Nasarawa: Sasakawa Introduces Rice Farmers To Harvest Technologies

Mohammed Shosanya

Sasakawa Africa Association (SAA),an international NGO,has introduced rice farmers in Nasarawa State to cost- effective harvest technologies to reduce post-harvest losses.

Dr.Godwin Atser, Country Director of SAA, stated this at the “Brown” field day organised at weekend for farmers in Lafia, and Doma Local Government Areas of state.

He explained that the training of the farmers on the mechanised harvest system is part of the African Development Bank’s (AfDB) Policy and Human Resource Development Grant (PHRDG 1) being implemented by SAA in Nigeria and Benin Republic.

The country director,who was represented by the Mr Idris Garko, Coordinator of the PHRDG 1 in the state, said that having trained the farmers to improve their rice yield using technology and best agronomic practices, it became imperative to introduce them to mechanised harvest method that would help to reduce post-harvest losses.

According to him, studies have shown that rice farmers in Nigeria incur between 10 per cent to 35 per cent post-harvest losses using the traditional method of harvesting.

He, however, explained that with the use of simple machines like motorised reaper and thresher, such losses would be drastically reduced.

He added that the technologies would save the farmers cost in terms of labour and time, and ensure they got quality rice grains from farms for marketing.

He noted that although the machines are expensive and not readily available, SSA had identified indigenous innovative fabricators that could produce effective local versions of the imported machines and link up farmers to them.

“As part of this project, we recently brought these fabricators together in Lafia to interface and see how they could produce these machines and the outcomes of that engagement was quite impressive.

“We also link up the fabricators to dealers in spare parts for the machines to ensure easy assess,” he said.

He said that the farmer were encouraged to form cooperatives where they could pull resources together to acquire the machines since they might be too expensive to acquire individually.

“As a group, the machines would also become a source of income for them. Apart from using it in their farms, they could generate revenue from it by using it for other farmers outside the group and be paid,” he said.

He further explained that the technical team of SAA would be on ground within the next two years to guide the farmers on the operations and routine maintenance of the machines.

Some of the farmers,commended SSA for the intervention and expressed commitment towards acquiring the machines.

Mr Yusuf Kuje, a rice farmer in Alagye in Doma, said that the effectiveness of the machines in harvesting and threshing was unbelievable.

“You can see that a plot of rice farm that could take 10 persons almost an hour to harvest using the manual traditional method was done in just about 10 minutes with the use of the motorised reaper machine.

“The thresher is another interesting machine that saves more time and energy that would have been dissipated in beating the rice. It threshes the dried rice and the grain come out very clean.

“I will work closely with other farmers in my community to leverage the opportunity provided by Sasakawa to link us with the fabricators in order to get our own machines, ” he added.

Besides,Mr Abdullah Otsonu, a rice farmer in Assakio, Lafia, said that given the effectiveness of the machines, rice production would become more exciting and interesting to the teeming youths in the community.

11Plc To Expand Footprint In LPG,CNG Market

Mohammed Shosanya

11Plc (formerly Mobil Oil Nigeria Plc ) has restated its commitment to increase investment in a bid to expand its market share of the Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG) and Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) segment.

Its Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer,Adetunji Oyebanji, who made this commitment at the Annual General Meeting (AGM) held at Abuja Comtinental Hotel ,FCT Abuja, said the company is taking steps to position itself in the gas sector.

“Our LPG is growing fast with the deployment of more skids in the company’s retail outlets as well as the collocation of CNG outlets in the stations,” he stated.

According to him, substantial financial commitment has been made in this respect, which in turn has resulted in significant improvements in all areas of the company’s operations.

He said seven years after the takeover of a 60% equity stake of ExxonMobil in former Mobil Oil of Nigeria by NIPCO Plc, the parent company had made significant investments in its facilities to increase productivity and meet market demands.

He added: “ We remain optimistic about a brighter future for the company and the resilience of the nation’s economy. We hope to build on the current momentum predicted on better management of the company as professed by the new leadership. Our integrated business model coupled with the sound financial measures being adopted across our business lines give us hope for brighter outlooks in the ongoing transformation of 11Plc.

“With our projections coming to fruition, we look forward to bigger and more powerful projects coming on stream which would undoubtedly boost the company’s bottom line. Nigeria’s hydrocarbon industry, especially in the downstream sector, will continue to benefit from our brand for value addition and sustenance of nobler legacies,” he stated.

Disclosing the financial results, he said the company recorded a turnover of N526.538 billion and a profit after tax of N26.568 billion in the financial year 2023, representing a 42% and 45% increase over 2022 reports.

Chairman of the company, Ramesh Kansagra who was represented by Non – Executive Director ,Alhaji Abdilkadir Aminu said the company made significant progress in the year by exploring the Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) market and constructing facilities in Ibadan and Lagos.

“Additionally, the company installed Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG) skids in 40 outlets nationwide to invest in the future of LPG. These investments have helped the company to improve its assets and resources to deliver on shareholder commitments.

“11 Plc remains committed to the highest standards of ethics, safety, health, and environmental practices while promoting best practices in Nigeria’s downstream oil and gas sector. The company’s management framework is robust, and its business model is continually resilient to harness endless opportunities,” he stated.

Kasangra said the Board of Directors has recommended a robust dividend payout of N3,245,357,349 equivalent to 900kobo per ordinary share of 50 Kobo each, subject to shareholders approval and withholding tax deductions at the prevailing rate which was unanimously approved by shareholders .

“We are confident in our ability to continue delivering growth to our shareholders’ investments, and this dividend reaffirms our commitment to that promise,” he stated.

Kasangra further revealed that Mobil Producing Nigeria Unlimited, its primary tenant, is scheduled to vacate Mobil House in 2024, adding that the loss of their tenancy will significantly diminish its other sources of income.

“Nevertheless, our company is prepared to navigate the changes and is committed to sustainability and operational efficiency to overcome challenges and facilitate growth. We will also continue to monitor the market trends and modify pricing strategies to meet the needs of our shareholders and customers,” he stated.

Mainstream Energy To Complete Kainji Hydropower Plant Expansion By 2027

Mohammed Shosanya

The Chief Executive Officer, Mainstream Energy Solution, Lamu Audu,says his company hopes to complete the restoration, expansion, and upgrade of the Kainji Hydropower station by 2027.

The development will see the total installed capacity increase from 760 megawatts to 980 megawatts, generating an additional 320,000 kilowatt-hours of electricity per hour,he said .

According to him,the surplus power will further support local economic and social development initiatives.

He said the Kainji power station aims to construct two new units and repair another generating unit, a contract successfully secured by Chinese firms.

He also said that the lack of adequate and reliable electricity remains a significant challenge in Nigeria, and that addressing the issue aligns with their mission.

Two months ago,a team of 23 Chinese divers embarked on a meticulous repair mission at Kainji Hydropower plant. Working in shifts around the clock, they aimed to restore the underwater damaged parts within three months.

He said: “Our partnership with Power China extends beyond mere contractual obligations; it encompasses a holistic approach to bolstering various sectors of the Nigerian economy.

Speaking,the Project Manager, PowerChina HuaDong Engineering Corporation, Zhao Shejun, said his teams’ mandates involved the installation of over 70 tons of steel bars and the pouring of 3,100 cubic meters of underwater non-disposable concrete.

He said, “Our aspiration is for this initiative to showcase our capability in underwater repairs, offering solutions to challenges faced by Africans and African-owned ventures. It’s imperative to highlight China’s competitiveness in both technology and pricing, standing on par with European and American counterparts.

“From 2011 to 2016, PowerChina HuaDong Engineering Corporation played a pivotal role in repairing three generating units at the Kainji Hydropower station. These units have since operated reliably, contributing over half of the station’s power output.”

Nobody Can Sack You,Wike Tells Embattled Rivers Legislators

Mohammed Shosanya

The Minister of Federal Capital Territory (FCT) Abuja, Chief Nysom Wike has assured the 25 embattled Rivers lawmakers that nobody can use the court to remove them from the state house of assembly.

He gave the assurance on Saturday at St Martins Church Field Ogu town, Ogu/Bolo Local Government Area in Rivers State during the Grand Civic reception organised in honour of Senator George Thompson Sekibo, who celebrated 20 years of meritorious service at the National Assembly and 36 years of his life in Public Service.

He declared that despite the political maneuvering and clandestine movements to procure court injunctions against the lawmakers, nobody can sack them from the assembly, urging the lawmakers loyal to him not to be frightened.

A state high Court sitting in Port Harcourt,has Friday restrained the 25 lawmakers from parading themselves as members of the state assembly and to desist forthwith from dealing with the executive arm of the state government.

Wike said: “So nobody should kill himself. Let me say it clearly, do not be frightened that anybody will remove you as an Assembly member. Most of you do not understand, this is our work. I have no other work than to make them angry everyday. They will continue to make mistakes everyday and they will keep being in trouble everyday.

“If they like, they can go to anybody’s house by 2am to secure court injunction, but foul, the law will take its course. We are not afraid, we follow due process. We will not arm anybody to fight for us.”

The Minister, while also reacting to an earlier assertion credited to Governor Fubara insinuating that he was not going to worship any man, clarified that he did not ask anybody to worship him.

“I have never told anybody to worship me. Nobody can worship man. All of us believe that we only have one God and is only that God we will worship and we will continue to worship that God.

“We are politicians, we appreciate people who have helped us. Ogu/Bolo people, why I came to ask you to support me, you supported me. Did I worship you? But I have to appreciate you. If you did not support me I would not have been in the position that I am in.

“So where does the issue of worship come from?” He queried.

He also harped on the importance of gratitude, saying since God passes through people to lift people, it is the appreciation of the beneficiaries to his benefactor God would feel appreciated

“I came because I respect people who appreciate what God has done for them, who appreciate what God used people to do for them. God does not come down to help people. God uses people to help people. So when you have been helped and you appreciate them and then God will know that you have appreciated him.

“I want to say this clearly, in life we have made a mistake, we’ll we have made the mistake and there is nothing we can do about it.

“I have made a mistake and I have said God forgive me, and all of you forgive me, but we will correct that mistake in the appropriate time. I am a human being and I am bound to make mistakes. My judgment might be wrong so forgive me,”he added.

Drug Trafficking:Senate’s Approval Of Death Penalty Setback For Human Rights,Justice-Group

Mohammed Shosanya

Avocats Sans Frontières France (Lawyers without Borders France),says the recent approval by the Nigerian Senate of the death penalty for drug trafficking crimes in Nigeria represents a severe setback for human rights and justice in Nigeria.

It also contradicts the position presented by the Nigerian government during the just concluded Universal Periodic Review (UPR).

The Nigerian government represented by the Minister of Justice and Attorney General, Lateef Fagbemi SAN had informed the United Nations (UN) and the world on the 23rd of January, 2024 at Geneva that Nigeria has a voluntary moratorium on the death penalty,the group noted in a statement made available to Premium News on Saturday.

It also reasoned that the recent decision by the Senate is without regards to the government’s international policy on the death penalty.

It said:”This approval of the death penalty for drug related offences contradicts the UN resolution on the death penalty which was adopted in 2023[1]. The resolution states that countries that retain the death penalty should actively work on strictly limiting its application to the “most serious crimes under international law”, a threshold that drug offences do not meet. Retentionist countries like Nigeria that apply the mandatory death penalty were also urged to abolish this practice.

“It should be noted that in 2015, the Federal Government of Nigeria condemned the Indonesia Government for the execution of two Nigerians by firing squad due to drug-related offences. It is therefore surprising and inconsistent that the same government will turn around to approve the death penalty for drug-related offences in Nigeria, a policy they had once condemned publicly”.

According to the statement,progressive justice systems must be effective and result driven,adding that execution of the death penalty is irreversible and leaves no room for reconsideration even in the face of new evidence.

It said,this lack of flexibility can lead to a plethora of wrongful executions and miscarriages of justice which can never be reversed.

Reacting,the Country Director of ASF France, Angela Uwandu Uzoma-Iwuchukwu said “No state should have the power to take a life because it is against the very principle of reformative and restorative justice and also a violation of the Right to Life. We therefore urge the Nigerian Government to reverse its position on the death penalty for drug trafficking. Instead of resorting to extreme and ineffective measures, we also urge the government to focus on evidence-based policies and measures that address the root causes of drug trafficking and promote justice and human rights in Nigeria”.

She was quoted as saying that ASF France’s position against the death penalty should not be misconstrued as support for criminal activities.

The statement said:”We firmly believe in upholding justice, human rights, and the rule of law. Our opposition to the death penalty for all crimes stems from our commitment to promoting effective, evidence-based solutions that address the root causes of crime and uphold the dignity and rights of all individuals in the process.

“ASF France has been working in Nigeria to advance the promotion and protection of human rights. We have been supporting reforms in the use of the death penalty while providing access to justice for persons facing the death penalty”.

Man Apologizes To Ooni Over Fake Viral Claim

Mohammed Shosanya

A man who claimed in a viral video that he is a son of the Ooni of Ife, Oba Enitan Ogunwusi, has apologised to the traditional ruler.

In the first video,he claimed the monarch hid him with his mother with an instruction that he should stay secret.

“Oba Enitan Ogunwunsi is my father. He hid me with my mother with a clear instruction that I must not reveal myself,” the man dressed in a white Agbada had claimed in Yoruba.

He further disclosed that the monarch’s silence on his identity as a prince compelled him to make the video.

He gave a two-month ultimatum to be invited to the palace, or he will reveal more secrets.

In another video that surfaced online on Friday,the man was seen apologising to the traditional ruler.

He said he had earlier seen the Ooni in a dream in 2022 engaging him in a discussion after which he gave him a wrist bead.

He claimed he had another dream involving the Ooni a month ago.

He said, “I have a reason for creating that video. In 2022, I found myself beside the Ooni in my dream, engaging in discussions. Initially, I was unaware that it was a dream because Kabiyesi gave me the bead on my wrist. However, when Kabiyesi raised my hand, that was when I woke.

“Upon waking, I was perplexed about how I had encountered the Ooni of Ife but later concluded that he is the father of Oduduwa land. Dreaming about him is not unusual or inappropriate. I have never dreamt about an Oba before; typically, I dream about governors, not an Oba.

“Three days after this dream, I travelled to Ile-Ife in an attempt to meet the Ooni. Despite all my efforts, I could not see Kabiyesi, and I departed in the evening after spending the entire day at the Ooni’s palace.”

He said since he was unable to meet the traditional ruler he resorted to creating the video as a means to attract his attention.

He said:“I created the video after returning home from Ooni’s palace because I sensed there was a significance behind the dream I had about him. Additionally, I produced music with the hope that when Ooni sees it online, he may extend an invitation to me.

“Furthermore, I reached out to someone in Canada to recommend a contact who could facilitate a meeting with the Ooni. The person recommended to me, guided me through certain protocols, but all attempts to meet the Ooni or have him listen to my music proved unsuccessful.

“A month ago, I dreamt of the Ooni once more, and I pondered what significance it might hold. As a creator of skits, I decided to produce the final skit to further emphasize my desire to meet the Ooni. This is why I referred to the Ooni as my father in the video.”

He pleaded with Ooni that he did not make the videos to defame him.

“My esteemed father, please do not be displeased with me. I did not create the video to defame you; rather, I made it to attract your attention so that I could narrate my dream to you and hopefully meet you,” he said.

He added that it was not an error to address the Ooni as his father because he is the leader of the Oduduwa descendants.

CSR: NNPC/First E&P JV Gives NGOs N53.4m

Mohammed Shosanya

The Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited (NNPC Ltd) and First Exploration & Production Limited (First E&P) joint venture (JV) has donated the sum of N53million to non-governmental organizations (NGOs) in Nigeria.

Under the JV’s Impact First Initiative, the donation, targeted towards enhancing societal welfare, would address areas such as good healthcare and well-being, quality education as well as economic growth within the nation,Olufemi Soneye,Chief Corporate Communications Officer,NNPC Ltd,said in a statement.

During the cheque presentation ceremony, NNPC Ltd’s Chief Upstream Investment Officer (CUIO), NNPC Upstream Investment Management Services (NUIMS), Mr. Bala Wunti, expressed gratitude to First E & P for initiating the laudable programme,the statement quoted.

Represented by the Deputy Manager, External Relations, NUIMS, Mrs. Edith Lawson, Wunti highlighted NNPC Ltd’s belief in the power of CSR, stressing that the Company remains committed to working with its partners to impact the lives of the less-privileged.

Wunti said under the initiative, projects and programmes executed include the provision of classrooms, ICT Centres, laboratories and other infrastructural intervention projects, scholarships, quiz competitions, skill acquisitions, and economic empowerment, a testimony to NNPC’s dedication to fostering sustainable development in Nigeria.

He described First E & P’s foresight and leadership as commendable, adding that the partner has spearheaded the initiative towards meaningful change that will ensure a better future for all Nigerians.

Among the beneficiaries of the donation were the Irede Foundation, which provides custom-made artificial limbs to child amputees aged 0-18 and Human Development Initiative (HDI), which focuses on tackling fundamental issues of poverty, injustice, neglect, deprivation, and equality among vulnerable people.

Others were the OISA Foundation, which transforms lives through interventions in the education and healthcare sectors; Cerebral Palsy Center, which renders support to families with children with cerebral palsy as well as the Niola Cancer Care Foundation, which organises awareness talks and screens communities for colon cancer.

Police To Arraign FIJ Reporter, Ojukwu In Court

Mohammed Shosanya

The Nigeria Police Force,says reporter of Foundation for Investigative Journalism,Mr.Daniel Ojukwu,who regained his freedom on Friday,has a case to answer on account of preliminary forensic investigation, and recovery of some contents generated by the journalist.

He will be arraigned in court upon conclusion of investigations into his alleged involvement in alleged cyber related crimes,Olumuyiwa Adejobi,Force Public Relations Officer,Force Headquarters ,Abuja,said in a statement made available to Premium News.

According to him,these allegations stem from a report concerning financial transactions and contract execution upon which he was petitioned to the Nigeria Police for investigations.

He said,Mr. Ojukwu was lawfully apprehended and detained pursuant to a valid remand warrant issued by a competent court of justice on May 2nd 2024.

His initial detention in Lagos and subsequent transfer to Abuja by the FCID-National Cybercrime Centre (NCCC) aligns with standard investigative procedures undertaken by police.

He said,the Police did not deny Mr. Ojukwu bail, as it was predicated on him meeting the conditions set for the bail.

He added:” has however been released upon providing a reliable surety today Friday 10th May, 2024, pending the commencement of prosecution at the Federal High Court which has jurisdiction over cyber related crimes”.

” It is instructive to note that his release has no correlation with the unwarranted protest held at the Police Headquarters on 9th May, 2024, but strictly due to him meeting the bail requirements and the policy of the Force on being rule of law compliant.

“The Nigeria Police Force remains steadfast in its duty to maintain law and order, uphold justice, and safeguard the rights of all citizens. We urge the public and media outlets to refrain from speculations and undue media trial in order to avoid jeopardizing the legal procedures in the case”.

Two In Police Net Over Alleged Rape Of Ajayi Crowther University Student

Mohammed Shosanya

Two persons have been arrested for allegedly raping a student of Ajayi Crowther University,Oyo.

This was conveyed through a press statement signed by Mr Olufemi John Atoyebi,the Public Relations Officer of the University.

He stated that Ajayi Crowther University Management has promptly handed over to the police, the two suspects,while the university has set up its own internal panel of inquiry to investigate the allegation.

The statement further maintained that the Management of Ajayi Crowther University, Oyo received with shock a report of an alleged rape of one of the school’s female students by two of its vigilance group.

The school reiterated that it will not tolerate any act of misconduct capable of tarnishing its image.

EFCC Warns Banks Against Unauthorized Disclosure Of Investigation Activities

Mohammed Shosanya

The Executive Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, Mr. Ola Olukoyede has told compliance officers of banks in the country to desist from unauthorized disclosure of EFCC’s investigation activities and request from banks to their customers.

He spoke through the Acting Zonal Director of the Ibadan Zonal Command of the EFCC, ACE I Hauwa Garba Ringim during a stakeholders’ meeting with Compliance Officers of Banks in Oyo State.

According to him,the EFCC is aware of the fact that Compliance Officers give information to their clients regarding ‘letters of investigation activities’ written to the banks from the EFCC,adding that, the act usually jeopardizes the investigation exercise of financial crimes and delay corruption cases from being filed before the law court.

He decried the unhealthy support fraudsters receive from the banking sector in Nigeria,stressing that it is posing considerable challenges and concerns to the Commission.

He also urged them to always respond to letters received from the Commission with certified true copies including instruments of transactions of beneficiaries or sources, as this will expedite processes of investigation to a logical conclusion.

Besides,he stated that illegal dealings and trading in naira with the Point-of-sale (POS) operators must stop.

“What we notice and see around lately is that Nigerians can only withdraw a small amount of their money with the banks in Automated Teller Machine (ATMs) but POS operators evidently go around with huge amounts of money gotten from the banks. This is not fair to Nigerians and we must fight it head-on”, he said.

He assured the Compliance Officers of the Commission’s support at all times, as “they remain relevant stakeholders in the fight against economic and financial crimes.”