Border closure: Agriculturist advocates mega mills to boost rice production



An agriculturist, Alhaji Abba Kale, has called for the establishment of mega rice mills to accelerate production and achieve self-sufficiency in the country.

Kale made the call in an interview with the Nigeria News Agency on Saturday in Maiduguri.

Kale, who is one of the Anchor Borrower Programme (ABP) clients in the Northeast, called on the Federal Government to support the establishment of modern mega rice mills in each of the 109 senatorial districts in the country.

He said that the call was imperative to encourage processing, value addition, enhance farmer enterprising skills, promote competition and create market for the produce.

“We have paddy rice in prolific abundance, the produce cultivated by the farmers is higher than the capacity of the existing mills in the country.

“The ban on importation of foreign rice is a well come development, and the sudden hike in prices occasioned by the border closure can be pushed down and control through mass production.

“Most of the mills in operation lack basic equipment such as boiler, driers and trash machines to enable them produce high quality rice to meet local demands and for export.

“It is desirable for the Federal Government to support establishment of mega mills by businesses in each of the senatorial districts to encourage productivity and attain self-sufficiency,” he said.

Kale also urged state governments to adopt proactive measures to mobilise participation in the ABP scheme to encourage agricultural activities, processing, provide job opportunities and enhance wealth creation in the society.

Commenting on the border closure, Kale said the measure would reinvigorate agriculture and manufacturing, stimulate government’s drive to diversify the economy and enhance security in the country.

Kale called on the people to support government policies and programmes as well as patronise local products for sustainable social and economic development of the country.

NAN reports that ABP is a critical component of the Federal Government’s agriculture transformation agenda designed to encourage production and processing to achieve self-sufficiency.

It is also aimed at enhancing farmers’ access to fertilisers, seeds, inputs, promote farmer enterprising skills, value addition and create market for the produce.

The programme is being implemented by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), in collaboration with the Bank of Agriculture (BOA), Nigeria Agriculture Insurance Corporation (NAIC), farmer associations and designated agricultural input dealers known as  d private anchors.

Edited by Ese E. Ekama


Military rescues 13 kidnapped foreigners



The Defence Headquarters says the military in its operations in the South-South zone of the country has rescued 13 foreigners who were kidnapped in Lome waters.

The Coordinator, Defence Media Operations, Maj.-Gen. John Enenche, said this at the updates briefing on military operations in August across the country on Thursday in Abuja.

Enenche explained that Nigerian Navy Ship SOROH in one of its operations in August intercepted a speed boat with 13 foreigners made up of seven Russians and six Ukrainians alleged to have been kidnapped by pirates in Lome waters.

He said that four Nigerians were also on board of the speed boat.

According to him, the troops of Operation DELTA SAFE have sustained the aggressive fight against economic sabotage in the zone with tremendous successes.

“Subsidiary Operation SILENT HEAT was launched by Operation DELTA SAFE on Aug. 1 for 90 days.

“The objective of the operation was to protect critical installations, key points and vital points as well as combat all forms of illegalities and crimes in the area.

“The operation is conducted to maintain conducive environment for oil and gas industries as well as other economic activities to thrive,” he said.

He said that since the activation of Operation SILENT HEAT, several arrests and deactivation of various militant camps had been made.

“It was during the course of the operation that on Aug. 19, Nigerian Navy Ship SOROH intercepted a speed boat with 13 foreigners made of seven Russians and six Ukrainians alleged to have been kidnapped by pirates in Lome waters.

“The 13 kidnapped foreigners as well as four Nigerians on the speed boat have been handed over to Defence Intelligence Agency for further necessary action,” he said.

He said that in the course of other subsidiary Operations CALM WATERS II and Operation SWIFT RESPONSE on Aug.16, Nigerian Navy Ship VICTORY patrol team intercepted and arrested seven men suspected to be smugglers at Agbana-West by the Nigerian-Cameroun maritime border.

“The suspects were arrested with a medium size wooden boat laden with 203 bags of foreign parboiled rice and 62 empty drums suspected to have been used to smuggle Petroleum, Oil and Lubricant products to Cameroun.

“Accordingly, the suspects, bags of smuggled parboiled rice and the medium-sized wooden boat were handed over to Operation BORDER DRILL for further investigation and prosecution in line with extant regulation,” he said.

He said that within the month of August, several arrests were made by troops of Operation DELTA SAFE; large quantities of stolen crude oil as well as other petroleum products were impounded.

“Cumulatively, a total of 1,309,000 litres of stolen Automotive Gas Oil (AGO), 1,824.04 barrels of stolen crude oil and 302,000 litres of stolen Premium Motor Spirit (PMS) were recovered in the month of August 2020 in Akwa Ibom, Bayelsa, Cross River, Delta and Rivers.

“Additionally, a total of 344 bags of smuggled parboiled rice were impounded in the zone.

“From these successes, it is clear that troops of Operation DELTA SAFE and other security agencies working together remain resolute and dedicated in their endeavor to end the fight against economic sabotage,” he said.

Edited By: Wale Ojetimi (NAN)
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COVID-19: Another 13 Nigerian returnees from Canada, Germany, France arrive Seme Border



Another batch of 13 Nigerian returnees from Canada, Germany and France arrived in the country through Seme Border Post in Lagos State on Thursday.

The News Agency of Nigeria gathered that the 13 returnees landed in Benin Republic by Air France on June 10 and came into Nigeria through Seme land border around 8 a.m. on Thursday.

A Port Health Services (PHS) official in Seme, who pleaded anonymity, told NAN that the Nigerian returnees, comprising eight males and five  females, had been screened by health officials.

“They arrived at 8:30 a.m. today from Canada, Germany and France through Cotonou Airport.

“We have collected their contacts and relevant information for follow up on their health status.

“This will be forwarded to officials of Lagos State Ministry of Health and NCDC who will be having random checks on them peeiodically.

“After all the checks, we will allow all of them to go to their different destinations since Lagos State Government no longer isolate them in Badagry again,” he said.

NAN recalls that that 53 Nigerian returnees from Ghana and Benin  Republic arrived Seme Border on Saturday, May 16.

With the latest returnees, the number of Nigerians from foreign and neighboring countries that arrived through Seme border is now 166.

Edited By: Mustapha Lamidi/Wale Ojetimi (NAN)


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Production cost: Table water producers seek tax holiday from Niger govt.



The Association of Table Water Producers of Nigeria (ATWAP) in Niger has appealed to the state government for tax holiday to cushion the effect of high cost of production.
The ATWAP Chairman in the state, Mr Isiaka Busari, made the appeal during an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria on Sunday in Minna.
said that since the lockdown, occasioned by COVID-19 pandemic, there had been increase in the cost of production, as most production materials came from China and Lagos.
of our members have shut down because the cost of production has taken toll on their marginal profit.
“We are appealing to the state government to give us tax relief, because we are not operating at full capacity as a result of the lockdown caused by the pandemic.
Before COVID-19, nylon used for production used to sell for N650 per kg. It now sells for N1,900 because the companies that produce the material within and outside the country have been affected by COVID-19,” he said.
Busari said that before the outbreak of coronavirus, a bag of sachet water used to be sold for N80, adding that it was now being sold for N100.
average producer of sachet water in the state produces and supplies 800 bags per day; but it is now difficult to produce 200 bags per day, and this will take about two days to sell because of low patronage, due to the lockdown.
“People hardly go out to work now; so there is the challenge of inadequate funds.
“Besides, the rainy season is here; the situation may be worse because many people may take to drinking rain water, due to lack of money,” he said.
According to him, there are over 4,000 members of the association registered by the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) operating in the state, with each employing about 60 workers.
Busari, who said that ATWAP had taken many unemployed youths off the streets, added that government should come to their aid in order to keep the employees.
He also appealed to the state government to fumigate their premises, saying that the two-week notice given to them by the state Environmental Protection Agency to fumigate their factories would be an additional cost.
He said that the directive by the agency to shut down any factory that failed to do so might prompt most residents to drink water from unhealthy sources.

Edited By: Joe Idika and (NAN)‘Wale Sadeeq
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Spotlight: Europeans continue to heal economic wounds, infections top 2 mln




As markets and industries lick their wounds from the impact of the coronavirus crisis, European governments are turning their focus to reopening and rescuing the battered economy.

France on Tuesday unveiled a major recovery plan to revive the country’s auto industry, which has been crippled by the loss of sales and production during the coronavirus pandemic and the lockdown aimed to limit the spread of COVID-19.

Meanwhile, an online dashboard maintained by the WHO European Region showed that 2,044,870 confirmed COVID-19 cases had been reported in 54 countries, with 175,184 deaths as of 10:00 a.m. CET (0800 GMT) on Tuesday.


Following a visit to a Valeo car parts factory in northern France, President Emmanuel Macron announced an 8-billion-euro (8.78 billion U.S. dollars) rescue plan to help the recovery of the auto industry.

“The state will provide more than eight billion euros in aid to the sector,” Macron said.

The president, who met with industry bosses early in the day, said the “historic plan,” which aims to “face a historic situation,” was based on a support package and a scrappage scheme to shift towards less polluting vehicles.

“We need to defend our industry and make France Europe’s top producer of clean vehicles,” with an output of one million electric and hybrid cars per year by 2025, said Macron.

“Bankruptcies should be avoided at all costs,” he said. To help promote clean cars, he also announced a higher state bonus for the purchase of a clean vehicle by individual consumers and businesses, from 6,000 euros to 7,000 euros.

According to figures released by the French Automobile Manufacturers Committee, sales of French vehicle brands plunged by 84.2 percent in April.

France’s massive rescue plan came one day after Deutsche Lufthansa AG said the German government’s Economic Stabilization Fund (WSF) has approved a 9-billion-euro rescue package for the airline.

Lufthansa said the WSF would provide up to 5.7 billion euros in the form of “silent participation” in the company’s assets, of which nearly 4.7 billion euros would be classified as equity in accordance with related financial rules.

Lufthansa was operationally healthy and profitable before the pandemic and has good prospects for the future, but it came into an existential emergency due to the coronavirus crisis, the WSF Committee, which consists of representatives of several federal ministries, said in a statement.


In a phased approach, European countries are cautiously easing their border controls, as part of their efforts to reopen the tourism industry, which is one of the hardest-hit sectors and accounts for about 10 percent of the European Union’s economic output.

On May 13, the European Commission had offered a tourism and transport package, recommending that EU member states with “similar overall risk profiles” on the pandemic should open to tourists from each other’s countries. Two days later (on May 15), Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania became the first EU nations to reopen their shared borders.

Starting on Tuesday at midnight, Hungary, Slovakia and the Czech Republic will reopen their respective borders to each other’s citizens for stays of no more than 48 hours without quarantine, Hungary’s Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade Peter Szijjarto said on social media.

Also on Tuesday, the Czech Republic began reopening its border crossings with neighboring Germany and Austria.

“From Tuesday, we are opening all railway and road crossings with Germany and Austria, as well as the Hrensko river crossing, and we are abolishing comprehensive border controls,” Czech Interior Minister Jan Hamacek said on Monday in a statement, adding that proof for a negative COVID-19 test will still be mandatory and border checks will be random.

But crossing borders in non-designated areas will still be prohibited until June 13, and the external borders of the Schengen area will be closed until at least June 15, Czech media reported.

Bulgaria, Greece and Serbia had already reached an agreement to allow tourists from the three countries to travel without a quarantine period of 14 days, starting from June 1.

Meanwhile, the German government is planning to lift a travel warning for tourists from 31 European countries from June 15, ending an unprecedented directive against all international travel, German news agency DPA reported on Tuesday.

Alongside Germany’s 26 fellow EU member states, the warning will also be lifted for Britain and the four non-EU members of the borderless Schengen area — Iceland, Norway, Switzerland and Liechtenstein, DPA reported.

Germany’s plans, which are contingent on continuing positive trends in the coronavirus pandemic, could be approved by Chancellor Angela Merkel’s cabinet as early as Wednesday, DPA said.

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