Chief Audu Ogbeh, the Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, has appealed for support from the European Union Mission to reduce the spate of youths migration to the union.
Ogbeh gave the appeal in an interview with newsmen at the end of the monthly meeting of Heads of Missions of European Union member countries in Abuja on Tuesday.
The minister, who said that youths’ migration was not sustainable, noted that a joint committee would be set up to advance the programme.
According to him, rather than youths going out, we want them to come back and invest in agriculture.
“We met today to explore areas of support for agriculture, agro-industrial growth and put forward the European Union proposal for partnership and enhanced support.
“We also looked at the possibility of their private sector investors coming into Nigeria to play a part.
“We also raised the issue of migration of our youths across to Europe and the fact that it is not sustainable.
“It is something that Nigeria will like to see come to an end by creating economic activities here to make sure that young people stay back at home.
“The response of the European Union was very encouraging.
“We want to set up a joint committee that can advance this programme because rather than youths going out, we want them to come back and invest in agriculture.
“We are also lucky that Nigerian youths are interested in agriculture, different from youths in other countries. Even those who studied other courses are interested in agriculture.
“We did raise the issue of kidnapping of investors here, we do not want any Nigerian or foreigner investing here to be kidnapped and taken away,’’ Ogbeh said.
On exportation of agriculture produce to the EU, he said the government would also partner with the quality control departments of the union to avoid exportation of contaminated and harmful agricultural products.
Ogbeh said that issues dealing with value addition, livestock production, training, seeds improvement, training, Economic Partnership for Africa (EPA) were also discussed during the meeting.
“The EU are asking us to lay areas where we want them to participate like value addition, livestock production, training, seed improvement, training, Economic Partnership for Africa which has not been resolved’’.
Mr Richard Young, the Deputy Head of EU Delegation said that challenges and opportunities in the agriculture sector in Nigeria were discussed at the meeting.
Young noted that the meeting with Ogbeh also discussed the ease of doing business between the Nigeria and EU.
On lifting the ban on Nigerian dry beans by the EU, he noted,“I think the issue of the beans has to do with the phyto-sanitary standards and that will be sorted out in due cause but this depends on the improvement of the quality of the beans to meet the standards that we require.
“There are many challenges in the agriculture sector but also there are vast opportunities.
“We were very concerned to focus on the role of the private sector and how private sector investment can contribute to enhancing production in the agriculture sector,’’ the EU deputy head said.
Youths stage peaceful protest over security challenges in Katsina State
Hundreds of youths in Katsina State, on Tuesday staged peaceful protest over the increasing rate of banditry, kidnappings and other security challenges in the state.
The protest was organised under the auspices of National Youths Council of Nigeria (NYCN) and Coalition of Northern Groups (CNG).
The News Agency of Nigeria reports that the protest was monitored by the Commissioner of Police, Sanusi Buba,who also addressed the protestors.
The youths had planned to converge on the Katsina Emir’s Palace, but their plan was scuttled by security agents, who blocked all roads leading to the palace.
The protestors, however, passed through Kofar-Durbi to GRA carrying placards with different inscriptions like: “stop the bloodshed”, “do the needful before they finish us” and “banditry and kidnapping are our monsters” among others.
The security agents also blocked all roads leading to the Government House to prevent the youth from getting there.
The state Chairman of NYCN, Katsina State, Lukman Umar-Kankia, said that the state, which was known for peace, is now facing mounting security challenges, including banditry, kidnapping and cattle rustling, among others.
“Bandits operate with brazen impunity, their audacity is appalling. In broad daylight, they sack villages and annihilate the people.
“They rustle animals, raze markets and reduce houses to rubble; they defoliate farms and pillage resources.
“They rape women and abduct men and demand a ransom their relations couldn’t afford,” he said.
He therefore urged the Federal and state governments to intensify efforts in protecting peoples lives and property.
“The government should employ more police for the affected areas, proffer stiffer punishment for anyone found aiding bandits and kidnappers,” he said.
Addressing the youths, the police commissioner, assured them that the government and security agents were doing their best to overcome the security challenges in the state.
“We are aware that we have challenges, these challenges were built up over 30 years, yet some Nigerians want these problems that have been accumulated over 30 years to be solved within a period of months.
“We are determined more than ever before to ensure that these problems are solved, and that is why we have joint security operations to bring the situation under control,” he said.
Buba admonished the youths not to be misguided, and thanked them for conducting themselves in a matured manner.
“Thank God it is a peaceful protest, there was no any violence and when I talked to them, they listened.”
Edited By: Maharazu Ahmed (NAN)
June 12: Youths should engage leaders on accountability – LEAD Network
An NGO, the Leadership, Entrepreneurship and Advocacy (LEAD) Network, has urged youths to engage leaders and hold them accountable as the nation marks 2020 Democracy Day on June 12.
The Executive Director of LEAD Network, Mr Chukwuma Okenwa, made the call in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria on Thursday in Enugu.
NAN reports that President Muhammadu Buhari, in 2019, recognised the outcome of June 12, 1993, Presidential Election and declared June 12 as national Democracy Day.
According to Okenwa, young Nigerians should live up to their responsibilities by getting involved in governance and by asking relevant developmental questions.
He said that youths must stand out as symbol of the future, radiating zeal, strength, innovation and vibrancy, especially on issues of governance and leadership.
He added that “youths are leading the way in new development and ideas everywhere in the world.
“Young Nigerians should be weary of the status quo tagged: `the Nigeria factor’, they should embrace only the dream of a Nigeria that they can be proud of.
“Democracy in Nigeria should not just be ‘of the people’, because the mandate is given to leaders by their people.
“Democracy should be by the people and for the people, through youths’ active participation in governance and citizenship engagement.”
Okenwa also called on the legislature to stand its ground as the hallmark of democracy, while creating legal frameworks and laws that are people-centred and people-oriented.
He, therefore, urged lawmakers in the country to carry out their legislative businesses with due recourse to their constituents, “which are co-stakeholders in a democracy.
“There is the need for legislators to carry their constituents along while sponsoring or supporting bills so as to get their opinions.”
“This is because the legislators are there for their people and not for themselves.
“That makes a good case why young Nigerians should engage political office holders, especially their representatives”, he said.
Edited by Bola Akingbehin/Hadiza Mohammed-Aliyu
Edo 2020: Youths mobilise funds to buy nomination form for guber aspirant
Barely a month to the governorship primaries of the PDP in Edo, the youth wing of the party has started raising funds to assist a chieftain of the party, Mr Kenneth Imasuangbon, to purchase the party’s nomination form for the governorship race.
The coordinator of the fund raising campaign, Mr Idemudia Clifford, told a news conference in Benin on Wednesday that the gesture was to support Imasuangbon in his bid to become the next governor of Edo.
Clifford said that youths decided to purchase the nomination form for Imasuangbon as a show of appreciation for what the politician had been doing for young people.
According to him, market women, artisans, professionals and students from the three senatorial zones of the state are also contributing to the initiative.
Clifford said that youths in Edo State believed that Imasuangbon, popularly known as “Rice Man’’ would be the candidate to beat in the Edo governorship elections, slated for Sept. 19.
“Imasuangbon is a household name in Edo State. He has been consistent in reaching out to the poor and needy in society.
“Our desire to raise the money for the nomination form for Imasuangbon is to show our gratitude and tell him we are truly behind him.
“I want to inform you that many people across the state have called in to pledge their support. It melts our heart to receive calls from all parts of the state.’’
Edited By: Silas Nwoha (NAN)
Rice: Youths urge Nasarawa gov’t to adopt new irrigation tech. to boost production
The farmers made the call on Monday during a visit to demonstration farms in three communities in Lafia Local Government Area of the state.
The project, funded by the African Development Bank (AfDB) is led by the International Water Management Institute (IWMI) and implemented in Nigeria through the Institute of Agricultural Research (IAR) at the Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, aimed at water conservation and boosting agricultural productivity.
Ayuba Abimiku, one of the farmers at Gidan Mai-Akuya community, said that the pressured plastic piped, sprinkler and advanced wet and drying scheduling irrigation technologies had made dry season farming a lot easier.
Abimiku noted that with the new system, less water was required unlike the old method where they often flooded their farms.
“This system allows for proper water management and the farmer can determine the right amount of water needed in the field per time,”he said.
Similarly, Godiya Ovey from Madagba community, said that the system had made dry season rice farming attractive to the youths, who hitherto do not want to get themselves dirty.
“This is a system that does not require much effort once you know how to set it up. You can combine it with other endeavours,”he added.
He encouraged other farmers to consider going into dry season farming using the technology and not rely only on rain-fed farming for rice production.
The farmers, therefore urged the state government to scale up the technology and provide the necessary support in order to ensure an all year round rice production and sufficiency after the Coronavirus pandemic.
Prof. Henry Igbadun, the Project Coordinator, who was represented by the Nasarawa state coordinator, Oklo Jonathan, said that the project began in 2019 with the training of 40 youths and agriculture extension workers on the new irrigation technologies.
According to him, the farmers were trained and introduced to the technologies with field demonstration where the farmers, in groups of 10, applied the technologies in rice production from nursery, transplanting and almost ready for harvest soon.
He said that the essence of the project was water management for increased rice production.
“The project is aimed at building the capacity of a cadre of trainers, including innovation platform facilitators, extension agents, champion farmers and youths in the proper use of irrigation and water management technologies as well as implementation of good irrigation management practice,”Igbadun said.
Joshua, therefore, advised the state government and other agricultural stakeholders to scale up the project in order to ensure food sufficiency, especially with the looming food shortage occasioned by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Edited By: Remi Koleoso and Isaac Ukpoju (NAN)