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New economy to be driven by additional 77,400 young farmers – NALDA

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The federal government through the newly resusitated National Agricultural Land Development Authority (NALDA) has revealed plan to raise about 77, 400 young farmers into Nigerian farming business across the nation in different farming activities ranging from crop farming to animal husbandry.


The newly appointed Executive Secretary of NALDA Prince Paul Ikonne, said this Monday in Abuja at the maiden press briefing since President Muhammadu Buhari brought the agency back.

NALDA was created by General Ibrahim Babangida-led administration in 1992 but was abolished during the rationalisation of agencies during Chief Olusegun Obasanjo’s administration in year 2000.

Speaking at the media conference, Prince Ikonne said his plan is to ensure that the organisation drive the country’s economy.

“Our short-term programs are; Providing farm inputs such as improved seeds, fertilizers, machinery, environmentally friendly crop protection agents, growth enhancers and trainings which will be given to already existing farmers and this will assist them during this farming season in order to improve their yield.

“The President, having given a marching order when he said “we must produce what we have to eat” NALDA as an authority under the Presidency has come up with programs in order to meet this directive by Mr. President.”

Speaking on how to achieve his plans, Ikonne said: “We intend to have 77,400 young farmers injected into Nigerian farming business across the nation in different farming activities ranging from crop farming to animal husbandry.

“These young farmers will be drawn from the 774 Local Governments, with a pilot number of 100 per local Government. In this initiative we will partner with Governors for provision or donation of land and other stakeholders as this will create employment and food production will be increased.

“Back To Farm; we will use this program to encourage everyone to go back to farm by reaching out to the military and paramilitary organizations, NASS members, civil and public servants, journalists, corporate bodies, religious organizations and individuals.

“You will agree with me that all these organizations mentioned and some individuals have land that are not being put to use, so we intend to encourage them to use these lands for farming even if it is for personal consumption. #BackToFarm

“These 3 programs are our starting point in order to meet the immediate mandate of Mr. President for providing food for all and we intend to achieve this within the next 6 months.”

While expressing confidence in the organisation to drive economy, the executive secretary said: “Our intention going by NALDA’s mandate, is to make agriculture a business and a source of wealth creation for the country. This we intend to achieve by increasing palm oil and soya beans production for export among others. Nigeria’s potential in the agricultural sector cannot be over emphasized and having identified the lapses of why we as a nation have not attained the height of food sufficiency, NALDA under my watch will provide the required leadership and with the support of Mr. President we will achieve our mandate.

“NALDA will partner and collaborate with other government agencies and international organizations in order to attain food sufficiency and make agriculture the main source of revenue for Nigeria from export.”

He, however, called on Nigerians who are interested in working with NALDA as volunteers to register through its website www.nalda.ng, even as he called “on all Nigerians and stakeholders, to see agriculture as a business and to solicit for their support as we take off today towards achieving food security which NALDA will be driving.”

Speaking earlier, the nalda’s pioneer director of planning, satistics and data bank, Dr. Akin Fapounda, who gave review of where the organisation was before it was disbanded in year 2000, commended President Muhammad Buhari for bringing the Authority back to existence.

“It is nice to see NALDA back to the country.”

Dr. Fapounda said if Nigeria will succeed, NALDA must succeed in agriculture.

He said NALDA is not meant to be a federal government agency but for state government to look for lands, settle all compensation and use the land for proper farming.

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Dead! Barkindo, OPEC Sec-Gen, Hours After Meeting President Buhari

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Mohammad Sanusi Barkindo, secretary-general of the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), is dead.

Mele Kyari, group managing director of the Nigerian National Petroleum Company (NNPC) Limited, announced his demise in a tweet in the early hours of Wednesday.

Kyari said he died at about 11p.m on Tuesday few hours after delivering a speech to oil and gas stakeholders at the ongoing 2022 Nigerian oil and gas conference and exhibition in Abuja.

After the event, he met with President Muhammadu Buhari at the statehouse alongside a delegation from the OPEC secretariat.

He was aged 63.

He described his departure as a great loss to his immediate family, NNPC Nigeria, OPEC and the global energy community.

“We lost our esteemed Dr Muhammad Sanusi Barkindo. He died at about 11 pm yesterday 5th July 2022. Certainly a great loss to his immediate family, the NNPC, our country Nigeria, the OPEC and the global energy community,” Kyari tweeted.

“Burial arrangements will be announced shortly.”

Barkindo is the third ex-NNPC GMD to have passed on in two years — Maikanti Baru died in May 2020 and Joseph Dawha in August 2020.

His second term at OPEC ends on July 31, 2022.

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Economy

Emefiele Not Sacked – CBN Spokesman

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Contrary to viral reports to the effect that the federal government has sacked the governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, Godwin Emefiele,  Head of corporate communications of the Bank, Osita Nwanisiobi has said that rumours of a purported sack are not true.

Osita denied the rumours in a phone conversation with Nairametrics stating that “he is not aware of any sack of the CBN Governor”. Nairametrics also understands the CBN Governor is in Davos on official assignment.

Several online media blogs have published reports of a purported sack of the Governor of the Central Bank of Africa’s largest economy with some mentioning that “it was unconfirmed” even though they went ahead to publish.

Nairametrics also contacted other sources close to the presidency and the CBN Governor to confirm if the rumours are true. All our sources claim no knowledge of a purported sack.

Meanwhile,the CBN Governor has been under pressure since he declared interest in running for president of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

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NPA : Panel Clears Hadiza Bala Usman of Fraud

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Hadiza Bala Usman, the former managing director of the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA), has been cleared of allegations of failing to remit N165 billion operating surplus to the coffers of the federal government, according to a report by TheCable.

However, the 11-member committee set up by the ministry of transportation to probe the alleged fraud decided to shift its attention to allegations of insubordination to Rotimi Amaechi, the minister.

She was accused of ignoring ministerial directives and communicating directly with President Muhammadu Buhari.

Usman was originally suspended in May 2021 by the minister over an allegedly missing N165 billion but the committee did not find any evidence in its account reconciliation.

TheCable understands that when Amaechi presented the report to Buhari and asked for permission to remove Usman based on to “insubordination”, the president refused to give approval but instead directed the minister to issue a query to the former NPA MD.

Amaechi, presidency sources told TheCable, said Usman had already defended herself before the committee, but Buhari insisted that she be allowed to respond to the report before any further action is taken.

“A visibly disappointed Amaechi then directed Magdalene Ajani, the permanent secretary, to issue the query,” the source said, adding that Buhari refused to be presented with a “fait accompli”.

Conspicuously missing in the 10 items of query is the original reason for her suspension — the allegation that N165 billion was not remitted to the treasure single account (TSA) which made the headlines.

QUERY AND REPLY

An official of the ministry of transportation, who spoke to TheCable but pleaded to be “shielded” for fear of victimisation, said Usman responded to the query within one week as stipulated.

“She said that she did not have access to some important documents because she was on suspension but I would say she did justice to the query,” the official said.

Mohammed Bello-Koko, who acted as NPA MD during her suspension, was a bank’s accounts officer to the Rivers states government when Amaechi was governor.

Bello-Koko was on Tuesday officially appointed the MD.

In the query dated January 26, 2022, Ajani said the committee accused Usman of the following acts of insubordination.

  • Disregard for ministerial directive in respect of the Bonny/Port Harcourt and Lagos port channel management contract
  • Unlawful procurement of the operation of truck transit park for port bound trucks (e-callup) with the non-payment into TSA
  • Unilateral execution of a supplemental agreement in respect of the Lekki Deep Seaport concession project
  • Breach of the channels of the communication in the public service
  • Unilateral and improper use of the emergency procurement mode to procure vehicles
  • Waiver, rebates and tariffs granted by NPA without requisite approval
  • disobedience of court order in respect of pilotage contract between NPA and Intels
  • Disregard of court order in the matter between NPA and BUA ports and terminal limited in respect of the concession of Terminal B Rivers ports complex.
  • Breach of presidential/ministerial directive in the matter of the LADOL/Samsung dispute
  • Lease of Koko Port to Messers Creek Shore Jetty and Terminal Ltd

In her response, she denied all the allegations.

On the renewal of the Bonny/Port Harcourt and Lagos port channel management contract for which she was said to have disregarded ministerial directive, she said she conveyed the directive to the Bureau for Public Procurement (BPP) which it clarified that it was an extension of an existing contract and such extensions do not require the attention of either the ministerial tenders board or the federal executive council.

Usman said, with regards to the operations of the e-callup system, that “it is practically impossible to have the e-Wallet account domiciled with the TSA as the amount standing to the credit of the transporters’ wallets still belong to the customers. In addition, the owners of the satellite parks and pre-gates used for gating trucks before their callup into the ports need to be paid weekly from the wallet account based on how many bookings were made for their parks”.

She denied unilaterally executing a supplemental agreement in respect of the Lekki Deep Seaport concession project, stating that it was operational in nature and does not alter any major aspect of the concession agreement “as it only rescheduled construction timeframe for a berth and allowed other players to partake in the development of dry bulk since the company was constrained to embark on the construction”.

The former NPA MD said presidency communicated directly with her seeking information and clarifications on the activities of the authority and she responded and she was not at any informed that her responses should have gone through the ministry since presidency did not communicate with her through the ministry.

Usman denied “unilateral and improper use of the emergency procurement” to procure vehicles to replace the ones burnt by the End SARS rioters, quoting public procurement laws to back her decision and pointing out that NPA got a provisional “no objection” certificate for the purchases.

She insisted that she did not disobey court orders on Intels and BUA, and that no presidential or ministerial directive was breached in the LADOL/Samsung dispute.

On the lease of Koko Port to Messrs Creek Shore Jetty and Terminal Ltd, she said she acted the legal limits of NPA as provided by the enabling laws.

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