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Sirika Presents NiMet’s 2021 Climate Predictions, as Minister advises Against Hurried Planting



The 2021 Seasonal Climate Prediction (SCP) has been unveiled by the Minister of Aviation, Senator Hadi Sirika, with a call on all stakeholders to use the climate prediction judiciously for the benefit of the nation and humanity.

The Minister said that over the years, NiMet’s predication has become a veritable tool in guiding various sectors of the nation’s economy in preparing for their yearly activities.

According to him, “the earliest onset date for rains in 2021 is likely to occur on the 1st of March along the coastal line of the country, while the late date is anticipated to be around 29th June in the Northern most part of Nigeria. While later than normal onset dates are expected over a few places such as parts of Lagos, Ogun, Kebbi and Niger States”.

Sirika said there would be dry spell, which may span in some places up to about 15 days and this is extremely important to avoid people losing their crops or to ignore flooding which may wipe away houses, businesses and farm lands. This year, severe dry spells are predicted in Kebbi, Sokoto, Katsina Jigawa, Zamafara, Yobe and Borno States in June and July which may last between two to three weeks after the onset.
“So, the implication of this is the likelihood of crop failure and even if crops don’t die completely, their growing capacity is going to be affected. Farmers should adopt soil-moisture conservation techniques to reduce the chances of crop failure during the period”.

The Minister said, “The length of the growing season will vary from 110 days in the North to over 300 days in the South. He advised farmers in the North that they should not plant crops that would take more than 100 days to mature while those in the South have opportunity to probably plant their crops twice since they have over 300 days”.

He however, advised farmers not to farm with the first rain which will likely occur on 1st March, 2021.
Most places are expected to have their usual length of season, but few places such as Lagos and FCT are likely going to have shorter length of season.

The prediction also showed that there would be a normal annual rainfall amount in most Northern parts of the country such as Sokoto, Kebbi, Zamfara and Kano States.

On flooding, the Minister said there would be normal to above normal rainfall in the country which could lead to flash floods due to the increasing high density rainfall at the peak of the season.

According to the Minister, “the earliest cessation date is likely to be 9th October while, Kastina and Northern parts of Sokoto, the latest cessation date is expected to be on the 25th of December over the Niger-Delta region”.

On his part, the Director General of NiMet, Prof. Sani Mashi promised Nigerians that his Agency would ensure that the prediction gets to the grassroots and called on stakeholders to always support the mandate of the agency.

According to Mashi, the annual predictions by the agency has become an increasingly indispensable guide for planning by most sectors of the nation’s economy.

The achievements, he reiterated, had been possible through the unalloyed support of the Minister of Aviation Senator Hadi Sirika who had always pushed NiMet for excellence and professionalism in the discharge of its mandates.

“Over the last 10 years, in the wake of increasing trend of uncertainties in the climate change, NiMet has continued to meet national, regional and global expectations in weather and climate forecast which is the reason behind the annual seasonal climate prediction”, said the Director-General.

The theme for this year is “Seasonal Climate Prediction: supporting the Economy to scope with the challenges of COVID-19 Global Pandemic in Nigeria”.

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Marwa Warns Against Cannabis Legalisation



Says “It is money versus life”


President Muhammadu Buhari (right) with the Chairman of National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA), Mohammed Buba Marwa at the State House, Abuja, during a visit by Marwa to brief him on the activities of the agency (photo by The Guardian)

Chairman of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA), Brig. Gen. Buba Marwa (rtd), has enjoined members of the National Assembly not to support to move to legalise cannabis, cautioning that members who vote for it might not be able to return to their constituencies.Marwa made the submission yesterday while fielding questions from newsmen after he met with President Muhammadu Buhari at the State House, Abuja.

The former military administrator of Lagos said the World Health Organisation (WHO) has confirmed the dangers of cannabis to the brain, disclosing that Nigeria was the highest consumer of the substance globally.

Vowing that Nigeria would not submit to the push for its legalisation, Marwa said: “Now, the WHO itself has declared that cannabis affects the brain, alters brain function. It destabilises and affects behaviour. It also affects body organs, and at some point, it can lead to death.

“So, while we appreciate those who want to legalise it for financial gains, we have to be careful to reconcile it with life. So, it’s money versus life. And up to this point, science has not developed up to the point where it can remove the THC in cannabis to zero.

“Therefore, cannabis is harmful to our health; it is a danger to society. We must never allow its legalisation. What’s more, Nigeria has 10.6 million cannabis users; this is the highest in the world. Isn’t it sad?

“We should be the highest in science, technology, mathematics, physics and not highest in cannabis. That is something we need.

“We can never support legalisation and I don’t see how the National Assembly would pass the bill because I know 90 per cent or more of the honourable and distinguished members of the National Assembly know the implications of this legalisation. They dare not go back to their constituencies if anyone signs legalisation because we are seeing the implication on the ground. The youth, the families are being destroyed because of cannabis and drugs. It wouldn’t be legalised by the grace of God.”

Marwa, who revealed that he has received constant death threats from criminals in the course of his assignment, said he was not concerned even though he takes precautions.

Specifically, on the threats, he quipped: “Severally! It’s almost a daily occurrence because my phone number is open. Equally, messages come through family, through colleagues, and sometimes people at random whom we don’t know but I live in the territory. That said, we also take precautions.”

The NDLEA boss said he was at that presidential villa to brief President Buhari on the recent activities of the agency, especially the move to construct barracks for personnel of the agency, saying he received a positive response from the president on the initiative.

“Well, the President told us well done. And that well done does not go to Gen. Marwa but the NDLEA officers and men. And if there’s a secret behind it, we thank the Almighty God for the successes recorded so far, and also to the gallant and professional officers and men of the NDLEA who have remained upstanding.”

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Court freezes Kogi State Govt’s Bank Account over N20billion Salary Loan Fraud



Governor Yahaya Bello of Kogi State


A Federal High Court in Lagos on Tuesday froze a Kogi salary bailout account domiciled in a new generation bank over a N20 billion loan obtained from the bank.

Justice Tijjani Garba Ringim made the order pending the conclusion of an investigation or possible prosecution by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).

The agency approached the court via an ex-parte application brought pursuant to Section 44(2) of the Constitution and Section 34(1) of the EFCC Act.

Its counsel, Mr A. O. Muhammed, informed the court that the order was necessary to preserve the res and abate further dissipation of the funds in the account.

Moving the application, Muhammed alleged that the N20b loan was meant to augment the salary payment and running cost of the state government but was kept in an interest yielding account with the bank.

He added that instead of using the money for the purpose it was meant for, the Kogi State Government instructed the bank to transfer the money from the loan account and place same in a fixed deposit account.

According to the agency, the bank is yet to present any credible evidence to show that the facility is well secured.

Granting the application, Justice Ringim ordered the EFCC to publish the order in a national newspaper and make a quarterly report to the court on the progress of its investigation.

The judge adjourned the matter till December 1, for the report of Investigation.

The EFCC’s allegations were made in its 13-paragraph affidavit in support of the ex-parte motion deposed to by a member of a team of investigators attached to the Chairman Monitoring Unit Lagos of the EFCC.

The document averred that the Commission received credible and direct intelligence which led to the tracing of funds reasonably suspected to be proceeds of unlawful activities warehoused in the account with the name Kogi State Salary Bailout Account

He said the Commission acted on the said intelligence and assigned same to the Chairman Monitoring Unit, where it was discovered that on April 1, 2019, the management approved an offer of an N20billion bailout loan facility for the Kogi State Government.

According to the deponent, on June 19, 2019, fiscal year, the Kogi State Government, Ministry of Finance and Economic Development, Office of the Commissioner, applied for a credit facility of N20billion with an interest rate of nine per cent for a tenure of 240 months from the bank”.

The agency added that the said facility was meant to augment the salary payment and running cost of the state government.

It stated further that on June 26, 2019, the credit facility offer was accepted vide a memorandum of acceptance signed by Governor Alhaji Yahaya Bello, Asiwaju Idris Asiru, the Commissioner of Finance Kogi State; and one Alhaji Momoh Jibrin, Accountant General, Kogi State.

It averred that before the said application for a loan, the Kogi State Government on the 19th June 2019 vide a letter to the Manager of the bank in Lokoja applied for an account opening in the Bank with the name Kogi State Salary Bailout Account with Alhaji Momoh Jubril, Accountant General of the State and Elijah Evinemi Ag. Director Treasury as the signatories to the said account.

“That upon the opening of the said account disbursed salary intervention loan to the tune of N20billion to the account.

“That rather than use the intervention funds for the purpose for which it was granted, the State Government proceeded to open a fixed deposit account No. 0073572696.

“That on the 25 day of July 2019, the bank acting on the instruction of the Kogi State Government transferred the money from the loan account and placed same on the aforementioned fixed deposit account.

“That the said account sought to be frozen received the sum of twenty billion naira, (N20, 000,000,000) on the 25th July 2019.

“That as of 1st day of April 2021 the balance standing to the credit of the said fixed deposit account was N19,333,333,333.36 billion

“That we are still tracing what the sum of N666,666,666.64 billion, has been deducted from the said funds and were not used for the payment of the salary.

“That the Commission has the statutory mandate to prevent the Commission of economic and financial Crimes with the shores of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

“That investigation in this matter is still ongoing and this application is pertinent to secure the funds in the said account to prevent them from being totally dissipated.

“That without freezing the nominated accounts, there is no better way of preserving

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