Prof. Muhammed Ishiyaku, Executive Director, Institute of Agricultural Research (IAR), Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, says the Pod Borer-Resistant (PBR) Cowpea variety remains one of best produced under scientific research.
Ishiyaku, one of the researchers that developed PBR Cowpea, stated this on Thursday in Kano at a media briefing to commemorate one year of its discovery.
PBR Cowpea is a new genetically modified cowpea, with resistant to pod-borers, a ravaging pest, also known as maruca vitrata.
The new cowpea variety was developed by scientists at the Institute for Agricultural Research, Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, in collaboration with various partners under the coordination of the African Agricultural Technology Foundation.
Ishiyaku said the variety which has been in use by the Nigerian farmers for one year, is more effective in terms of yield production.
He said the cost of production of the variety, was highly reduced, stressing it is resistant to insects and easy to produce.
“The variety is doing wonderful on the farm with two spreads of insecticides during the production process.
“The rumour making the rounds by some people, that it is harmful to human life, is baseless and untrue; those people can be described as novice to the variety.
“Some farmers who have used the variety on their farms testified about the effectiveness of the PBR Cowpea.
“Let me at this point advice Nigerian farmers to disregard the rumour, instead adopt the use of the variety on their farms, and they will be amazed how it will boost their production.
The News Agency of Nigeria reports that the PBR Cowpea is one of the most damaging insect pests limiting cowpea production and reducing its size and quality.
Authorities of Mkpat Enin Local Government Council, has urged Akwa Ibom people to ensure they registered to vote in the forthcoming general elections.
Mrs Mercy Bassey, Acting Chairman of the Council, advised those who had not registered, to do so before the window of registration is shut by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).
Bassey made the call on Thursday, when the executives and members of Ahmadu Bello University Alumni Association, Akwa Ibom Branch, paid her a courtesy visit at the council’s secretariat in Mkpat Enin.
The council boss also appealed to those who had registered, but had not collected their Permanent Voter Cards, (PVCs), to follow INEC’s update method of collection in their areas.
She said it became necessary to encourage eligible voters to collect their PVCs ahead of the 2023 General Elections to participate in the electoral processes and vote candidates of their choice.
Bassey, an alumnus of ABU, appealed to the association to get involved in creating awareness for people to be politically equipped through the possession of their PVCs.
“I will plead that we go out as agents, to encourage people in our places of worship, families and everywhere, to register and get their PVCs, because it is not the Holy Ghost fire that will settle this matter, but our PVCs.
“What we witnessed during the conduct of party primaries was a sharp departure from the old ways of doing things. It is a pointer to a new era in our political dispensation,” she said.
Earlier in his remarks, chairman of the alumni in Akwa Ibom, Mr Dominic Akpan, said that they were on the visit in solidarity with the acting chairman.
Akpan lauded the achievements of the acting chairman within a short period of time.
Highpoint of the visit was the presentation of coconut seedlings to the acting chairman as a memorial of the alumni’s visit, and facility tour of the council secretariat. (
President Muhammadu Buhari has inaugurated the Presidential Council on Digital Economy and e-Government, promising that his administration will continue to take advantage of digital technologies to transform every sector of the economy.
Speaking at the event on Friday in Abuja, the president directed the Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Prof. Isa Pantami, to chair the council on his behalf and give regular updates.
He tasked members of the council to work towards further strengthening the capacity of government to develop, adopt and deploy digital technologies to make government more efficient and transparent, thereby improving Nigeria’s global standing in the ease of doing business index.
The president noted that the council, whose members have been arrived at after a painstaking and thorough process, would provide the oversight needed to bring about a veritable structure for accelerating achievements in digital economy and in the implementation of e-government in the country.
He enjoined every member of the council to consider the task as a national assignment and justify the trust reposed in their ability to support and significantly enhance the digital transformation of Nigeria.
‘‘I launched the National Digital Economy Policy and Strategy (NDEPS) on the 28th of November, 2019, and expanded the mandate of the then Ministry of Communications to include Digital Economy.
‘‘The implementation of that policy and mandate has enabled us to achieve significant progress and record a number of unprecedented achievements.
‘‘The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the global economy showed that the steps we took in developing and implementing NDEPS were indeed timely.
‘‘For example, the Information and Communications Technology sector was the fastest growing sector in both the fourth quarter of 2020 and the entire year 2020, based on the Report by the National Bureau of Statistics.
‘‘The sector’s 14.70% double-digit growth rate was instrumental in supporting our country to exit the recession triggered by the COVID-19 pandemic, far earlier than predicted by experts.
‘‘The significant contribution of 17.92% by the ICT sector to our GDP in the second quarter of 2021 is another example of the important impact of the digital economy on the overall economy.
‘‘In the same vein, the growth of our digital economy sector enabled us to cope with the effect of the lock-down as both activities of the government and private sector, as well as educational activities, were able to move to online platforms,’’ he said.
Furthermore, Buhari expressed delight that the approval of the National Policy on Virtual Engagements for Federal Public Institutions had helped to formalise government online meetings.
According to him, statutory meetings like the Federal Executive Council (FEC), Council of State, and other meetings can now effectively and legally take place online.
He added that Nigeria’s progress in e-governance had been noted by the international community, eliciting recognition from international stakeholders, including the appointment of the Minister of Communications and Digital Economy as the Chairman of the 2022 Forum of the highly regarded World Summit of the Information Society.
While congratulating the minister, the president acknowledged that the ministry has partnered with the Korea International Cooperation Agency to develop a National e-government Master Plan, approved by FEC in August 2019.
The president listed benefits from the partnership, including “the training of over 1,400 Nigerian public servants in both Nigeria and South Korea on e-governance; the launching of an E-Government Training Centre handed over to the Federal Government in November 2019, and the signing off of Phase II of the e-government Project – ‘Project for Building Foundations Towards Digital Governance in Nigeria (2020-2026)’.’’
In his remarks, Pantami noted that NDEPS launched in 2019, made provision for the establishment of the Presidential Council to coordinate the development of an indigenous digital economy.
While describing the implementation of NDEPS for a digital Nigeria as very successful, the minister said in the last two years, the sector had provided ICT intervention to no fewer than 1,667 institutions at the federal and sub-national levels.
He stated that the recent auctioning of spectrums by the ministry generated over 400 per cent revenue to the Federal Government coffers while two virtual institutions established by government had trained some 500,000 Nigerians on digital and emerging technologies.
The 27-man committee chaired by Pantami on behalf of the president has the following members: Boss Mustapha, Secretary to the Government of the Federation; Gov. Inuwa Yahaya of Gombe State; Gov. Nasir El-Rufai of Kaduna State; Gov. Abdullahi Sule of Nasarawa State; Gov. Godwin Obaseki of Edo; Gov. Babajide Sanwo-Olu of Lagos State and Sen. Hope Uzodinma, Governor of Imo.
Others are Dr Zainab Ahmed, Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning; Adeniyi Adebayo, Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment; Dr Folasade Yemi-Esan, Head of Civil Service of the Federation; and Prof. Umar Danbatta, Executive Vice Nigerian Communications Commission.
Prof. M.B. Abubakar, Managing , Galaxy Backbone Limited; Dr Abimbola Alale, Managing , Nigerian Communications Satellite Limited; and Aliyu Aziz, Director , National Identity Management Commission, are also members of the council.
Also in the committee are Mr Oswald Guobadia, Senior Special Assistant, (Digital Transformation) to the President; Olufemi Olufeko, Director, e-Government Dept, Federal Ministry of Communications and Digital Economy; A.B. Okauru, Director General, Nigeria Governors Forum; Prof. Simon Sodiya, President Nigeria Computer Society; and Gbenga Adebayo, Chairman, Association of Licensed Telecommunications Operators of Nigeria (ALTON).
Other members are Prof. Kabiru Bala, rRepresentative of Academia and Vice Chancellor, Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria; Prof. Nnenna Oti, representative of the Academia and Vice Chancellor, Federal University of Technology, Owerri; and Kashifu Abdullahi, Secretary and the Director , National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA).
Mr Sungil Son, Country Director (KOICA); Dr Olufemi Adeluyi, Technical Assistant (Research & Development) to Minister of Communication & Digital Economy; and Abubakar Dahiru, Special Assistant (Cyber Security & Digital Identity) to the Minister are also members of the Committee. (
Alliance for Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA), a consortium of agriculture support organisations, has unveiled resiliance and capacity building programme for 300,000 smallholder farmers to accelerate maize production in Kaduna State .
AGRA Progrmme Officer in the state, Dr Esther Ibrahim, stated this at the inauguration of the training programme on Wednesday in Kaduna.
She said the programme would increase farmers productivity, resilience and support them in responding to issues of climate change.
According to her, the programme is to transform the food system in Africa particularly Nigeria which faced serious climate change challenges.
Ibrahim said the project would support 300,000 farmers in Kaduna state on crop value chain, especially maize, soybeans and tomatoes by strengthening their enterprising skills and market participation.
“The project is a consortium with other critical stakeholders along the value chain to provide expertise, market, finance and extension support.
“The overall aim is to ensure that Africa and Nigeria is able to feed itself with quality food,” she said.
She said that AGRA relied on the performance of Kaduna government partnership with other organisations such as ‘Tomato Jos’ to create enabling market for the produce.
Malam Ibrahim Husein, Kaduna State Commissioner for Agriculture, said the consortium for maize value chain would favour the state agricultural production.
He said the state government has invited investors in agro-allied industries to boost agricultural development, adding that some investors had constructed fertiliser blending plants in the state.
“They have also carried out 35,000 soil tests suitable for different crops and produce maps for different value chain,” he said.
He described the programme as timely sequel to the Russian-Ukraine war that affected global grain production, especially wheat.
“About 40 per cent of wheat grown in the world comes from the northern states, and already Kaduna state has commenced bridging the grain deficit, I believed this programme will go along way in encouraging crop production,” he said.
The Commissioner lauded AGRA for the initiative and hoped that the programme would impact positively on small-holder farmers.
Also, Prof. Emmanuel Ikani, Executive-Director, National Agricultural Extension and Research Liaison Services (NAERLS), Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, said the institute would continue to provide farmers with required knowledge on faming techniques to achieve higher yields.
The News Agency of Nigeria reports that AGRA is collaborating with NAERLS, Extension Africa, IITA, Premier Seeds and Pearl Mutual on implementation of agricultural interventions in Kaduna State. .
President Muhammadu Buhari has appointed Prof. Antonia Simbine as the first female Director-General of Nigeria’s National Institute of Social and Economic Research (NISER). In a statement by the Minister of State, Budget and National Planning, Prince Clement Agba said the appointment would take effect on June 1. According to a statement, Simbine succeeds Folarin Gbadebo-Smith, whose tenure expires on May 31, as head of the apex socio-economic policy research think-tank. Agba said that for five years until 2020, Simbine was a National Commissioner at the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) representing North-Central geopolitical zone and in charge the Federal Capital Territory, Kaduna, Plateau and Niger States. He said the professor of political science and international relations and current Head, Knowledge Management Department at NISER, “brings to her new role a track record of experience and distinguished work in human development research.” He said that she was awarded a Fellow of the British Chevening Scholarship award for her PhD programme at Leeds University, UK. ”Simbine served in the National Youth Service programme at NISER after her first degree in Public Administration from the Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria. ” She became a research professor and Director of the Social and Governance Policy Research Department at NISER in 2010. ”Her work and various publications are on politics and elections, gender issues, especially women’s education and political participation; international , conflict resolution and good governance. ”In 2013, Simbine was appointed a Faculty Member and Reviewer for the New York-based Next Generation Social Sciences in Africa Fellowship Programme of the Social Science Research Council. ”She has also worked with the Swedish-based International Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance (IDEA) on Democracy Assessment in Nigeria. “And as a scholar on an Exchange Programme at the Centre for the Study of Developing Societies New Delhi, India for research on political party systems in India and Nigeria. ”In 2008, Simbine served as a Consultant to the Electoral Reform Committee set up by the Nigerian Presidency, also worked with the Sub-Committee on Electoral Systems before being appointed a Member, INEC Registration and Election Review Committee in 2011.” According to the statement by Agba, Simbine is a member of several local and international professional organisations working on the promotion of democratic governance and development. The News Agency of Nigeria reports that NISER was set up in 1960 and domiciled in the University of Ibadan, Oyo State. It replaced the defunct West African Institute of Social and Economic Research, established in 1950. In 1987, the Institute was placed under the Presidency and moved from the University of Ibadan to its present Headquarters at Ojoo, Ibadan. Following its merger with the National Manpower Board, NISER was placed under the National Planning Commission in 2006.
Mrs Tinok Nok, 39, daughter of renowned Prof. Andrew Jonathan Nok, has declared her intention to contest the Senatorial seat for Kaduna South on the platform of the New Nigeria People’s Party (NNPP) in the 2023 general elections. Prof. Jonathan Nok is renowned for his discovery of the gene responsible for the synthesis of sialidase, an enzyme which causes sleeping sickness in humans (Human African Trypanosomiasis, HAT) and nagana in animals (Animal African Trypanosomiasis, AAT). Nok, was also the Commissioner of Health in Kaduna State from 2015 to 2017 before his demise. Mrs Tinok Nok made the declaration on Sunday while addressing party members at Kwoi in Jaba Local Government area of Kaduna State. She noted that her intention to contest for the Senatorial seat was not influenced by anyone but purely out of desire to change the tide of Southern Kaduna. “It is not impossible for security to be restored in Southern Kaduna; it is not impossible for the women and youths to be empowered politically and economically; it is not impossible for youths to be gainfully employed in Southern Kaduna and have improved infrastructural development in Southern Kaduna. “My aspiration is inspired, not because anybody sent me, but because I am tired of the backwardness of our region and the need to change the tide. “The people are tired of the status quo and are in dire need for a fresh air and as such, we are determined to bring succor through credible and accountable leadership in Southern Kaduna,” Nok said. Nok, who holds a Bsc in Microbiology from Ahmadu Bello University Zaria and Msc in Public Health from the University of Worcester, United Kingdom, said she was motivated to impact the lives of ordinary Nigerians. “The poor state of the nation due to bad leadership in our country is a major force behind my passion to making a difference, not only in the Nigerian society but Africa at large,” she added. On pet projects executed, Mrs Nok said she held outreaches in schools in the rural parts of the state, aimed at inspiring youths with the “stay in school” programme. She said she had also reached out to several young ladies who were into commercial sex work by introducing them to various skill acquisition programmes, to help them desist from commercial sex activities and make them better people in the society. Earlier, Mr Hosea Baba, NNPP Zonal Chairman representing Zone 3, in his address, applauded the initiative taken by Mrs Nok, describing it as bold, especially for the women folk. Baba noted that the party’s core mandate was predicated upon delivering the aspirations of the electorate, adding “our party would ensure a representation of leadership that is accountable and accommodating,” Baba added. Also, Mr Bulus Kajang who represented Mr Ben Kure, NNPP Chairman in Kaduna State, assured the aspirant of the overwhelming support of the party. “This bold initiative taken has the backing of the party and most importantly, the women folk,” Kajang said. He urged for sustainability of the campaign spirit, with the affirmation that victory would be achieved at the long run. The occasion, which witnessed traditional musical performances by various groups, was attended by representatives of traditional and religious leaders, politicians, women and youth groups. (NAN)