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page 7 Agriculture, viable revenue earner – Ambode From Femi Akinola, Lagos Lagos State Governor, Mr. Akinwunmi Ambode has said that the harsh times in…

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Agriculture, viable revenue earner – Ambode

From Femi Akinola, Lagos

Lagos State Governor, Mr. Akinwunmi Ambode has said that the harsh times in the oil sector and its attendant impact on government revenue made it imperative to look inward for creative ways of growing the economy of the country and boosting gross domestic product.

The governor stated this yesterday while addressing the 4th European Union-Nigeria Business Forum 2015 held in Lagos. He said the agribusiness sector remains one of the most viable areas that the Federal and State Governments must give adequate attention to boost its revenue generation.

He noted that the agricultural sector serves as a ready alternative source of revenue generation not only to Government but also to individuals and private organisations through the various agro-allied value chains.

He commended the organisers for the theme of this year’s forum, “Unlocking Opportunities for Diversification”, saying it was apt as it would afford participants to focus on addressing the obstacles to the effective development of the agricultural value chain.

He assured that his administration would continue to build on the policies put in place by the previous administration to enhance rapid development in the sector, adding that so far, the government has energised the Agriculture Land Holding Authority (ALHA), to make more land readily available for Agricultural development.

He also urged prospective investors to take advantage of the wetland environment as well as a 1,500 hectares reserve of tropical hard woods to invest in water hyacinth recycling, fisheries and fish farm estate, arable crop estates, rice processing mill, livestock resources, forestry, agricultural equipment and human capacity development in Agriculture.

“Furthermore, in recognition of the need to create an enabling environment and enhance the ease of doing business in Lagos State we have established the Office of Overseas Affairs and Investment (also called Lagos Global) directly under my office.

“Lagos Global is a one-stop shop designed to ensure that whatever information, assistance, conditions, etc may be required by investors from the state government towards facilitating their investment in the State are provided swiftly and expeditiously, and in an environment devoid of bureaucratic bottlenecks,” he said.

Aisha Buhari Initiatives screens 3000 women in Enugu

From Tony Adibe, Enugu

More than 3000 women resident in Enugu State benefited from the free medical screen carried out on them during the visit of the First Lady, Aisha Buhari.

The screening which commenced before 7.00am Thursday was performed under the canopy of Mrs. Buhari’s pet project the Health Screening Initiative (HSI) programme at Queens School, Enugu.

At least there were ten different screening points within the school compound where women – both urban and rural dwellers – were thoroughly tested by some medical doctors.

Some of those who were screened were issued referral notes to hospitals for adequate treatment.

The beneficiaries in their thousands expressed excitement for the exercise which they confessed was the first of its kind introduced by any First Lady since the creation of the Coal City State.

Addressing the crowd, the First Lady said her husband’s administration was for unity, integrity, transparency, credibility and honesty.

She therefore called on all Nigerian women to support the government since it would benefit all Nigerians.

Also speaking, wife of Enugu State Governor, Mrs. Monica Ugochi Ugwuanyi said it was a miracle for such huge number of women to be screened and commended the First Lady for the kind gesture, adding that the pride of the women had been restored by Mrs. Buhari.

2404 pensioners for verification in Katsina

From Habibu Umar Aminu, Katsina

About 2404 pensioners are expected to be verified in Katsina during the on going nationwide Pension Transitional Arrangement Directorate (PTAD) verification exercise in the state.

Speaking during an inspection visit, PTAD Executive Secretary Nellie Mayshak said the exercise was aimed at establishing a credible, authentic and digitalized database of pensioners under the Defined Benefit Scheme (DBS)

According to her, this is in addition to eliminating duplicate payments and ghost workers and too regularize anomalies such as over payments and under payments.

She said arrangement were made to ensure that even those bedridden are met at there door mouth or hospital beds to ensure they captured.

While calling on support from all stakeholders, Mayshak said the exercise so far has been going on smoothly giving the cooperation and orderly manners exhibited by all concerned authorities.

Some of the pensioners spoken expressed satisfaction over the exercise and commended the PTAD for the free food and. Water to all those attending the exercise.

Ex-militants endorse Dickson, vow to end kidnapping

From Chris Eze, Yenagoa

Former freedom fighters under the aegis of Peace and Cultural Development Initiative, (PCDI) have pledged to work with the Bayelsa State government and the security agencies to end kidnapping and other forms of crime in the State.

The leader of PCDI, Chief Jepthah Kalaiti, made the pledge when he led over 200 ex militants on a courtesy call on Bayelsa State governor, Henry Seriake Dickson yesterday.

He said their decision to partner with government was premised on the outstanding performance and achievements of the governor, especially in the area of security and his quest to transform the state by attracting foreign investors to the state.

Kalaiti who said they were impressed with the performance of Governor Dickson in office, seized the occasion to endorse his re-election bid for another term in office. .

According to him, the pace of Dickson’s achievements within the short period, coupled with his fatherly role as a leader of Ijaw Nation, it behoves on them as a group to stand and fight for peace in the State before, during and after the elections.

Kalaiti said they have organized themselves into groups in readiness for operation against kidnappers in the State and against mischief makers during the election, adding that they have lived and worked together as a group and know how to work in synergy.

Responding,Governor Dickson reiterated his commitment to the peace and development of the state, stressing that no meaningful development could take place in the atmosphere of crisis.

MASSOB gives solders ultimatum over members’ arrest

Beatrice Onuchukwu Awka

The Movement for Actualization of Sovereign State of Biafra, MASSOB, yesterday gave the military in Anambra State 48 hours within which to release five of its members allegedly arrested in various locations.

The Regional Administrator for Nnewi South Local Government Area, Tony Nwodo said, “we will shut down Anambra State if the five arrested members are not released within 48 hours”.

He said that those arrested includes, the MASSOB Ebuka Okolo, Utu Area Administrator- Eugene Odoh, Friday Nwoye, Sunday Amaechi and Chuma Okonkwo

“Eugene Odoh was picked from his shop at No. 2 Chukwurah Street, off Awka road, Onitsha, yesterday evening. They stormed his shop with six hilux buses and a sienna bus and made away with N50,000 from his shop after ransacking his shop and up till now his where about and four others is unknown.

“These four others were picked from their homes and on the road without committing any offence, “ he added.

“We will not take this. If they are not released after 48 hours, we will show the military the stuff we are made of even if we are a non violent body fighting to actualize a sovereign state of Biafra,” he warned.

Fuel price hits N110 in Yobe

Hamisu Kabir Matazu, Damaturu

Price of Premium Motor Spirit (PMS) has risen suddenly in Yobe state, selling at N110 per litre against the Federal government approved pump price of N87.

Local government areas affected by the hike includes Potiskum, Nguru, Gashua and the state capital, Damaturu.

This development has occasioned queues at the only NNPC mega station in Damaturu where fuel is sold between 7:30am to 1pm daily at N87.

Although Department for Petrolium Resources, DPR, have continue to closed filling station for none compliance in the country, but no such effort was made in Yobe for the past one week.

When our correspondent rove round Damaturu metropolis, most of the independent marketers were not selling. Further checks revealed that the independent marketers usually had local arrangement on the limited number of stations to operate per day so as to starve motorist and sell exorbitantly.

A motorist queing at NNPC mega station, Damaturu, Alhaji Ahmadu Bukar lamented that N1,000 which used to purchase more than ten litres of Petrol for his vehicle could barely afford eight litres following the prevailing situation.

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