Ituma said that the intervention was being sponsored in collaboration with the Federal Government.
He said the objective was to stimulate the economy through the provision of agro-inputs to more than 3,000 farmers in the state.
“This intervention, which is through our annual marching grant scheme, will enable us to provide agro-chemicals, fertilizers, improved seeds for rice and cuttings for cassava to farmers for the 2020 farming season.
“The farmers have been accessing these inputs through their various cooperative societies and the intervention will hopefully impact positively on the production of rice and cassava in the state.
“The projection is based on expected yield and what the prices of food items are going to be at the end of this farming season.
“We are confident that the intervention will improve the farmers’ means of livelihood, increase their income generation and ensure food sufficiency for their families,” Ituma said.
He said that the intervention included 50kg of improved rice seeds, four bags of NPK and two bags of Urea brands of fertilizers, two litres of selective and non-selective agro-chemicals each for rice farmers on a one-hectare basis.
He said that cassava farmers got 50 bundles of improved cassava cuttings, four bags of NPK brand of fertilizers and two litres of selective and non-selective agro-chemicals each,” he said.
Ituma said that the programme’s national office also introduced some innovations to aid the implementation process in 2020 by engaging a reputable supply chain manager from the International Fertilizer Development Centre, an American-based company.
“This company has an African Office in Ghana, while our national office also introduced lots of technological innovations to improve the distribution process and make it 100 per cent transparent.
“Each benefiting farmer captured in the programme’s data base has been provided with an automated teller (card) for input redemption, while the agro-dealers have also been provided with such cards.
“The farmers visit the various redemption centres with their cards and when slotted into the machine, their particulars are displayed to confirm their identities and that all redemption requirements were met.
“The information will then be transmitted to the agro-dealer to release the input to the farmer. “These are done through the collaboration of the supply chain managers,” Ituma said.
He thanked the Ebonyi government for its support to the programme and promised that the intervention would be sustained to enhance food production in the state.
Edited By: Francis Onyeukwu/Sam Oditah
Buhari holds closed-door meeting with Ghanaian president at Aso Villa
President Muhammadu Buhari on Sunday night met behind closed doors with President Nana Akufo-Addo of Ghana at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.
Bashir Ahmad, the President’s Personal Assistant on New Media, confirmed this on his Twitter handle.
The presidential aide, who could not elaborate on the agenda of the meeting between the two leaders, however, posted pictures in which the Nigerian leader could be seen escorting his guest after the meeting.
The News Agency of Nigeria reports that the closure of shops owned by Nigerian traders in Ghana had heightened tensions between the two countries, a situation which led the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Geoffrey Onyeama to summon Ghana’s Charge d Affaires to Nigeria, Ms Iva Denoo for discussions.
Onyeama had also met with representatives of Nigerian traders in Ghana, led by Jasper Emenike, the National President of Progressive Ambassadors of Nigeria (PAN), and the organisation’s National Director, Ruth Ango over the matter.
The Speaker, House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila, had also visited Ghana on Sept. 2 with a view to seeing how the issues at stake could be resolved amicably.
According to the speaker, the closure of the Nigerian shops in Ghana contravenes the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) protocol on free movement of citizens of member states, and trade liberalisation scheme.
NAN reports that the ECOWAS Trade Liberalisation Scheme (ETLS) adopted in 1979 with an agreement on agricultural, artisanal handicrafts, and unprocessed products, and extended to industrial products in 1990, is the main framework for trade and market integration in ECOWAS as it addresses protocols on the free movement of goods, persons, and transportation.
The scheme’s main pursuit of consolidating the free trade area is guided by the National Approval Committee that informs the member states.
Similarly, Article (3) of the Revised Treaty of ECOWAS on trade and market integration stipulates the removal of trade barriers and harmonisation of trade policies for the establishment of a Free Trade Area, a Customs Union, a Common Market and an eventual culmination in to a Monetary and Economic Union in West Africa.
NAN further reports that the Ghanaian government had proposed a meeting between the two leaders prior to the one they held behind closed doors on Sunday.
Edited By: Emmanuel Yashim
Ebonyi bus accident: FRSC, Police confirm 3 more bodies retrieved from river
The Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC) in Ebonyi has confirmed the recovery of three more corpses from the Akeze-Ukwu River after a Mercedes 608-model bus plunged into the river on Sept.18.
The News Agency of Nigeria , recalls that the bus conveying members of a Church who attended their pastor’s burial was returning to Enugu when the accident occurred.
The bus driver was said to have lost control of the vehicle while trying to overtake an articulated vehicle on the bridge.
Uchegbu said that the corps sent its personnel to the hospital, where some rescued victims were being treated, to interact with doctors on the true reports concerning the ‘unfortunate’ incident.
“We have been getting conflicting reports on the casualties so we sent our personnel to the hospital to interact with the doctors handling the cases.
“We were able to ascertain that seven persons were actually rescued from the river on the day of the incident instead of five earlier reported.
“One person was confirmed dead, two persons are presently on admission, two have been officially discharged while two opted to return home having sustained no injuries from the incident,” she said.
Ughegbu said that with the 14 corpses retrieved from the river on the second day of the rescue operations and the three other corpses retrieved on Sunday, the total number of retrieval is 24.
According to her, the total number of dead victims is now 18.
Also, the Ebonyi command of the Nigerian Police Force confirmed in a stateement the retrieval of three more corpses on Sunday, adding that a retired police officer was among the deceased persons.
“Efforts are still on to recover the remaining 10 persons,” it stated.
Edited By: Dianabasi Effiong/Donald Ugwu
Health workers suspend 7-day nationwide warning strike
Members of the Joint Health Sector Unions (JOHESU), have suspended their seven-day nationwide warning strike.
Mr Josiah Biobelemoye, JOHESU National Chairman, made this known in a statement at the end of its expanded National Executive Council meeting on Sunday in Abuja.
Biobelemoye directed all members of the union to resume work by Sept. 21 and also await further directives.
The union demands included disparity in the payment of hazard and inducement allowances to workers in the frontline containing the spread of COVID-19 among others.
“This is to bring to your notice that the 7-day nationwide warning strike embarked upon by the members of the Joint Health Sector Unions (JOHESU) would come to an end midnight of today, Sept. 20.
“By this notice, all health workers under the five Unions that make up Joint Health Sector Unions (JOHESU) and Assembly of Healthcare Professional Associations (AHPA) shall return to work on Monday, Sept. 21, 2020 across all Federal Health Institutions in the country.
“However, the Federal Government through the Ministry of Health has continued to exhibit high level of bias/discrimination by refusing to address the demands of our members as presented by JOHESU within the seven days of the warning strike as was done to other bodies in the health sector.
“The next line of action would be decided in due course by the expanded National Executive Council of JOHESU.”
He also alleged that rather than call JOHESU for dialogue to resolve the trade dispute, the Federal Government resorted to intimidation and blackmail of the union leaders using all forms of instruments and faceless organisations.
He further said that JOHESU would continue to use all legitimate means to defend the rights and demands for the welfare of its members in the health sector.
“Nigerians should bear us witness that JOHESU has shown high patriotism by demanding that public health system in Nigeria is sustained and adequately financed for effective, efficient and affordable healthcare service delivery.
“In view of the above and in line with the resolution of the expanded NEC meeting held physically and virtually today, Sunday, Sept. 20, 2020, I hereby declare that the seven days warning strike is suspended.
“All our members are directed to resume work by Monday, Sept. 21, 2020 while awaiting further directives.
“Finally, I wish to thank all the leaders at all strata and members for their commitment, selflessness, cooperation and resilience during the seven days warning strike,” he said.
Edited By: Dianabasi Effiong/Felix Ajide
Survival Fund: FG releases registration schedule as portal opens Monday
As the portal for the registration of prospective beneficiaries for the Survival Fund opens on Monday, the Federal Government has released the timetable for categories of businesses to register.
A statement issued in Abuja on Sunday by the Project Delivery Office stated that the portal which opens at 10 PM, will have educational institutions as the first category of beneficiaries to register.
“Nigerians interested in the Payroll Support scheme are to note that the site for registration will be open from 10 pm Monday September 21, 2020.
“In order to ensure seamless registration process, the Project Delivery Office (PDO) has designed a registration schedule.
“Registration for Payroll Support will start with educational institutions on Monday and will be followed with businesses in the hospitality industry on Friday September 25 beginning from 12 A.M.
“The portal will also be open to other category of small businesses from 12 A.M., on Monday September 28, 2020,” the statement said.
The office therefore advised those interested in benefiting from the fund to take note of the schedule and also log on to http://www.survivalfund.ng to register for the payroll support initiative.
The News Agency of Nigeria reports that the survival fund is a conditional grant to support vulnerable Micro and Small enterprises in meeting their payroll obligations and safeguard jobs in MSMEs from the shock of the COVID– 19 pandemic.
The scheme is estimated to save at least 1.3 million jobs across the country, while targeting an average of 35,000 individuals per state.
Edited By: Ismail Abdulaziz