Some farmers in the North-East have expressed concern over the difficulties experienced in accessing fertiliser due to unavailability and hike in price of the commodity.
The farmers, who spoke in Bauchi, Damaturu, Gombe, Maiduguri and Yola, said the situation would result to low yields at harvest.
The decade-long Boko Haram insurgency and other forms of insecurity have adversely affected crop production as many farmers had abandoned their farms in parts of Adamawa, Borno and Yobe. Farmers in areas prone to insecurity now rely on close-by, often overstressed lands to farm in resettled communities, thus, making significant surge in the demand for fertiliser to boost soil fertility for bountiful output.
The farmers’ concerned stem from their inability to access fertilisers such as Urea, and the Nitrogen, Potassium and Phosphorous (NPK) due to exorbitsnd prices.
The situation was further compounded by the ban imposed on circulation of granular fertiliser in Adamawa, Borno and Yobe. The ban was to prevent Boko Haram insurgents from accessing granular fertiliser to make Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs).
A NAN check in markets across the region showed that prices of the commodity had shot up by over 100 per cent in the last one year.
A 50 kilogram bag of fertiliser was being sold between N25,000 and N35,000 as against its previous prices of N15,000 during the last cropping season.
Mr Sabo Bappa, a smallholder farmer in Askira-Uba, Borno, attributed the scarcity of fertiliser to drastic drop in the supply of the commodity.
He said the decrease in the supply coupled with the ban on circulation of the commodity resulted to price hike in the region.
The farmer urged government at all levels to adopt practical measures towards enhancing access to fertiliser.
Hajiya Fatima Misau, Treasurer, Small Scale Women Farmers Organisation of Nigeria (SWOFON) in Bauchi State, said prices of fertiliser had shown spiralling increase amid growing demand since the commencement of the rainy season.
She noted that farmers could not reap much without applying fertiliser, especially on impoverished lands across the region.
Similarly; Samuel Luka, a maize grower in Bauchi, said many farmers now rely on cow dung and chicKen droppings to nourish their farms as they could not afford exorbitant fertiliser prices.
“Many farmers are forced to abandon their farmlands which will result to poor harvest,” he said.
To address the problem, state governments in the region embarked on distribution of granular and liquid fertilisers to farmers at subsidised rate.
Gov. Babagana Zulum of Borno, said the state government could not distribute subsidised granular fertiliser to farmers due the banned imposed on the commodity.
He, however, said that his administration accorded pririoty towards enhancing farmer access to liquid fertiliser and other input to encourage productivity.
The News Agency of Nigeria reports also that the Borno Fertiliser Blending plant has been closed due to Boko Haram insurgency in the past 13 years.
Liquid FertiliserIn Adamawa; the Commissioner for Agriculture, Umaru Daware said the state government had procured 54,000 litres of organic liquid fertiliser for 2022 wet season activities.
He listed the products to include NPK, Urea brand of fertiliser and Folier rice, adding that it would be sold to farmers across the 226 wards at subsidised price of N4,000 per bottle.
According to him, the product costs N6,000 per bottle at open market.
He warned against diversion of the products, stressing that government would not condone erring officials.
Also; Malam Adamu Muazu, Programme Manager, Adamawa Agricultural Development Programme, said experts had certified liquid fertiliser to be safe and environmental friendly capable of increasing farm yields.
Shehu Jabdo and Usman Michika, both farmers in Adamawa commended the state government for introduction of liquid fertiliser in the state.
They said the initiative would end scarcity, encourage agricultural productivity and deal clashes in the state.
In Bauchi State, the state government has commenced distribution of fertiliser to farmers at subsidised rate.
Gov. Bala Mohammed who inaugurated the exercise, said NPK fertiliser would be sold at N15,000 and Urea N20,000 per 50kg bag.
The gesture, he said would make the commodity available to the farmers in the state.
Granular fertiliserMoreso, the Gombe State Government had so far distributed 72,000 bags of assorted fertilisers to assist farmers for 2022 wet season activities.
Alhaji Alhassan Fawu, Chairman, Fertiliser Distribution Committee, said the move was to reduce the effect of the high prices of the commodity on farmers and boost food security.
The Chairman who attributed fertiliser scarcity to the Russo-Ukraine war, said the state government had adopted proactive measures towards enhancing farmer access to the commodity.
He said that NPK brand of the commodity would be sold at subsidised rate of N19,000 per bag.
To further improve supply of the commodity, the Yobe government announced that the rehabilitation of its moribund fertiliser blending plant had reached 95 per cent completion stage.
The Commissioner for Commerce and Tourism, Barma Shettima said the plant designed with 18 tonnes production capacity per hour would soon begin operation.
“Yobe State Fertiliser Blending Company Limited, located at about 28km along Damaturu – Gujba road had reached 95 per cent completion.
“The company have the production capacity of 18 tonnes per hour if completed.
“Fertiliser scarcity would be a history among farmers in Yobe,” he said.
Farmers applying fertiliser in rice fields For his part; Alhaji Ibrahim Gare, Chairman, All Farmers Association Nigeria (AFAN) in the state, described farmers lack of access to fertiliser as a major bane towards sustainable agricultural development in the country.
While commending Yobe government for the distribution of fertiliser to farmers, Gare called for resuscitation of the fertiliser blending plant in the state.
UN reiterates commitment to Borno, others UN reiterates commitment to support Borno, others By Yakubu Uba Support Maiduguri, Aug. 18, 2023 The UN Humanitarian Coordinator in Nigeria, Mr Matthias Schmale, has renewed the commitment of humanitarian community to supporting Borno and others hit by humanitarian crisis.
Schmale made this known in Maiduguri on Thursday to mark 2022 World Humanitarian Day, graced by President Muhammadu Buhari.
“Allow me to recall that our United Nations Secretary General, Antonio Guterres, said in this same city just a few months ago, that the people of Borno have endured too much suffering and pain, and that he was inspired by the opportunities he saw to move forward with hope and dignity.
“Mr President, the humanitarian community is gathered here today precisely to renew our commitment to support the people affected by this protracted conflict in a dignified and future oriented manner.
“Our diversity encompassing representatives of Government and Non-governmental Organisations, civil society, international NGOs, and of course the United Nations, is a strength that we value and will continue to nurture.
“On this World Humanitarian Day, we are shining a light on the affected people themselves as well as the thousands of volunteers and paid employees who deliver urgent humanitarian assistance across north-east Nigeria, saving countless lives, improving living conditions, and protecting some of the most vulnerable people,” Schmale said.
He lauded the effort of all humanitarians on the frontline, mostly young Nigerians who, he said, on some occassion risk their lives and safety to reach people in need.
He noted that Aid Worker Security Database showed that 35 aid workers were killed in north east since 2016, with 22 wounded and 28 kidnapped, adding that safety is ever-present in their mind as they advocate for a safe and secure operational movement.
Schmale said that over 2.2 million people were presently displaced generating an alarming large scale humanitarian crisis.
“Amongst the troubles facing the region, I am especially concerned about the food security and nutrition situation.
Malnutrition is increasingly threatening the survival of more than a million highly vulnerable children, and we cannot let this happen.
“Women and girls, who are disproportionately impacted by this crisis, form about 80 per cent of people in need of humanitarian assistance.
“Each day they face an increased risk of violence, such as abduction, rape and abuse.
“The affected citizens themselves are a critical part of our humanitarian village and must always be part of the solution.
“As my predecessor Edward Kallon often said, ‘there are no humanitarian solutions to humanitarian problems.
The only solution is peace.
’ And if I may add, humanitarian needs are the symptons of a deeper crisis, that, and in addition to peace, requires sustainbale development to overcome it,” Schmale added.
The News Agency of Nigeria reports that Buhari, Gov. Babagana Zulum of Borno and the Minister of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development, Hajiya Sadiya Farouq, spoke at the occassion.
They lauded the sustain support from UN agencies and other partners in addressing humanitarian crisis in Borno and other areas in the country.
President Muhammadu Buhari has commended the Federal Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development for providing life saving assistance to displaced populations in the North-East region.
The president made the commendation in an address to mark the 2022 World Humanitarian Day organised by the ministry, on Thursday in Maiduguri.
He said the ministry aided the development of humanitarian policies and provided effective coordination of national and international humanitarian interventions since inception in 2019. While noting that the people in the region had suffered from the insurgency, the president said the establishment of the North-East Development Commission (NEDC), to among others stimulate support services and developed a master plan for the region.
“The plan known as the North East Stabilisation and Development Master Plan will contain programmes and skills that promote and facilitate physical and socio-economic development of the region as well as produce a comprehensive implementation plan.
“I am glad to hear from the supervisory minister that the north master plan has been finalised after consultations with all stakeholders,” he said.
He also commended the state governments in the region for complimenting the Federal Government’s efforts in ensuring the return and rehabilitation of Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) and refugees.
The president reiterated commitment to address humanitarian issues in collaboration with development partners, especially towards improving the resilience of vulnerable populations.
“For the Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs and its agencies, I urged you to pay particular attention on emerging issues as we seek to return and rehabilitate our people.
“The emerging issues include increasing number of orphans and widows,” he said.
The president also lauded the military and other security agencies for thier commitment in the fight against insurgency, and urged them not to relent in ensuring that the insurgents were completely eliminated.
He also tasked the military to ensure adequate security for farmers, adding that agricultural activities are needed for resettlement and development of rural areas.
Gov. Babagana Zulum thanked Buhari for his commitment to end insurgency and peace restoration in the state.
He also commended security agencies, international community and development partners for thier support to the state, adding that the sustain improvement in security had led to the closure of all IDPs camps in Maiduguri.
The governor called for more support to the Reconstruction, Rehabilitation and Resettlement (RRR) programme of the state government.
Also, Minister of Humanitarian Affairs, Hajiya Sadiya Umar-Farouq, said the World Humanitarian Day aimed at advocating peace and stability at home and abroad.
Umar-Farouq said the celebration to mark the day in Maiduguri was to show solidarity to people of the state who suffered the brunt of decade-long insurgency.
“This year’s theme is “IT TAKES A VILLAGE”.
It truly takes a village to provide emergency relief, protection and assistance, to build peace and resilience of affected communities.
“Mr President, permit me to acknowledge the presence of members of the humanitarian community here with us for their commitment of service to humanity,” she said.
She said statistics of the Aid Worker Security Database from 2016 indicated that 35 aid workers lost their lives, 22 wounded and 28 kidnapped, adding that six others had been kidnapped in 2022. “We respect the memory of those who died while performing service.
I would like to use this opportunity to recognise all the humanitarian workers who have been killed, injured or kidnapped in the line of duty.
“I have instructed the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA), National Commission for Refugees, Migrants and Internally Displaced Persons (NCFRMI) and the North East Development Commission (NEDC) to stockpile food and non-food items in order to mitigate food insecurity,” she said.
President Muhammadu Buhari has directed the Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development and its agencies to address urgent threats posed by explosive remnants in the North East region.
Mr Femi Adesina, the president’s spokesman, said Buhari issued the directive on the occasion of World Humanitarian Day 2022, in Maiduguri, Borno, on Thursday.
He affirmed government’s commitment to reducing the effect of disasters, climate change, insurgency and challenges of Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs).
He also directed the Ministry and its agencies to pay particular attention to emerging issues amid the return and rehabilitation of Nigerians displaced in the 13-year conflict and insurgency in the region.
He said: ”The emerging issues include the increasing number of orphans and widows.
”From our experience in the unfortunate Civil War, I know the threat that unexploded ordnances can pose to returnees even after the conflict has ended as we saw in the latest IED incident in Bama just last week.
”I urge the Ministry and its agencies as well as State Governments and the Special Committee I have set up under the Chairmanship of the Vice President to come up with specific programmes and projects.
”These projects would respond to these emerging challenges of explosive ordnance as well as that of children orphaned by insurgency.
” On the fight against insurgency, Buhari reiterated his directive to security agencies to take the fight to the hideouts of the criminal elements and ensure ”they are completely eliminated.
” He said: ”The Men and Officers of Operation Lafiya Dole, security agencies and the Multi-National Joint Task Force (MNJTF), are very much appreciated for their commitment to the fight against insurgency.
”I commend their professionalism and tactical penetration to the hideout of the criminal elements, leading to appreciable improvement of the security situation in this North East Region, without which the resettlement of the IDP’s would not be possible.
”I, therefore, implore you not to relent in your efforts, continue to take the fight to their hideouts and ensure they are completely eliminated.
”I also implore you to ensure adequate security for farmers in their farming activities.
agricultural activities are most needed for settlement and development of the rural areas and this can only be achieved if the farmers are sure of their safety.
” On World Humanitarian Day, commemorated annually on August 19, Buhari commended all humanitarian aid workers that provide the much-needed assistance to those afflicted by the conflict.
He praised humanitarian aid workers across the globe for distinguishing themselves through their courage, commitment and drive to help their fellow humans in need – often at extreme personal risk to themselves.
”This typifies the nature of humanitarian work and sacrifice, and it is a great testimony for the theme of this year’s World Humanitarian Day which is “It Takes a Village,” he said.
The president led other guests at the event in Maiduguri to observe a minute of silence in memory of all who lost their lives in disasters and humanitarian workers who died in the line of duty.
‘‘On this 2022 World Humanitarian Day and every other day, we stand and shall continue to stand in solidarity with humanitarian aid workers and recognize their tremendous service and sacrifice.
”We celebrate their tireless efforts to save lives, preserve human dignity, and alleviate suffering.
Their selfless commitment and actions stand as an example to us all.
”We will also make sure that they have our backing by ensuring that the Federal Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs and Disaster Management, Social Development facilitates their work,” he pledged,” he said.
Buhari also used the occasion to appreciate retired Gen. Theophilus Danjuma for his support to Borno Government in rehabilitating many IDPs in the North East. He described Danjuma’s humanitarian assistance as significant and patriotic, urging other Nigerians and organisations with the means to support humanitarian work.
The president also thanked the UNDP, the European Union, the government of USA, United Kingdom and Germany, as well as other foreign establishments for their support in complementing the Administration’s effort to stabilize the North East Region.
He urged all relevant public, private and international agencies to support government’s drive to rehabilitate IDPs, care for victims of insurgency as well as commitment to ”on-going processes concerning Boko members willing to surrender.
” In his welcome address, Gov. Babagana Zulum of Borno said “the state is enjoying relative peace and stability, thanks to the sacrifices of gallant soldiers, security agencies, local vigilantes and the MNJTF.
’’ He commended the president for his leadership and the successes recorded so far in the war against terror in the region.
The governor also hailed the establishment of North East Development Commission (NEDC) and the ongoing installation of a 50MW power generation plant to provide electricity in the State.
He also thanked the president for the recent approval of N15billion for the repatriation of citizens from the North East living in Chad, Niger and Cameroon as a result of the displacement caused by the insurgency.
Citing figures from Aid Worker Security Database, the Minister of Humanitarian Affairs, Sadiya Farouq disclosed that since 2016, 35 aid workers lost their lives, 22 wounded and 28 kidnapped.
She added that since the beginning of this year, six aid workers were kidnapped in the country.
On the choice of Borno for this year’s event, the minister explained that it was meant to highlight the humanitarian situation and plight of IDPs in the region and to inspire the much needed change.
While in Borno, Buhari inaugurated the Bulunkutu Teachers’ Quarters on Airport road and Molai 500 low-cost housing estate for IDPs constructed by the State Government with support of the Federal Government.
More than 7,264 persons are to benefit from Federal Government’s Grant for Vulnerable Groups (GVG) programme (GVG) in Borno.
The Minister of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development, Hajiya Sadiya Farouq, announced this on Wednesday while inaugurating the programme in Maiduguri.
Farouq said the programme started in 2020 as grant for rural women to sustain the social inclusion agenda of president Buhari’s administration inline with its commitment of lifting 100 million Nigerians out of poverty in 10 years.
“The GVG was designed to provide a one-offgrant, a cash grant of N20,000.00, to some of the poorest and most vulnerable Nigerians in rural and peri-urban areas across the 36 states of the Federation and the Federal Capital Territory.
“To empower the beneficiaries to improve their productivity and their commercial activities, mainly aimed at easing the mout of poverty.
“Let me add here that our target in Borno State is to disburse the grant to 7,264 beneficiaries across the 27 local government areas of the state.
“This is one of the highest slots in the country and this is because we put into account the impact of insurgency and large volume of IDPs in the state,” Farouq said.
She explained that Buhari, through his deliberate social inclusion agenda, had directed that 70 per cent of the beneficiaries must be women, while the remaining 30 per cent was for the youth.
She also said that Buhari directed that at least, 15 per cent of the total number of beneficiaries should be citizens with special needs, including Persons With Disabilities (PWDs) and Senior Citizens in the state.
The minister, who noted that the target of the grant was to increase income and productive assets of the beneficiaries, said they were expected to use the grant to improve their productivity, create wealth, generate employment and improve their living standard.
Gov. Babagana Zulum thanked Federal Government for its sustained support to Borno, adding that the inclusion of persons with disability and aged persons was a laudable decision.
Zulum who was represented by his Chief of Staff, Prof. Isa Marte, said the state government on its part had spent billions in supporting vulnerable persons, particularly in rural areas.
Zulum said the measures had gone a long way in frustrating the recruitment drive of insurgents in rural areas.
Other programmes carried out by the minister in Maiduguri included the distribution of starter packs to 168 N-skills beneficiaries and digital payment for conditional cash transfer.
She further performed the onboarding of independent monitors and inauguration of the sensitisation to the National Home-Grown School Feeding Programme (NHGSFP).
Some repentant Boko-Haram members were on Saturday engaged in sanitation of maiduguri as part of measures preparing them for reintegration.
The News Agency of Nigeria reports that the exercise was organised by Centre for Democracy Development (CDD), in collaboration with the Borno Government.
Speaking on the exercise, Prof. Mala Mustafa, a Senior Research Fellow with CDD, said the development was to prepare them for community services as part of the reintegration process.
“The rational behind this exercise is for CDD to support the Borno State Government as part of preparatory work for the reintegration of the ex-combatants.
“We felt it’s imperative to change the narrative, particularly the negative perception about them among community members.
“We want to rebuild relationship and trust between those that surrendered and community members,” Mustafa said.
He explained that 400 of the repentant insurgents had been mobilised for the exercise with 50 of them participating this Saturday for a start in Maiduguri Hajj Camp that is housing over 12,000 of the repentants and thier families.
Mustafa said the exercise by the repentants would be gradually extended to some selected communities in Maiduguri and its environment.
According to him, the repentants have been provided some training, particularly on civic education on how to deal with the challenges of stereotyping, while some Islamic clerics handled them on extremism.
Also, the Special Adviser to Governor Babagana Zulum on Security, Gen. Abdullahi Ishaq, lauded the Initiative by CDD which he said had been supporting the reintegration process.
“CDD provided the equipment for this exercise and has been providing us with technical advice as good partners,” Ishaq said.
He noted that the “Sulhu Alheri” initiative taken by government after years of the insurgency, had led to unprecedented number of insurgents surrendering which led to improved peace in affected areas of Borno.
“Today, Maiduguri is more peaceful than Abuja.
We want to continue to call on communities to support this sulhu (peace) process by accepting them,” Ishaq said.
He called for more support to Borno government from well meaning Nigerians and organisations in facilitating the process which required funding and other support.
Some of the repentants wearing T-shirts bearing inscriptions like “Please forgive us!
We have repented” and “Let’s rebuild Borno again”, who spoke to NAN, called on the public for forgiveness and acceptance for more peace and progress of the state.
NAN reports that over 70,000 insurgents and members of thier families have surrendered to the authorities as at July 29. They comprised 14,609 combatants, 20,955 women, and 35,029 children.
Gov. Babagana Zulum of Borno has approved the release of N19.3m for the immediate payment of scholarship allowances to 59 indigent students that gained admission into law schools.
The Executive Secretary of the Borno State Scholarship Board, Mallam Bala Isa made this known on Tuesday in Maiduguri while addressing newsmen.
Bala said the scholarship was for the 20212022 academic year.
“This is part of His Excellency’s commitment in assisting the educational sector and in assisting students of Borno at all levels of education.
“We are grateful to His Excellency for this support and we believe that the students will put in their best in order to make Borno proud,” Isa said.
Gov. Babagana Zulum of Borno has approved the appointment of Dr Lawu Mshelia as Acting Executive Director (ED), Borno State Primary Health Care Development Agency (SPHCDA).
Also approved by the governor is the appointment of Mr Abba Kyari as General Manager (GM) of Borno State Rural Electrification Board (REB).
The appointments are contained in a statement on Thursday by the Senior Adviser to the Governor on Communications and Strategy, Malam Isa Gusau.
“Kyari is moving from being director of electrical engineering at the Ministry of Housing and Energy to becoming GM of REB, following retirement of the former GM Jacob Katambi in February 2022. “On his part, Dr Mshelia will be replacing Dr Goni Abba at the Primary Health Care Development Agency.
“The Agency’s outgoing ED, Dr Goni Abba, is to assume a new office as Director of Public Health at the Borno State Ministry of Health, which is the office Dr Mshelia is leaving.
” The statement said Zulum congratulated the new GM of Borno State REB and Acting ED, SPHCDA and urged them to give their very best to the service of Borno people.
It also said that the governor appreciated the outgoing ED and urged him to deploy his experience from the SPHCDA to the health ministry toward enhancing public health services for the benefit of Borno people.
Borno Government has organised training on productivity and good governance for top civil servants in the state.
Speaking at the opening ceremony of the two-day programme in Maiduguri on Tuesday, the State Head of Service, Mr Simon Malgwi, said the training would enhance their productivity for effective service delivery.
Malgwi said the training would cover the thematic areas of leadership and good governance, human resources management, public works ethics and attitudinal change and productivity.
Malgwi said that the training of workers approved by the Gov. Babagana Zulum administration in 2020 was slowed down by COVID-19 pandemic, adding that the administration hoped to train 1000 personnel this year.
He urged civil servants to take advantage of modern technology to improve themselves for better and quality service delivery.
“Today we have commenced the training with 150 Ministerial Secretaries and Directors; next week we will also conduct another training for 200 officers on grade levels 0813. “This will be followed by the training of 60 store officers and related cadres in all the MDAs. “We hope to crown up the first phase of these trainings with a retreat for Permanent Secretaries in Abuja, specifically on public procurement and contract management.
‘It is therefore pertinent that even as government is recruiting new employees in critical sectors like education, health and administration, we must ensure that those still in service are well and properly trained for quality service delivery,” Malgwi added.
The head of service who raised concern over growing number of people retiring from the civil service, said currently the state government had over 16,000 staff.
The Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Scieman Consultant, handling the training, Mr Wakil Abbas, said the workshop was timely at this critical time that the state was in dire need of trained workforce for effective implementation of development plans.
Borno has declared Monday, Aug. 1 as public holiday to commemorate the beginning of a new Islamic Year, 1444 AH.
The Head of the Borno Civil Service, Mr Simon Malgwi, stated on Sunday in Maiduguri that all Ministries, Departments, Agencies and institutions are to observe the public holiday.
“Governor of Borno, Prof. Babagana Zulum has approved Monday as public holiday to mark the new Islamic Year (Muharram 1, 1444) AH.
“To this end, all government Ministries, Departments and Agencies as well as all private establishments including financial institutions are directed to observe the public holiday.
“The governor wishes Muslim faithful happy new Islamic year and urges all to continue to pray for permanent peace to be restored to our dear state and to the nation at large,’’ Malgwi added.