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Agriculture

The Federal Government of Nigeria on Monday restated its commitment to lifting Nigerians out of poverty  through its sustainable agricultural development programmes.

 

Director General of the National Directorate of Employment (NDE), Mallam Abubakar Nuhu- Fikpo stated this while inaugurating the Directorate’s 2021 Post Sustainable Agricultural Development Training Scheme (Post- SADTS)  in Owerri.

 

Nuhu-Fikpo, who was represented by the NDE coordinator in IMO, Mrs Ngozi Ihenacho said that the scheme would enhance beneficiaries’ capacity with knowledge of modern agricultural policies.

 

He added that the trainees would be empowered to establish, grow and expand agricultural enterprises of their choice on a sustainable basis and provide linkages to sources of funding for their respective enterprises.

 

This, he said, was aimed at providing more food, creating employment, reducing poverty and enhancing quality of life for farmers and the society in general.

 

 “The 50 Participants in this one week training have been drawn from among graduates of SADTS and the Directorate’s department of Rural Employment Promotion (REP) who desire to expand their agro enterprises.

 

 “They will be trained on agricultural intervention policies, livestock production, digital marketing of agricultural products as well as fish processing, packaging and marketing,” he said.

 

In an address, Mr Michael Mbata, Director of the REP department, urged participants to pay attention to the lectures so as to derive optimal benefits.

 

Mbata, who was represented by Miss Harris Okolie, a staff of the department called on youths to embrace agriculture as a means of eradicating poverty in the country.

 

Also, the head, REP department in Imo, Mr Chisara Egwim said that the NDE was growing the next generation of agro experts and urged the participants to take the training seriously.

 

One of the trainees, Mr Bernard Iwuagwu from Aboh Mbaise Local Government Area thanked the NDE for the initiative and promised to put the acquired skills to their best use.

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Energy, Government

The Federal Government of Nigeria on Thursday inaugurated the governing board of the Nigeria Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (NEITI) to enhance the smooth running of its administration.

 

Mr Boss Mustapha, Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), who performed the inauguration in Abuja, congratulated the members, saying their appointment as NEITI board members was based on individual merits and track records.

 

“Your appointment and inauguration, which is taking place here today is another practical demonstration of President Muhammadu Buhari’s commitment to transparency and accountability in the management of our economic resources.

 

 “And especially, given the mandate and objectives of the Nigeria’s NEITI, ” Mustapha said.

 

Mustapha said that the present administration was passionate about the NEITI process because it served two key agenda of the administration.

 

He said that the extractive industry was very strategic to Nigeria’s economy, hence central to the administration’s economic agenda.

 

According to Mustapha, the transparency and accountability in the management of nation’s resources is equally central to the anti-corruption agenda of Nigeria.

 

He said it was therefore, irrevocably committed to the implementation of NEITI in the oil, gas, and mining industries.

 

The SGF, therefore, tasked NEITI board members to ensure that the agency continued to preserve the virtues for the benefit of the present and for future generations of Nigeria.

 

 “In order to achieve this, I must remind you that your assignment is non-partisan because NEITT itself is non-political and has maintained dignified neutrality all through almost two decades of existence.

 

“It is also necessary for me to stress that your appointment is a part-time one. You are therefore advised to conduct yourselves in accordance with this requirement, ” he said.

 

Responding, Mr Olusegun Adekunle, a retired Permanent Secretary, office of the SGF, thanked President Muhammadu Buhari for considering them worthy for the appointment.

 

Adekunle assured that the board would not disappoint the president in the course of carrying out its assigned duties.

 

The retired permanent secretary said his appointment alongside other board members was another opportunity to serve Nigeria in another capacity.

 

“Let me also congratulate my colleagues on the board for this wonderful opportunity to serve our nation in a different capacity.

 

“I must say that the confidence reposed in us is huge but our commitment to this assignment is also strong; we shall therefore, work as a team with focus and with integrity, ” Adekunle said.

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Government

The Federal Government of Nigeria represented by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo and the United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF) are to inaugurate Generation Unlimited  (GenU), an intervention effort for young Nigerians on July 26.

 

According to a statement, it is aimed at urgently supporting expanded education, training and employment opportunities for young people, aged 10 year to 24 years on an unprecedented scale.

 

The collaboration is a global multi-sector partnership that was initially launched in September 2018, in collaboration with over 200 partners.

 

It has reached, to date, more than 100 million young people globally through innovations and programmes in more than 40 countries across six continents.

 

The introduction of GenU Nigeria is a national event which will draw participants like Govs. Babajide Sanwo-Olu of Lagos State, Abdullahi  Ganduje, Kano State, Godwin Obaseki of Edo as well as Edward Kallon, UN Resident Coordinator.

 

GenU Nigeria has a wide range of development partners including the African Development Bank, GIZ, ILO, UNDP, USAID and Private Sector Organisations.

 

Some of the private sector organisations are: Airtel, Jobberman, Tony Elumelu Foundation (TEF), Microsoft, University of Cambridge, Boston Consulting Group and UBA Foundation.

 

In Nigeria, the target is to reach two million young people aged 10 years to 24 years by 2023 and 20 million by 2030 with education, skills training, employment, entrepreneurship and empowerment.

 

GenU Nigeria will be implemented in 12 states distributed across the six geo-political zones in the country.

 

Northwest – Kano State and Kaduna State; South West — Lagos State and Ogun; North East –Borno and Bauchi States; South East — Ebonyi and Enugu States; North Central — Niger and Benue; South-South — Rivers and Cross River.

 

GenU Nigeria’s pilot implementation will be in Lagos and Kano States and will be directly implemented at the tate government levels, through the governors’ offices in the states.

 

Other African countries currently participating in the GenU partnership include Kenya, Rwanda, South Africa and  Niger Republic.

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Education

President Muhammadu Buhari has approved the appointment of Prof. Ibrahim Wushishi as Registrar and Chief Executive Officer of the National Examinations Council (NECO).

 

Wushishi replaces Prof. Godswill Obioma who died on June 1, 2021.

 

A statement by NECO’s spokesman, Mr Azeez Sani, said that Wushishi’s appointment was contained in a letter signed by education minister Adamu Adamu, dated July 16, 2021.

 

It said the appointment had an initial tenure of five years with effect from July 12.

 

Wushishi, a 56-year-old Professor of Science Education from Niger, was a lecturer at the Uthman Danfodio University, Sokoto, before he transferred his service to the Federal University of Technology (FUT), Minna.

 

He has held several positions in the education sector among which are Post-Graduate Coordinator, Department of Science Education, Federal University of Technology, Minna.

 

Wushishi was also Sub-Dean, School of Science, and Head of Department of Science Education, FUT Minna.

 

He was also Head of Department of Science Education, IBB University, Lapai, while on Sabbatical leave.

 

Mr Ebikibina Ogborodi, Director of Special Duties, had acted as Registrar of the examinations body after the demise of Obioma.

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Agriculture, Economy

The Nigerian Export Promotion Council (NEPC) says it is working on plan to export cashew nuts directly from the South-East, in line with the Federal Government’s policy on diversification.

 

The Executive Director of the council, Mr Olusegun Awolowo, made this known in Enugu during a workshop organised by the council for stakeholders in the cashew value chain that NEPC had developed what it called “Zero-Oil Plan”, an initiative for boosting foreign exchange earnings through the non-oil export sector.

 

Represented by the South-East Regional Coordinator of the council, Mr Arnold Jackson, he said the initiative had set a long term goal of earning 20 per cent of Nigeria’s Gross Domestic Product from non-oil exports.

 

“The initial target is to exceed US$30 billion in non-oil exports over the next 10 years, add extra US$150 billion to Nigeria’s foreign reserves and lift at least 20 million Nigerians out of poverty,” he said.

 

Awolowo said the council also had the ‘One-State One-Product’ programme, which was developed to ensure that each state focused on at least one product to develop for export.

 

He said that under the programme, Enugu State indicated cashew and palm oil as its main and alternate products.

 

The NEPC boss said that cashew remained an important agricultural commodity in the state.

 

“We, therefore, require the collaboration of the state government and other stakeholders to develop exportable products from cashew,” he said.

 

He said that cashew had the potential to significantly affect Nigeria’s foreign exchange.

 

According to him, the country is the second largest producer of the nut with an annual production of 350,000 metric tons.

 

“We have a long way to go to be able to meet local demands and export,” Awolowo said.

 

He called for the establishment of an aggregation centre in the zone, where cashew nuts could be graded and checked for quality assurance.

 

“The quality issues have to be resolved because what sells products is the quality assurance,” he said.

 

In a lecture, the National Auditor, Cashew Farmers Association of Nigeria, Mr Ferdinand Eze, said that Enugu state was producing  20,000 metric tons of cashew nuts per annum.

 

Eze said that the figure was a far cry from the capacity of the state, considering the huge cashew investment made in the area by former Premier of Old Eastern Region, late Dr Michael Okpara.

 

He said that most of the cashew trees were over 40 years and had become old, hence the need to plant new ones.

 

In a goodwill message, the Enugu State Commissioner for Agriculture, Mr Mathew Idu, said the state had comparative and competitive advantage in cashew production over other cash crops.

 

Idu, however, said that cashew farmers in the state had yet to reach their optimum potential in cashew production.

 

He gave assurance that the state government would assist the farmers and other stakeholders along the value chain.

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