, they need to be better organised for it to make sense for you, we need to do it in such a way that they all meet you at a collection point and that will make the job a lot easier for you.
“So, those are the little little things that we need to do to make your own job easier and from your end you will be interested in the quality of the milk you are picking, the way the milk is handled and other expectations.
“To do that, we are happy that you have invested here and for this investment to continue to flow every other person has to play according to the rules.”
Oredipe said the programme needed to know what prompted the company to go into the business, knowledge of raw materials supply, and where the targeted farmers are located, within or outside the state.
The TTL also enquired about the company’s programme to support the farmers as well as the profitability of the business so that they could meet them at a point.
“You need to educate us on your understanding of the profitability of this business we are trying to do together, then you can be specific about some of the things you will expect APPEALS to do for you.
“In what we call productive alliance relationship, which is the type you are having between you and those farmers now, there are things that you need to do.
“For example, if because you know that the number of farmers that are willing to do business with you have increased and you need to increase your own line of business.
“May be you are using two lines or three lines, you want to add one, you can discuss that, if we partner with you in doing that, not only because of you but to be able to actually meet the needs of these extra farmers that are coming on board,” he said.
Responding, the Managing Director, SAJ Food, Alhaji Sanusi Abdullahi appreciated the team for what he described as progressive visit.
Abdullahi, who was represented by the General Manager and Dairy Manager SAJ Food, Alhaji Aminu Yahaya-Masanawa said the company was collecting milk from a lot of farmers.
He recalled that SAJ Food started producing yoghourt with powdered milk, adding that initially all their facilities were to accommodate powdered milk only.
Abdullahi said: “But as the dairy sector is changing, Nigeria is changing too, so we need to change our facilities too to the fresh milk collection instead of the powdered milk.
“In that wise, we started to organise the farmers, started to visit them and we started to collect the milk from them. Initially we had a lot of challenges transforming from powdered milk to fresh milk.
“Sometimes even the milk collected from farmers will reach us not in a healthy way, sometimes it will be contaminated, yet, the Managing Director because of his interest in it continued to invest, continued to collect the milk despite the losses we have been making.
“Thank God gradually we started achieving results, as at now we have a lot of farmers, as at today, we are collecting up to 7,000 liters of fresh milk for processing.” the MD said.
He, however, said that the company had the capacity to process 72,000 liters at a shift of eight hours, adding the company gradually grew from collecting 100 to 200 up to the present 7,000 litres.
On challenges, Abdullahi identified the scattered nature of farmers’ settlements and need for a milk bulking truck to ease collection of the product.
He assured that the company was making efforts to produce yoghurt using 100 per cent fresh milk.
Edited by: Saidu Adamu/Maharazu Ahmed
APPEALS partners Fulani community to raise milk production by 500%
Mr Tijjani Abdul-Gaffar of Agro Processing, Productivity Enhancement and Livelihood Improvement Support Project (APPEALS) says the programme is working with Fulani community in Dorayi, Zaria Local Government Area of Kaduna State to raise milk production by 500 per cent.
Abdul-Gaffar, who is the National Procurement Specialist, APPEALS, made the disclosure while addressing members of Dorayi cluster at Dorayi on Friday.
The Nigeria News Agency reports that the Dorayi Fulani cluster has over 7,000 herds of cattle.
He said the target was to raise the income of the villagers, adding that the programme would open wider market and boost productivity of the livestock.
“For the present one liter that you get from a cow, you can produce up to five liters per cow, that is the main reason why the project is here, this is what we want you to achieve.
“But before we do that we want to try to have a market because if you are producing one liter it means your market is just one liter, that’s why we came with the idea of off-takers.
“So that when we improve your yield from one liter to five liters per cow, we have already provided a market where you will sell the product,” he said.
Abdul-Gaffar appreciated Dorayi cluster for according special interest to the programme and urged them to sustain the tempo to adequately boost their productivity.
“We have seen the level of preparedness but as a national office, we want to ask how far you have gone in terms of your preparation for both the technology demonstration and also the adoption of those technologies demonstrated to you.
“We don’t want to be coming and coming for just meetings, the next time we will be here we want to see the results of what we have actually impacted in the farmers and also in the off-takers.
“The state office has explained to us that they have been able to identify an off-taker that is ready to pick all the milk that is being produced from this area.
“And they have also informed us that they have been able to form you into a cluster and that we are seeing,”the specialist said.
He cautioned them against any misunderstanding with the off-takers, so as to derive maximum benefits from the intervention.
In his speech, Dr Adetunji Oredipe, Task Team Lead (TTL), World Bank APPEALS project, said that the essence of the programme was to introduce new technologies towards increasing daily dairy production.
“This project is about achieving three major differences in what you do; it makes sure that we enhance your productivity, to fix all issues you may have in value chain and to ensure that you become competitive like any other business.
“By the time we work with you, we want to make sure that all these happen, we want a situation where those with one animal increase to two, the entire essence is to bring positive change.
“In doing this, we have to work together, as we go forward, we will require you to do a few things; we will be interested in the way you organise yourselves so that we will be bringing all sorts of trainings, ideas and information and you should be open to these.
“We may be introducing technologies to you, you should therefore accept and try the new things. I want to thank the Ardo and other leaders for creating space for women to be part of this progress,” he said.
Oredipe said that the visit was to see how to change them from the traditional means of milk production from the initial one liter per cow to five liters and later to 15 liters.
“What we want from you is the determination to accept the technologies to be able to increase your production capacity. We want those with one cattle to own two cattle and cattle breeders to become marketers.”
Responding on behalf of the community, the Ardo of Dorayi, Alhaji Shu’aibu Dorayi, appreciated the organisation for bringing new techniques toward boosting their yields.
While assuring the readiness of members of the cluster to embrace the technology, the Ardo urged APPEALS to sustain the relationship for the good of the nation.
Edited by: Yakubu Uba/Maharazu Ahmed
Maize farmers seek support on infrastructure, storage facilities
Maize growers, Processors and Marketers Association of Nigeria (MAGPMAN) has pleaded with the federal and state governments to provide infrastructural and storage facilities to boost farmers’ output.
The association’s National President Edwin Uche made this appeal in an interview with Nigeria News Agency on Friday in Abuja.
Uche urged governments at the federal and state level to come to the aid of rural farmers by providing infrastructure, saying this would also ease the suffering of rural farmers.
“ Infrastructure is another key to agriculture because of the difficulties involved in moving agricultural produce from the rural to urban area.
“It is a herculean task if the challenge of infrastructure is not addressed, couple with the increase cost of production.
“We are therefore appealing to government to help by intervening in such critical area so that movement of inputs, goods and services can be easier for farmers,’’ he said.
The MAGPMAN president also appealed for intervention in storage facilities for farmers, saying storage was another big challenge confronting rural maize farmers.
“We are also advocating that government should make its silos flexible for associations to make use of these silos through those who have the benefit of getting the silos,’’ Uche said.
He added that if the cost of these silos were cheaper, associations could comfortably enjoin their members to store and make food available all year round.
“Government should please support us with storage facilities,’’ the MAGPMAN national president said.
Uche said MAGPMAN “is the apex body that drives maize value chain in Nigeria and addressing issues and challenges confronting maize farming in Nigeria”.
According to him, the association is highly positioned with the necessary capacity to drive home their objectives and deliver values to farmers and all stakeholders.
“We have the MAGPMAN dry season support scheme for specific states that have access to irrigation and water.
“The scheme is designed to advance farm inputs to our farmers at a low credit of 10 per cent interest rate for six months, the idea is for them to grow within six months,’’ he said.
He disclosed this came with an off taker infrastructure they had created, which makes it easier for them to absorb what the farmers had grown, ensuring the end value for growing those commodities.
Uche also said that to achieve this they had developed partnership with quality input service providers.
“Many seed companies are already working with the association, we are also working with agro-chemical organisation that will help advance quality agro-chemical that are fully tailored to the growth of maize in Nigeria.
“This partnership is important to ensure that we have enough maize, not just for the industrial sector but also for local consumption,” he said.
Edited by: Kayode Olaitan
Nigeria can feed other African countries through FG’s Anchor Borrowers’ Programme – Institute
Dr Ayobami Omotoso, President, Chartered Institute of Export and Commodity Brokers of Nigeria (CIECOBON), says that Nigeria will feed its citizens and other African countries with the Anchor Borrowers’ Programme (ABP) of the Federal Government.
Omotoso made the assertion during the 2019 Award Presentation Ceremony held at the Institute’s Secretariat in Lagos on Thursday.
According to him, the Federal Government is readily available to assist farmers through the Anchor Borrowers’ Programme and other windows through which money was released by Nigeria Incentive-Based Risk-Sharing System for Agricultural Lending (NIRSAL) Plc.
According to him, NIRSAL is an organ of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) that renders financial assistance to farmers, small and medium enterprises.
NIRSAL also has the mandate to stimulate the flow of affordable finance and investments into the agricultural sector by de-risking the agribusiness finance value chain and institutionalising incentives for agricultural lending through its five strategic pillars, namely: Risk Sharing, Insurance, Technical Assistance, Incentives and Rating.
With the support of government, Nigeria can now feed herself and even Africa as a whole. What we just need to do is to retrace our steps back to farm, process the commodities and make good gains.
The era of white collar job has come and gone. We need more entrepreneurs to grow our commodities for the local industries that will give employment to Nigerians and sell at international markets.
We appreciate the effort of the present administration under the leadership of President Muhammadu Buhari for closing the borders which is now of more benefits and gains to Nigeria,” Omotoso said.
He urged members to be ready to serve to improve the standard of the institute.
Omotoso appealed to stakeholders for support to enable the institute pay the N2. 5 million loan used in renting another befitting secretariat, saying that the institute also needed 1million to furnish the secretariat.
He said that the institute honoured five founders with meritorious award; seven with Associates; 13 people with full membership; and 28 people with Fellows.
One of the awardees, His Royal Majesty, Oba Ezekiel Oladele, Olupole of Ipole Iloro Ekiti, commended the government’s effort which had yielded success in farming business in the state.
The monarch said that the people of Ekiti had been exporting cocoa and cashew, saying that presently he had been encouraging the people to start exporting yams.
Oladele said that Ekiti State had improved in farming of quality rice, to be available for export in future.
He commended the efforts of the management of the institute for extending an award to him and promised to support the association with advice.
The Director-General, Nigerian Textile Manufacturers Association, Mr Hamma Kwajaffa, who represented Mr Umar Goni-Iya-Ahmed, urged Nigerian farmers to improve on their farming to enable them have reserve for export which he said would boost the foreign reserve of Nigeria Economy.
He called on the regulatory authorities to provide adequate laboratory to examine the commodities in order to stop the rejection of exportable products.
One of the beneficiaries of CIECOBON’s awards, Mrs Oluwakemi Adeyiga, said she would support other members to contact as many countries as possible to find out what the farmers were doing wrong that caused constant rejection of expert commodities.
Edited by: Josephine Obute/Adeleye Ajayi
The Registrar of CIECOBON, Mr Samuel Adenuga; a Fellow, Paul Adiwu; President, Chartered Institute of Export and Commodity Brokers of Nigeria (CIECOBON), Dr Ayobami Omotoso, while presenting certificate of Fellow of the institute to Adiwu, during the 2019 Award Presentation Ceremony held at the institute’s secretariat in Lagos on Thursday.
Wheat, rice production: NGO trains farmers on irrigation, water management
Technologies for African Agricultural Transformation-Water Enabler Compact (TAAT-WEC) has trained some farmers in Kano on Improved irrigation and water management in wheat and rice production.
The National Coordinator of TAAT-WEC, Prof. Henry Igbadun in his remarks at the workshop on Thursday, said the training was aimed at boosting wheat and rice production in Kano and the country at large.
According to him, the workshop will give the farmers the opportunity to acquire knowledge on the new dry season water management in wheat and rice production.
He said, “TAAT-WEC project scaled out tools , technological solutions and innovations in irrigation and agricultural water management to increase productivity and production of wheat, rice and sorghum.
“We also build the capacity of a cadre of trainers, including innovation platform facilitatiors, extention agents, champion farmers and youths in the proper use of irrigation and water management technologies and implementation of good irrigation management practices,” he said.
According to him, the new technology will also attract investment from public and sector sources into irrigated agricultural production of wheat, rice and sorghum through the demonstration of viability and profitability of irrigation technologies.
Igbadun added that the TAAT-WEC project had also distributed wheat seeds and fertilizer to selected farmers in Kadawa and Alkamawa communities of the state to motivate them to cultivate wheat in the 2018/2019 season.
This will serve as control plots to the TAAT-WEC demonstration fields in the two locations, aimed at comparing the yields from their fields with that of the TAAT-WEC fields to assess the effect of the new technology.
The technology has yielded good results with increased in wheat yield by 15 to 15.5 per cent in check basins and 26 to 37.2 per cent in raised-bed strips when compared with farmers’ fields.
High values were recorded in Alkamawa compared to Kadawa. Our development objective is to rapidly expand access of smallholder farmers to high yielding agricultural technologies to improve food production, assure food security and raise rural incomes”, he explained.
According to Igbadun, the technoogy also recorded reduction in water conveyance losses by 90 per cent with the use of PVC pipes to distribute water, reduce cost of production and increase profit.
He added that Farmers’ field are no longer flooded due to breached canal walls when spiles with control valves are used.
Igbadun said that the project was funded by the African Development Bank (ADB) through the collaboration of International Water Management Institute and the Institue of Agricultural Research (IAR) Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria.
In his remarks, the Kano State Deputy Governor, Dr Nasiru Gawuna commended the TAAT-WEC for the workshop, saying it will go along way in complementing the efforts of the state government on agriculture.
Gawuna, who was represented by the Director of Administration, Ministry of Agriculture, Hajiya Zarah Suleiman said the state government was ready to give the project all the necessary support.
He said the workshop will contribute in enhancing the knowledge of the farmers on the modern farming technology and called on them to adopt the new technology.
Edited by: Tukur Muntari.
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