FG approves 2 biotech crops for commercialisation – NABDA



The National Biotechnology Development Agency (NABDA) says the Federal Government has approved two modern biotechnology crops – BT cotton and Cowpea (Beans) – for commercialisation in the country.

Dr Rosa Gidado, the Deputy Director, Agricultural Biotech Department, National Biotechnology Development Agency (NABDA), Abuja, told the Nigeria News Agency on Friday in Lagos.

Commercialisation is the process by which a new product or service is introduced into the general market.

Gidado said Nigeria was currently at the commercialisation stage, adding that, however, research on biotech crops was still ongoing and was a never-ending affair.

The NABDA director said that the approved crops are BT cotton and Cowpea (Beans), adding that the cotton is hybrid, while the cowpea is not hybrid.

Gidado said that Biotechnology was deployed in the area of agriculture to develop genetically modified crops to have protection in them, protection against insects and to be drought and flood tolerant.

She added that biotechnology was deployed to make crops more nutritious, adding that it is deployed in the area of health, for data medicine, affordable medicine, diagnostic key development and vaccine development.

She said that commercialisation of the hybrid cotton was approved in 2018, while the beans were approved in December 2019.

“Two farmers have tested the crops on their farms and they are very okay; they are resistant to those insects and they have early maturation and mature before the conventional date. They have good quality.

“We already have two modern biotechnology crops that have been approved by the Federal Government for commercialisation. We have the BT cotton and Cowpea (beans).

“The crops have just been approved so they are not in circulation yet. The cotton was approved in 2018 and the cowpea was approved in December 2019.

“We are trying to build capacity of the farmers on how they can produce the seeds themselves subsequently. We are also teaching extension workers and wards,” she said.

Gidado said that capacity building and training was also on-going for local seed companies, who are to market the crops, so that in future, the country could produce the seeds locally and not import it.

“The cowpea was just recently released in 2019: this year, the capacity of some seed companies, local seed companies that would actually be the ones to market this seeds are being built.

“The capacity of the seed companies will be built so that there will be availability of seeds to farmers at the right time and the right quantity.

“We want the seeds to be available so that farmers will have the right quantity and they get it at the right time before the next planting season in 2020.

“I believe our farmers should have access to this foundation seeds,” she said.

The NABDA director said that part of the activities of the agency for 2020 were seed production and certification.

“Our programme for 2020 is seed production and certification. They would be carried out simultaneously across the country by the seed companies.

“Our plan for 2020 is to train seed companies to mass produce seeds that will be available for farmers, that is cotton and beans that have been approved for commercialisation.

“The seed production will be carried out by the seed companies.”

Gidado however that for now she did not know the number of companies that would be involved in production.

The Nigeria News Agency reports that the National Biotechnology Development Agency (NABDA) is charged with the responsibility of promoting, coordinating, research and development, policy formulation and awareness creation of biotechnology practice in Nigeria.

Edited by: Oluyinka Fadare/Muhammad Suleiman Tola

Science & Technology

Nigeria @60: FG lauds Nigerians for active participation on anniversary branding challenge



Nigeria @60: FG lauds Nigerians for active participation in anniversary branding challenge


Abuja, Sept. 17, The Federal Government has hailed Nigerians who actively participated in the creative submittion of ideas for the Diamond Jubilee anniversary branding challenge.

Dr Isa Pantami, Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, made this known in a statement, on Thursday in Abuja.

Pantami said that as part of the government’s initiative of having an inclusive Diamond Jubilee Celebration, President Muhammadu Buhari on Wednesday launched and unveiled the anniversary logo that was earlier presented to the public virtually.

“It may be recalled that a Press Statement was released by the Diamond/Innovation/Change Challenge Sub-Committee of the Nigeria @60 Inter-Ministerial Committee, on Friday Sept. 4.

“It Called for the active participation of Nigerians in voting for the preferred logo as well as the design of the creative aspects of the event.

“We are pleased to note that many Nigerians contributed to the Challenge. Four Logos were made available to the public, on the Challenge Portal –

“Analysis of the results revealed that the winning logo attracted 44.9 per cent of the total votes cast. The first runner up received 23.2 per cent of the votes, while the second runner up attracted 22 per cent of the votes,” he said.

Pantami added:“The Diamond Jubilee Logo, to be found on the Challenge Portal, depicts our togetherness, a country of approximately 200 million people whose natural talent, grit and passion glitter together like the precious diamond that we are.

“It is a clear illustration of the saying “we are only as strong as we are united, as weak as we are divided.”

He noted that Buhari, while unveiling the Anniversary Logo, appreciated Nigerians for their active participation and also reiterated government’s commitment in ensuring that citizens were actively involved in the development and implementation of its policies, programmes and projects.

“We want to also inform the general public, especially those who participated in the Challenge by submitting their entries for the Anniversary Slogan, Poem and Photograph, that selection process for these aspects of the Challenge is still ongoing.

“Results will be announced as soon as the process is completed. We thank Nigerians for making it possible to realise the goal of the Challenge.

Edited By: Ali Baba-Inuwa
Source: NAN

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Time has come for Nigerian scientists to authenticate claims on COVID-19 cure- NABDA 



Prof. Alex Akpa, Director General, National Biotechnology Development Agency(NABDA), says the time has come for Nigerian scientists to authenticate claims by people who said they have developed herbal treatment for COVID-19.

Akpa said this in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria, on Monday in Abuja.

Speaking on the committee on COVID-19 herbal remedies and natural compounds inaugurated by Dr Ogbonnaya Onu, Minister of Science and Technology, Akpa said the inauguration was a welcomed development.

“The committee is very important and germane and couldn’t have come at a better time because we have received many claims in the country both formally and informally.

“Therefore, considering the negative impact the pandemic has on people’s health as and how it has adversely affected our economy, I think it is time to look into these claims,’’ he said.

The NABDA director general further said it was the work of the committee to look carefully at the claims with a view to analysing them.

According to him, such claims with the brightest prospects of providing protection and healing to those affected or at risk of contacting the dreaded disease would be criticality looked into.

Speaking about the Madagascar local herbal remedy for COVID-19, he disclosed that it was still under review in Nigeria and has yet to be confirmed.

“But that does not stop us from looking at our own indigenous Nigerian claims and remedies for the disease,” he said.

He also said that the outcome of the investigation on the Madagascar remedy, will not affect Nigerian chances of developing its own remedy.

Akpa sai he was positive that the inauguration of the committee was significant as it was also preparing the country for future occurrences in terms of the disease outbreaks.

“It is good to be better prepared by being able to carry out tests through test kits among others,’’ he said.

Edited By: Ali Baba-Inuwa
Source: NAN
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Oil & Gas

FAAC: FG, States, others share N3.88trn in 6 months – Report



The Federation Accounts Allocation Committee (FAAC) shared N3.879 trillion to the Federal Government, states, local government areas and other statutory recipients in the first half of 2020.

This was contained in the latest edition of the quarterly report on the review of the Nigeria Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (NEITI) released in Abuja, on Tuesday.

A breakdown of the disbursements showed that N1.53 trillion went to the Federal Government, while the states got N1.29 trillion and the 774 local government areas received N771.34 billion

The N1.53 trillion received by the FG in H1 2020 was 4.28 per cent lower than the N1.599 trillion it got in the first half of 2019 and 7.36 per cent lower than the N1.652 trillion it received in the first half of 2018.

“For states, a total of N1.29 trillion was disbursed in the first half of 2020.

“This was 2.8 per cent lower than the N1.35 trillion disbursed in the first half of 2019, and 5.6 per cent lower than the N1.37 trillion disbursed in the first half of 2020,” the report stated in part.

For local government areas, the 2020 first half disbursements were 2.64 and 3.04 per cent lower than the corresponding disbursements for 2019 and 2018, respectively.

However, disbursements in second quarter(Q2) 2020 were 1.09 per cent higher than total disbursements in Q2 2019 and 3.66 per cent lower than the one for Q2 2018.

FAAC disbursements in the second quarter of 2020 stood at N1.934 trillion.

“This was made up of N739.2 billion to the Federal Government, N629.3 billion to state governments, and N375.4 billion to the 774 local government areas.”

According to the report, the total FAAC disbursements in the second quarter of 2020 was slightly lower than the N1.945 trillion disbursed in the first quarter of 2020.

This aligned with the projections made in the previous issue of the NEITI Quarterly Review, which projected lower FAAC disbursement in the second quarter.

The report attributed the 0.55 per cent decrease in Q2 2020 to a couple of factors, including rebound in oil prices in the second quarter as a result of ease of lockdowns by countries across the world.

The other was the adjustment of the official exchange rate by the CBN from N307 to a dollar to N360 to a dollar in March resulting in higher naira disbursements.

FAAC disbursements in the first quarter and second quarter of 2020 were very volatile, with the difference in total disbursements between months ranging between N58.9 billion and N199.3 billion.

“During this period, the disbursements were very volatile in the first half of 2020, compared to 2018 and 2019.

“Unlike 2018 and 2019 where aggregate disbursements increased and decreased in successive months, in 2020 they fell for two straight months, increased in one month, and then decreased for two straight months.”

In the months under consideration in 2020, aggregate disbursements fluctuated by large amounts, compared to 2018 and 2019.

“Aggregate disbursements were N716.3 billion in January and this fell to N647.4 billion in February.

“Thereafter, disbursements fell to N581.6 billion in March, before increasing to N780.9 billion in April.

“Disbursements then fell to N606.2 billion in May and to N547.3 billion in June.

“These figures indicate differences of N68.9 billion between January and February, N65.7 billion between February and March, N199.3 billion between March and April, N174.7 billion between April and May, and N58.9 billion between May and June.

” For comparison, the highest inter-month difference in the first half of 2018 was N62.9 billion, while the corresponding figure for 2019 was N63.5 billion.

“Thus, there have been very wide fluctuations in aggregate disbursements so far in 2020,” the report also stated in part.

NEITI in the report also disclosed that from January to May 2020, actual government revenue was N1.62 trillion, representing 62 per cent of the expected pro-rata revenue of N2.62 trillion from the revised budget.

This, the NEITI said explained a shortfall of 38 per cent in government revenue for the first five months of the year.

As oil prices continue to rise, and with the increased pace of economic activities, it projected that Government revenue will perform better in the second half of 2020, with the possibility of shortfalls in revenue compared to budgeted figures.

On total net FAAC disbursements and deductions for states for the first half of 2020, the report observed wide disparities.

Osun State had the lowest net disbursement of N13.13 billion, while Delta State had the highest net disbursement of N100.81 billion.

“This implies that Delta State received seven times the disbursement that Osun State received.

“Total net disbursements received by Delta State (N100.81 billion) was higher than the combined total net disbursements of N99.47 billion received by six states – Osun, Cross River, Plateau, Ogun, Gombe and Ekiti.

“Also, the combined total net disbursements of N321.29 billion received by the four highest receiving states of Delta, Akwa Ibom, Rivers, and Bayelsa were higher than the combined total net disbursements of N314.08 billion received by 16 states.

The States are Osun, Cross River, Plateau, Ogun, Gombe, Ekiti, Zamfara, Kwara, Nassarawa, Ebonyi, Taraba, Benue, Adamawa, Ondo, Bauchi, and Abia.

“While Lagos State had the highest deductions, Yobe State had the lowest.


Edited By: Kamal Tayo Oropo/Bayo Sekoni
Source: NAN
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Insurance firm to pay farmers affected by flood in Sokoto



Mr Kenneth Egbaran, the Managing Director of Veritas Kapital Assurance has assured farmers affected by the 2020 flood in Sokoto State of prompt settlement of their insurance premium to defray their losses.

Egbaran made the assurance on Tuesday in an interview with newsmen after he inspected farms affected by flood in Sokoto, Goronyo, Kware, Wamakko and other areas in Sokoto state.

The News Agency of Nigeria reports that the farmers comprised members of Maize Association of Nigeria (MAAN), Rice Farmers Association of Nigeria (RIFAN) and National Cotton Farmers Association of Nigeria (NACOFAN).

He said the company is a solid leading agricultural insurance company targeted at providing good disaster cover to farming communities in the country.

” We are committed to ensure that farmers losses  were restored, to facilitate increased investments in agricultural value chain.

” We build the capacity of farmers, promote expertise in agric business and ensure partnership with other stakeholders in agricultural sector.

” Veritas Kapital Assurance is committed to actualise federal government’s vision on agricultural development and liase with the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and other partners to promote all category of farming toward enduring food security and empowerment. ”  Egbaran said.

He said the present exercise was tagged ”Area Yield Index Insurance (AYII) which covers all forms of disasters that might affect harvests.

Egbaran said his team has inspected all the affected farmlands to ensure that farmers benefit maximally with the insurance covers agreed according to the modalities.

According to him, consultants and supervisors were also deployed to capture benefiting farmers and observe the correct situations on ground, stressing that some teams were deployed to Kebbi.

He added that farmers groups provided list of their members and partnered with them in the assessment.

The Managing Director explained that farmer premium payments depends on farm sizes, adding that CBN intervened to facilitate success of FG social intervention programmes.

In their separate remarks, Sokoto state Chairmen of RIFAN and MAAN, Alhaji Ibrahim Salihu and Alhaji Abubakar Danfoloti, commended Veritas Kapital Assurance for their prompt response.

They explained that thousands of their members suffered losses  due to increased rainfall experienced this year and appealed for prompt intervention in order to provide succor to them.

The leaders noted that the insurance payment would motivate farmers and encourage them to invest more in agriculture.


Edited By: Benson
Source: NAN  Iziama/Maharazu Ahmed
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