Skip to content Skip to left sidebar Skip to right sidebar Skip to footer

Author: John Ndibe

Farmer lauds Nigeria’s policy in promoting agriculture

By Tanko Mohammed 

Mr Africafarmer Mogaji, Chairman, Agriculture and Agro-Allied Group, Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI), has lauded the Federal Government for investing in the agricultural sector in the country. 

Mogaji spoke on Wednesday in Lagos while reviewing President Muhammadu Buhari administration and the country’s 60-years anniversary. 

He commended the federal government for facilitating more private sector involvement in the agricultural sector. 

He said the government had put in more incentives and initiated programmes that are taking effect down in the sector. 

He added the Buhari-led administration has done well by involving the private sector operators and increasing their commitment into the agriculture space. 

According to him, considering awareness and sincerity in developing the sector, the administration should be commended. 

“For the investment and commitment in creating awareness, I will give it to the government. 

“They have introduced more incentives and initiatives that are trickling down. 

“I will say they (federal government) are doing really well for co-opting the private sector for more commitment to developing agriculture sector,’’ he said. 

Mogaji, however, said that the country has not fully utilise all opportunities available in the area of export. 

Appraising the exports opportunities available to grow the nation’s economy, Mogaji said the country has not done well. 

“Considering the opportunities available, I don’t think we have done well, considering awareness and sincerity in developing the agriculture sector for export,’’ he said. 

Speaking on agriculture mechanisation, he said that Nigeria has not done well because “subsistence farming is still prevalent among our people’’. 

He added that this was because the government has not adapted the right mechanisation. 

He added that Nigeria was still heavily focused on the old ways of doing things. 

“We are not doing well right now because we have not adapted the right mechanisation. 

“We are still heavily focused on old syllabus; we are still focusing on commercial agriculture as against commercial production. 

“There is a difference between commercial agriculture and commercial production; what is being sold to the government and others is commercial agriculture. 

“This translates to getting these equipment, own 1,000 hectares of land and farm tomato on it, as against commercial production where 100 farmers are on 1,000 hectares as against two persons. 

“It is taken the government a while to wake up to that reality, especially through Nigeria Incentives based Risk Sharing System for Agricultural Lending (NIRSAL). 

“Our focus now should be commercial production and not commercial agriculture because NIRSAL is promoting commercial agriculture.’’  

Agriculture experts unveils potency of bio-fuel from rice waste

By Moses Uwagbale 

The Agro-Processing Productivity Enhancement and Livelihood Improvements (APPEALS) project, a World Bank, Federal and Lagos State Government initiative, says production of bio-fuel from rice husk is an untapped goldmine. 

Mrs Oluranti Sageo-Oviebo, the State Project Coordinator, made this known Wednesday in Lagos. 

Sageo-Oviebo said that demonstration of the technology had become imperative owing to the projects and Lagos State Ministry of Agriculture’s various interventions to develop rice value chain in form of productivity enhancement. 

Theme of the demonstration is: “Demonstration of Commercial Production of Bio-Fuel (Briquette) to Lagos State Farmers”. 

It was held at the Rice Cottage Processing Centre, Ikoga, Badagry in Lagos on Sept. 29 as a proactive measure toward reducing waste generation from rice husk. 

Sageo-Oviebo said the project, in its foresight, was introducing the technology, because “there is bound to be an increase in waste generation. 

“As a result of increased rice yield, there is need to turn the waste into wealth for farmers in the value chain. 

“As a result of the intervention of the project as well as the Ministry of Agriculture on rice farming, we know that in the next few months, there is going to be huge rice wastes generated. 

“Considering the soon-to-be commissioned 32 metric tons rice mill by the state government in Imota, Ikorodu, that is why there is need for us to empower our farmers, train them and build their capacity on the utilisation of wastes while converting it into wealth. 

“That is why we have this demonstration on the production of bio-fuel, which is basically the rice briquette to be generated from the wastes in rice production. 

“Jobs will be created as a result of this, because lots of women and young people will adopt this technology. 

“Hopefully, the beneficiaries will adopt these technologies and we will be able to export this briquette out of Nigeria. 

“The technologies are easy to adopt and inexpensive and the beauty of the project, when you demonstrate a technology and you see that you can use it, whatever effort you make, the project comes and see what you have done, then look for ways to support you,” she said. 

Sageo-Oviebo said that the feedback from all the value chain, had been satisfactory. 

“Everyday, we have new intending farmers coming on board and telling us they want to start farming as a result of what they have seen. 

“We have been able to support 10 Commodity Interest Groups (CIGs) in Gberefun and five CIGs in Ghanido. 

“The 10 translates to a 100 and the five to a 50 more farmers. With all these supports, we are going to have a lot of rice and its attendant wastes,” she said. 

Commenting, Mr Idris Balogun, Productivity, Enhancement Specialist, Lagos State APPEALS, said using the briquette for drying foods would make them wholesome for consumption and environmentally friendly. 

According to Balogun, the utilisation of the waste into wealth would improve the livelihoods of farmers because it was an untapped goldmine. 

“It is the utilisation of rice husk considered as waste into wealth generation. From the demonstration, they will burn the husk and then start moulding the briquette. 

“With all the supports, there will be more yields, so we thought of ways to solve that challenge, putting into consideration the environment and we concluded that processing into briquette was the safest and cheapest. 

“The idea of felling tree for firewood and charcoal should be brought to the barest minimum. Using this briquette will make our foods more wholesome because it does not emit carbon dioxide. 

“The machines are affordable and we have presented three types, depending on what the farmers can cope with,” Balogun said. 

Also, Mr Wale Karunwi, Managing Director, Kalos Afro Homes Integrated Farms, said that the briquette do not smoke or emit dangerous gasses. 

Karunwi said: “Today, we are talking about briquette from rice husk. 

“This briquette does not smoke, at the point of processing the rice husk into briquette, those injurious gasses have been eliminated, making it safer than ordinary charcoal. 

“This technology is known globally, but we are just getting to know it in Nigeria, and it has become imperative because of the hazards inherent using charcoal and firewood. 

“It is an emerging market and since I have been using it in my farm, we have been overwhelmed from people coming to us with their rice husk. 

“Rice husk is gold, they can also be converted to organic fertiliser,” he said. 

In his remarks, Mr Segun Atho, the National Deputy President, Rice Farmers Association of Nigeria (RIFAN) said: “It is a welcome development. 

“If we can put it into use, we will achieve a lot because this is a professional development for rice value chain. The machines are available and affordable. 

“However, government can assist in the form of providing the equipment then you will see some of us specialising in that aspect,” Atho said. 

Contributing, Mrs Elizabeth Odu, a rice farmer from Gberefun, Badagry, commended APPEALS and the Lagos State government for the initiative. 

NDPHC moves to boost power supply

By Chris Ndibe 

Niger Delta Power Holding Company (NDPHC) on Wednesday said it was intensifying efforts to increase power supply to industrial clusters in Lagos and Ogun States through its Eligible Customer drive. 

Mr Chiedu Ugbo, Managing Director, NDPHC, made this known while speaking with  newsmen after an inspection visit to Olorunsogo Power Generation Company in Ogun. 

Ugbo said the management of NDPHC had recently met with Gov. Babajide Sanwo-Olu of Lagos State and his Ogun counterpart, Mr Dapo Abiodun, to solicit their support and cooperation in furtherance of the objective. 

He said the company, which had 10 power generation plants across the country, had signed an agreement with Ibadan Electricity Distribution Company for reliable power supply to industrial clusters in areas under its network. 

Ugbo said the Olorunsogo Power Plant had a capacity of 750MW, but had a limited off take from the Transmission Company of Nigeria (TCN) which lead to energy losses. 

He said: “We came here with IBDC that is in charge of most of the South West States to discuss with them in terms of distribution to end users. 

“Our distribution essentially is how we can work together under bilateral agreement that will see us supply the electricity to them and they will distribute to eligible customers. 

“This will include industrial clusters and even residential clusters.” 

According to him, the assets of NDPHC were established by monies belonging to Nigerians by the government and should therefore be utilised for the benefit of the people. 

He noted that the transmission network presently cannot allow Nigerians to take electricity directly from generation companies. 

Ugbo said: “The electricity is there,  however, the transmission company is unable to take all that is being generated. 

“So we came with Ibadan DisCo to see what the challenges are, what the network bottlenecks are and how we can work with them and do an end-to-end from the power plant to the end users.” 

Buhari’s 9-Point Agenda will transform Nigeria

By Tanko Mohammed 

Some Nigerians have commended the Nine-Point Agenda of the Federal Government, saying it is well conceived but requires enormous political will to drive it to fruition, particularly in agriculture sector. 

They noted that the government had also done well in  the fights against corruption, however,  security sector needed more efforts. 

They also lauded the economic diversification drive of the government, noting that “it is the key to creating jobs and reducing poverty.’’ 

The respondents in separate interviews in Kebbi, Kaduna and Kano states, however, said that a lot still needed to be done in tackling emerging security challenges such as kidnapping and banditry. 

The Kebbi Chairman of Wheat Farmers Association of Nigeria (WFAN), Alhaji Abdullahi Argungu, said that the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari’s agricultural intervention policies and programmes, had added value to the agricultural sector. 

Argungu commended the government’s anchor borrowers programmes meant to assist farmers in boosting crop production in the country. 

“I must commend the present administration for its various programmes in the agricultural sector. It has really done well, and we the people of Kebbi state, especially the farmers have benefitted tremendously from the Buhari administration,” he said. 

He advised the government to pursue the Nine-Point Agenda with vigour so that Nigerians would feel the impact of the policies. 

“I must say that the efforts of the government are rarely felt in other sectors of the economy, but we are grateful in the state as we are more concerned with agriculture than other sectors,” he said. 

Argungu appealed to the Federal Government to provide tractors for each local government area in Nigeria for mechanised agriculture. 

Alhaji Muhammad Idris, the Secretary, All Farmers Association of Nigeria (AFAN), said the administration had laid a legacy of wealth creation, employment generation and economic prosperity through its active policy of agricultural revival. 

He commended President Buhari for protecting the interests of local farmers by prohibiting food import, closing Nigeria’s borders and uplifting the value of agricultural produce internally. 

“President Buhari did not just close our borders simply because he wants to do so, it is because he has the interest of protecting Nigerian farmers first,” he said. 

Idris urged the Federal Government to fulfil its commitment to the provision of finance, farm inputs, implements and training on modern farming methodologies to farmers. 

He also praised the Federal Government’s rice intervention programme, saying the initiative saved the nation during the COVID-19 lockdown. 

“Everywhere was locked down without movement and importation but the local rice production sustained the economy,” he said. 

According to him, through RIFAN and the Central Bank of Nigeria’s (CBN) Anchor Borrowers Scheme, rice farmers in the state received various inputs. 

He said the inputs included organic fertiliser, agro-chemicals, knapsack sprayers and pumping machines which boosted rice production geometrically. 

Also speaking, the National Chairman of Amana Farmers and Grains Suppliers Association of Nigeria (AFGASAN), Alhaji Haruna Pambeguwa, lauded the government’s agricultural initiatives. 

“I think the Federal Government is really trying its best but more still needed to be done, especially in ensuring that these lofty programmes get to rural farmers. 

“This will attract women and the youth to embrace farming,’’ he said. 

Meanwhile, some residents of Kafanchan in Jema’a Local Government Area of Kaduna State  urged the government to intensify efforts in tackling insecurity and reviving the economy. 

The residents also called on the Buhari-led administration to step up the fight against corruption. 

Mr Peter Averik, the Executive Chairman of Jema’a Local Government Area, said though the Federal Government had made progress in tackling insecurity, some challenges still remained in kidnappings and banditry. 

Averik called on the Federal Government to work toward bringing about greater synergy between security agencies and communities if the fight against crime was to be won. 

“An effective collaboration between communities and the security outfits is necessary if we are to successfully stage the war against kidnappings and the rest. 

“I am urging the Federal Government to look into ways of making such a partnership possible,” he said 

On the fight against corruption, he urged the anti-graft agencies to be holistic in the campaign and carry out thorough investigations before presenting it cases in court. 

On her part, Evelyn Nyangwa, an economist, commended the economic diversification drive of government, noting that it is the key to creating jobs and reducing poverty. 

Nyangwa, however, decried the huge cost of governance, stressing that Nigeria “is set up for bankruptcy with its current governance structure’’. 

Mr John Yero, a businessman advised the government to do more in expanding access to quality education as education is the bedrock of any prosperous society. 

He implored the government to demonstrate the needed political will to bring to fruition the policies and programmes it had formulated. 

“The Federal Government’s nine point agenda looks good on paper, but it has to match words with action. 

“The government has to demonstrate that will to see to it that the policies and programmes it has in place translate into better life for all Nigerians,” he added 

In Kano, some residents also commended Buhari over the successes recorded in the anti-corruption campaign in the past five years in the country. 

They also called for proactive measures to sustain the feat achieved in the campaign for sustainable social and economic development in the country. 

Mr Saidu Bala, a bank employee, said that it was necessary for the government to consolidate on the feat achieved to address corruption, promote transparency and accountability in governance. 

Bala noted that the president had demonstrated greater political commitment to address the problem of corruption, which had been identified as the major bane in Nigeria’s sustainable development. 

“The country is facing many challenges, President Buhari appears to be on the right track to end corruption and build a better Nigeria. 

“The fight against corruption made significant progress in view of the high profile people prosecuted and convicted for corruption offences in the past five years. 

“The fight against insurgency is encouraging, but much needs to be done in parts of the Northwest and Northcentral regions to end banditry, kidnapping and other criminal activities.” 

Bala urged Nigerians to support government policies and programmes to fast track efforts in rebranding Nigeria. 

Another resident, Mr Muhammad Kasimu, a lawyer, said the president had clearly demonstrated unwavering commitment to building a peaceful and prosperous country. 

“President Buhari administration’s agenda on the fight against corruption is best positive thing in the past four decades in the country. 

“It is also encouraging the way and manner the President allows the anti-graft agencies free hand to operate without undue interference. 

“The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC); Independent Corrupt Practices And Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC), and the Code of Conduct Bureau (CCB) have achieved a lot under his stewardship. 

“Buhari’s transparent leadership style and his respect for the rule of law are a thing of joy to Nigerians and rekindle our hope of a united country,” he said. 

Kasimu said that prosecution of suspected officials and recovery of looted funds by the anti-graft agencies “are also commendable’’. 

Mrs Rahima Salisu and Ali Musa, both traders, lauded the financial investment schemes initiated by the Buhari administration to support the growth of Small and Medium Scale Enterprises (SMEs). 

Salisu said that women and youth had benefitted from the programme designed to boost women’s social and economic status as well as provide employment opportunities to the youths. 

She called for the review of the programme to expand its scope and mobilise participation of more women in urban and rural communities. 

“Effective measures are necessary to ensure that targeted population benefit from the programme to reduce poverty and enhance wealth creation in the society,” she said.  

Nigerians calls for full deregulation of oil, gas sector

By Chris Ndibe 

As the nation clocks 60, key players in the oil and gas industry say full deregulation of the sector and deepening of gas utilisation will help Nigeria actualise her full potentialities. 

The stakeholders also called for the speedy passage of the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB) and increased Public-Private Partnership (PPP) toward repositioning the sector. 

Mr Chinedu Okoronkwo, President, Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria (IPMAN) said the removal of petrol subsidy and the full deregulation of the industry was needed to attract investors. 

Okoronkwo commended the Federal Government’s courage in removing subsidy on petrol, noting that this had encouraged investment in modular refineries. 

“Subsidy is one of the things holding the industry down and it is obvious that the country does not have the funds to continue to subsidise petrol. 

“What has happened is that a lot of people are now coming into refining. 

“A few weeks ago, we saw that Walter Smith refinery in Imo was almost ready; another one is coming up in Bayelsa while Dangote Refinery in Lagos is nearing completion. 

“Also, Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) has started the move to bring in private investors so that they can help in reviving the four moribund refineries. 

“I see a situation that rather than importing petroleum, we will be a net exporter in a few years’ time,’’ the IPMAN president said. 

He lauded the government’s plan to increase domestic gas utilisation, which he said was also vital to make-up for the lost years that the country had focused mainly on petroleum. 

“Moving forward, I think the country is beginning to get things right. 

“We are developing the gas sector, which I think will be the anchor that will help this country regain its economic direction,” he said. 

With such step, he said a lot of things would happen, both in terms of pharmaceutical, agriculture, textile and other industries that would begin to blossom again. 

“We have abundant gas to turn things around and government has started working on that. 

“They have been meeting stakeholders and have prepared the ground on how gas can now be utilised for vehicles, generators and other domestic uses. 

“Gas is cheaper and environmentally friendly. So, the future will be very bright if we as a nation are able to access cheaper energy,’’ Okoronkwo said. 

Also dwelling on the removal of petrol subsidy, Mr Tunji Oyebanji, Chairman, Major Oil Marketers Association of Nigeria (MOMAN), said it was one of the steps that industry stakeholders had been clamouring for. 

Oyebanji said that the country was broke and could no longer afford subsidy and there was no provision for it in the budget. 

With this, the incentive for smuggling will be reduced, while more funds will be available to the government for investment in infrastructure, roads, health, education and power,’’ he said. 

He also commended the government for creating the National Gas Expansion Programme (NGEP), which according to him, had already began the implementation of reforms and policies to deepen the domestic gas market. 

Oyebanji said MOMAN was in support of the autogas policy of the government because it was a cheaper alternative to petrol and would also create a lot of jobs for Nigerians. 

Mr Wilson Opuwei, the Chief Executive Officer, Dateline Energy Services Limited, spoke in line with Oyebanji’s view, saying that the removal of petrol subsidy was inevitable because it only favoured a few Nigerian elites. 

Opuwei noted that what government was trying to do was to take those funds to other sectors and help develop infrastructure. 

According to him it also frees government from trying to balance the price fluctuation of crude oil at the international market. 

“Ultimately, that is going to happen,’’ he said. 

He, however, urged the government to create an enabling environment through legislation and policies such as the Petroleum Industry Bill to encourage investments, particularly in the exploration and production areas of the sector. 

Opuwei said: “Government should learn to enter into Public-Private Partnerships with both local and international entities who have the capacity and are ready to invest in our oil and gas sector. 

“Government should identify such entities and create a mutually beneficial working relationship with them. 

“They will, in turn, bring their international experience, expertise and technology transfer to the nation.’’ 

Meanwhile, Mr Justice Derefaka, Technical Adviser on Gas Business and Policy Implementation to the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources said the government’s focus on gas was deliberate and in line with national development. 

Derefaka told NAN that this was the rationale behind the declaration of the year 2020 as the ‘Year of Gas’. 

He stressed that various policies and programmes were being implemented towards achieving that objective. 

The technical adviser said the programmes include the inauguration of the National Gas Expansion Programme (NGEP) committee, the National Gas Transportation Network Code, ongoing Marginal Field Bid Round and the construction of the Ajaokuta-Kaduna-Kano (AKK) gas pipeline. 

“Nigeria needs to use gas and invest in critical sectors of our economy like education, health, infrastructure and agriculture to provide a solid base for industrialisation, local value addition, economic development and sustainable growth.’’