Rice farmers, who are beneficiaries of the Value Chain Development Programme (VCDP), have cried out over the destruction of their farmlands by flood.
The farmers, mainly from Lokoja, Ibaji and Ajaokuta Local Government areas of the state, told the News Agency of Nigeria in Lokoja on Thursday that they had suffered colossal losses on their rice farmlands due to flooding.
NAN reports that VCDP is a Federal Government and International Fund for Agriculture Development (IFAD)- assisted project.
The farmers are under the IFAD-VCDP Rural Poor Stimulus Facility (RPSF), designed to cushion the effects of COVID-19 pandemic on rural farmers.
The Liaison Officer in Ibaji Local Government, Mr Achogu Fredrick, told NAN that about 216 rural farmers in the area, who benefitted from the IFAD-VCDP RPSF, had all lost their rice farmlands to flood.
According to him, each of the 216 farmers have one hectare of rice farmland, all totaling 216 hectares in Ibaji, all of which had been submerged.
He said that IFAD and VCDP had funded RPSF to pull farmers from poverty created by COVID-19, adding, however, that the flood had pushed them back into hunger and starvation.
”The RPSF grant, which is a palliative to support us as vulnerable rural farmers to cushion the effect of the COVID-19, has been lost again.
”A total of 216 farmers, who benefitted from the RPSF grant, have lost everything to the flood.
Indeed, it is a double tragedy for us.
”We did not only lose our farmlands but also, our houses and other property.
The fear of what tomorrow holds for the farmers is what is in the heart of the people now.
”We are calling on the federal and state governments as well as other relevant organisations to come to our aid, because this is a colossal damage which cannot be easily repaired.
Infact, the entire Kogi VCDP farmers are in mourning mood ow,” he said.
One of the beneficiaries, Mr Friday Ofor, expressed sadness over the sudden loss of their rice farms to flooding.
”We never expected this kind of great loss.
It caught us unawares.
We are appealing to relevant agencies to come to our aid,” Offor said.
Seidu Liman, youth and women farmers’ leaders in Kabawa and Magajiya clusters, described the situation as a great damage to them and their families.
Liman said that the effect of the loss on their rice farmlands would be huge on their wellbeing, after investing their time and resources.
He called on government to come to their aid by providing palliatives for immediate relief.
Maryam Abubakar, another women leader, said that the affected farmers in all the three local government areas lost their farmlands and other property.
Abubakar said that the flood had further exposed the farmers to more suffering than before.
Also, Dr Stella Adejoh, State Programme Coordinator of , expressed sadness over the destruction of rice farms by flood.
According to her, several people, including vulnerable rural farmers, lost their means of livelihood during the COVID-19 pandemic and are consequently faced with hardships.
Adejoh said that IFAD-VCDP, through the RPSF grant, decided to help vulnerable farmers affected by the pandemic to bring them out of poverty.
She said that the farmers were provided grant in form of inputs, such as fertiliser, certified rice seed as well as selective and non-selective herbicides.
She said that about 614 rural farmers, cutting across the four rice producing local government areas of Lokoja, Ibaji, Ajaokuta and , benefitted from the RPSF in the state.
According to her, it is regrettable that the vulnerable farmers have lost almost everything due to flooding, adding, ” I feel very sad and demoralised over the colossal loss.
Gov. Yahaya Bello of Kogi has expressed grieve over the death of Maigari of Lokoja, Alhaji Muhammad Kabir-Maikarfi III (OON), who died on Wednesday.
In a statement signed by his Chief Press Secretary, Onogwu Muhammed, in Lokoja, Bello said the late traditional ruler lived a life worthy of emulation and prayed God to grant him eternal rest.
He described him as principled, firm, incompatible and a loving father.
The governor said the traditional ruler’s words of advice, guidance and unique leadership would greatly be missed.
Alhaji Muhammed Nalado-Usman, Secretary, Lokoja Local Government Traditional Council, in a statement issued to newsmen in Lokoja on Thursday, said Kabir-Maikarfi III died after a brief illness.
He said the traditional ruler, who died at the age of 80 in a private hospital in Abuja around 11.00 p.
m. on Sept. 28, would be buried on Sept. 29 in Lokoja.
Late Kabir-Maikarfi 111 ascended the throne in 1992 and was considered one of the longest serving traditional rulers in Kogi.
The Acting Corps Marshal, Federal Road Safety Corps, (FRSC) Dauda Biu has cautioned motorists and passengers plying Lokoja Kotonkarfe, Kogi routes due to flood.
This is contained in a statement by the Corps Public Education Officer (CPEO) Assistant Corps Marshal (ACM) Bisi Kazeem on Wednesday in Abuja.
”The FRSC wishes to inform the motoring public, particularly those traveling through Lokoja- Koton karfe to the South East and South west to be cautious of Flood.
“Those also to and from North should exercise extra caution on that route due to the overflow of the confluence state River which has at the moment took part of the major expressway.
“From the report received about the flood, there are two flash points where the flood is critical.
“This in which are Kabawa road linking Nataco junction in Lokoja to Lokoja town as well as Ganaja village which links Lokoja town to Ajaokuta road, “he said.
Biu advised motorists to try as much as possible to be wary of dangers inherent in night travels at the affected areas to avoid any mishap He said it had become necessary to urge the public to take caution due to the attendant risk the flood could cause to the motoring public.
NAN reports that massive flooding on Sunday overran the jaokuta-Ganaja-Lokoja road in Lokoja, the capital city of Kogi. The road links the metropolis of the capital city to the eastern part of the state.
NAN flooding covered the portion of the road at Ganaja village such that only by canoes that the commuters could cross the flooding.
Residents note that the road is strategic to socio-economic activities, linking Kogi to the eastern part of the country which has been made inaccessible now to motorists and commuters by flooding.
Gov. Yahaya Bello of Kogi has pleaded with the National Population Commission (NPC) to provide accurate demographic and other data hat can help the state to get support it needs for development in the 2023 national census.
He claimed on Wednesday in Lokoja that more than one million “people transit through the state monthly, thereby putting pressure on its limited resources.
According to him, accurate demographic data arising from the 2023 national census can be used to create funds to bear the pressure of using the state as a transit route.
During the national stakeholders summit on 2023 Population and Housing Census organised by NPC in Lokoja, Bello observed that the state is strategic, sharing boundaries with 10 states, including the Federal Capital Territory.
Represented by his deputy, Chief Edward Onoja, he said that of recent Kogi had witnessed massive influx of new people in search of a place to live or do business in the state.
He claimed that people chose the state to live because it had the capacity to guarantee security of lives and property with a fast-growing commercial environment.
“The United Nations, through some of its agencies, has consistently and insistently declared that Lokoja is projected to be the third fastest growing African continent city between 2020 and 2025. “The Wall Street Journal which expanded on the UN findings, says the population of Lokoja metropolis will grow 78 per cent in the next decade, quicker than every other sizable town in the world.
“In Kogi today, we are catering for no fewer than six million citizens and we have to provide for more than million citizens per month, who transit through our state on their way to and fro other parts of the country.
“This has put an inordinate amount of stress on our facilities, making both maintenance and replacement excessively frequent and prohibitively expensive.
“It is our strong expectation that the next census will not only represent this phenomenon accurately, but will go a long way in granting us the special status we need to keep Kogi safe,” he pleaded.
He noted that another national census in 2023 was imperative to produce a new set of demographic and socio-economic data that would provide the basis for national planning and sustainable development.
According to him, governments at all levels rely on population data to activate and sustain development, especially the provision of basic amenities such as electricity, water, schools, housing, health and educational facilities, among others.
Mr Nasir Isa-Kwarra, the Chairman, NPC then assured Nigerians and development partners the commission’s commitment to the conduct a credible and acceptable census that would be transformational and meet international standards.
Represented by Kogi NPC Federal Commissioner Prof. Isa Jimoh, the chairman said “the 2023 census will be fully digital and the commission has deployed technology to conduct the exercise and enhance data quality.
“In the 2023 census, everyone will be counted in the right way, at the right place and time, and for the benefits of all persons resident in Nigeria.
“This is what informed this summit with the hope of getting the support of all stakeholders here to join hands with NPC in realising the dream of providing the needed demographic data that will facilitate and place our country on the pedestal of sustainable development.
There is no outbreak of measles in Kogi, the Commissioner for Health, Dr Zakari Usman, has declared.
He told newsmen in Lokoja that media reports of an outbreak some three days past, was outright misinformation.
“The misinformation must have arisen from a measles sensitisation programme held the previous week by the state’s Primary Health Care Development Agency.
“During the programme, the agency gave statistics of measles cases reported in the state since January.
“It was a cumulative record of cases ever reported within the period of nine months – January to September.
“As we speak, there is no active case of measles in the state,’’ Usman said.
The commissioner implored residents of Kogi to disregard media reports of purported outbreak of measles affecting 52 persons in the state.
Usman assured that the ministry would continue to collaborate and interface with the media to keep the public properly informed about health issues in the state.
Prof Alewo Johnson-Akubo, Vice Chancellor (VC), Salem University, Lokoja, Kogi, has bagged the Sir Ahmadu Bello Sardauna Sokoto Platinum Leadership Award by the Northern Youth Council of Nigeria (NYCN).
The News Agency of Nigeria reports that the award, which was conferred on the VC in his office on Monday, was accompanied by a Medal of Honour as the “Garkuwan Matassan & Cynosure of Educational Transformation.
” Presenting the award to the VC, the NYCN President, Dr Isah Abubakar, explained that Johnson-Akubo’s choice for the prestigious award was sequel to his outstanding achievements as a Nigerian youth in the position of leadership.
“Sir, your lofty induction into Northern Youth Council Hall fame today, Sept. 26 is in recognition of your immense contributions towards purposeful leadership and youth empowerment.
“You are, indeed, the youngest Vice Chancellor in Nigeria today, and your life is already a blessing and role model for others to emulate.
“As a youth, you are Nigeria’s pride being a man of strong and good character doing marvellously in Salem University, Lokoja,” he said.
The president, who was represented his Vice, Mr. Victor Adodo, urged the VC to remain focused and committed to the wonderful works he was doing at Salem University, which he said had become a known citadel of education in Nigeria.
Responding, Johnson-Akubo, thanked the council for counting him worthy for the prestigious awards and pledged not to let the Nigerian youths down.
The VC said he was surprised when he was first told about his choice by the council to honour him, but that it had not only encouraged him to do more as a leader but to stand for honesty, sincerity and hard work.
“My word of advice to your council is that you too should continue with the good work you’re doing as it serves as an encouragement to those of us in the position of leadership in this country,” he said.
Johnson-Akubo lamented the involvement of youths in various social vices such as kidnapping, cyber crimes, thuggery, drug abuse, among others.
He said, “integrity is key to a man’s success in life simply because once you have integrity nothing else matters.
“Therefore, our fellow youths, who are the leaders of tomorrow, should keep their integrity intact and be prepared to take the Nigerian nation to an enviable height.
Flooding in some communities in Kogi has affected the turnout of students as schools resumed classes in the state on Monday.
A visit by the News Agency of Nigeria correspondent to some schools in Lokoja showed that there were low turnout of students in most schools.
In Adankolo, Ganaja, Kabawa and Gadumo, among others, the turnout of students was poor.
The Principal of GYB Model Science Secondary School, Dr Yakubu Godwins, said that the school had resumed and the academic activities had started in earnest but the students’ turnout was affected by flooding.
”The teachers and non-teaching staff who struggled to be here have to pass through some hectic process to find their ways to school.
”We have also started seeing some traces of flooding in the school compound now, but we hope it will not go beyond this level in the next few days”, he said.
NAN reports that teachers were seen teaching the available students in some of the classrooms visited One of the students, Faith Kubule, said she felt very excited for being back to school after the long holiday.
She thanked the governor for transforming and equipping their school to a great standard.
Other schools visited were Government Science Secondary School, Zone 8, Saint Luke Model School, Saint Thomas Aquina and Adankolo, among others.
Meanwhile, the State Commissioner for Education, Science and Technology, Mr Wemi Jones, said that no school premises had been affected by flooding in Lokoja.
The commissioner made the disclosure while addressing newsmen after going round some schools in Lokoja.
According to him, except for schools in Ibaji Local Government Area that might have been submerged, no school in Lokoja metropolis has been affected.
He explained that the number of schools affected by flooding in the mentioned local government areas had yet to be ascertained.
Jones, however expressed the readiness of the ministry to fill any noticed vacuum.
He said that the ministry was working round the clock to ensure that students resumed a new academic session and settle down for studies.
Kogi House of Assembly on Monday recommended the shutting down of ETA ZUMA Mining Industry Ltd. over inability to explain its operations within the state.
Mr Umar Tanimu, Chairman of the Ad-hoc Committee of the House probing mining industries in the state, made the recommendation during the continuation of the investigative hearing in Lokoja.
The News Agency of Nigeria reports that ETA ZUMA Mining Industry Ltd., which has been mining in the state since 2014, failed to register with the state’s ministry of solid minerals.
The company also did not appear before the committee with any document as directed at the last hearing.
Representative of Zuma firm, Mr Francis Okere, had told the Committee that he was only asked to come and present to the house an apology letter over the misconduct of their company’s legal officer at the last hearing on Sept 21. “We are still preparing and gathering the necessary documents you asked us to bring before you.
“I was only asked to come and tender a letter of apology to you over the attitude of our legal officer with a promise that such won’t repeat itself,” Okere assured.
But the committee felt slighted and expressed dissatisfaction with Zuma’s excuse and queried, “after the ample time we gave to your company, you still came here empty handed with no single documents?
” The committee, however, recommended that ETA ZUMA Mining Industry Ltd. be shut down with immediate effect.
Tenimu said the company would remain shut until it formally registered with Kogi State Ministry of Solid Minerals and paid the social contribution funds as well as other fees to the state.
The Chairman directed that all the 157 listed companies in the state must register with the Ministry of Solid Minerals within one month, without which they should be shut down.
NAN reports that the House during a plenary some weeks ago, set up and tasked a committee headed by Mr Umar Tenimu to look into reasons why despite the plethora of big companies operating in the state its IGR remained at a dismal and disappointing level.
The lawmakers had frowned at the modus operandi of the 157 companies and ordered that they “must be investigated” to determine what they were contributing to the coffers of the state.
A Chief Magistrates’ Court in Lokoja on Monday ordered that a 47-old-man, Tahairu Abdul,aka, Iyepopo be remanded in Custodian centre for allegedly killing two brothers in Kogi. The police alleged the defendant with criminal conspiracy, culpable homicide and Mischief by fire of dwelling House.
Chief Magistrate M.
A. Mopa ordered that they should be remanded in Koton Karfe correctional centre in Lokoja.
Mopa adjourned the case until Oct. 6. Earlier, the police alleged that the defendant sometime in 2020, conspired with some people and killed a retired Naval officer and a traditional title holder, Sylvester Mohammd-Sule and his brother, Onwocho Sule, both of Aku Community in Ankpa Local government of Kogi. When the case came up before the e defendant pleaded not guilty to the charge.
The Prosecution Counsel, Insp Toyin Momoh, told the court that on Jan. 29, 2020 the suspect conspired with others at large to commit the act.
He said that the defendant conspired with Sylvester Sule and Onwocho Sule in their separate houses at Aku village on the Jan. 29, ,2020 and also set ablaze property worth billions of Naira.
The offence, he said, contravenes the provisions of sections 97(1) 223 and 337 of Kogi State penal code, ” he stated.
In an affidavit sworn affidavit in support of a motion experte, Momoh attached an application to remand the accused person in a correctional centre in Koto Karfe pending the next adjourned date for hearing of the case proper.
He said that his application became imperative in view of the fact that the police were still carrying out preliminary investigations into the case.
According to him, when the brothers were killed, the accused and his cohorts ran away until on Sept. 19 that the accused (Abdul) was arrested by cracked intelligence Police personnel.
He said the rest suspects were still at large.
Massive flooding on Sunday over ran Ajaokuta-Ganaja-Lokoja road in Kogi which links the metropolis to the eastern part of the state.
The News Agency of Nigeria in Lokoja reports that the flooding covered the portion of the road at Ganaja village such that only through can commuters could cross over as vehicles could not ply the road.
Residents note that thr road is strategic to socio-economic activities, linking Kogi to the eastern part of the country which has been made inaccessible to motorists and commuters by flooding.
According to them, canoe operators have cashed in on the development, charging passengers between N50 and N100 to ferry them across the flooded road.
“We have to charge that high because of the cost of the rigour involved.
“As you can see, it’s not easy to ferry passengers across the flooded road,” one Jimoh, an operator of a canoe, told NAN.
A resident also said that the flooding has so far created fear in the minds of residents of Ganaja village and its environs because it has begun to submerge peoples’ houses within the area.
“Some of the residents have, therefore, relocated to either their relations or friends in safe communities in the state,” the resident said.
The Nigeria Metrological Agency (NiMet) had last week issued a warning of massive surging of flooding in the country, particularly in 13 states including Kogi. The agency predicted that this would happen within the remaining days in September, following the expected heavy rainfall within the period.
Hydro Power Producing Areas Development Commission (HYPPADEC) had also on Saturday begun the distribution of relief materials to victims of flood in 10 affected local government areas of Kogi. HYPPADEC Managing Director Abubakar Yelwa warned residents against staying on flood-prone areas.
Yelwa said that the devastating effects of flooding could go beyond anyone’s imagination and the effects should be avoided.
Kogi Commissioner for Environment Victor Omofeye also told NAN by telephone that the state government was aware of the development.
According to him, the government is looking for how best to address the situation, particularly the affected residents.
He appealed for calm and caution on the side of motorists and commuters not to endanger their lives by undermining the flood and attempt crossing the floodedroad.