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Nigeria to export rice in two years, says Agric minister

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The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Sabo Nanono, says with the phenomenal increase in rice production and processing in the country, Nigeria will be exporting the commodity in the next two years.

The minister stated this on Thursday in Kura, Kano state during an assessment tour of the impact of the border drill on the entire rice production value chain.

Nanono and the Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed led stakeholders and a team of journalists on inspection of a cluster of cottage rice mills in Kura.

The team also visited four integrated rice mills in the state which are Al-Hamsad Rice, Kura Brothers Rice Mill, Tiamin Rice Ltd and Umza International Farms.

“The way and manner we are going in the production of rice, in the next two years, we will start exporting rice outside the country.

“For those that are worried about the partial close of our borders, we are not doing this to hurt the people but to protect the future of the country, provide jobs and food sufficiency.

“Government will continue to give support to rice farmers to achieve this goal,” he said.

The minister said that Kura is an agrarian settlement known for irrigation farming in rice, tomato, maize and other items, mostly consumed in the Southern part of the country.

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He said farmers in Kura had, however, concentrated on rice production following the border drill and the ban in rice importation.

Speaking in the same vein, Mohammed assured that the federal government would continue to support the stakeholder in the rice production value chain.

He, however, appealed to rice growers and millers not to see the loans given to them as their own “share of the national cake”.

“They must understand that when loans are not paid back, it will be difficult for them and others to get more loans,” he said.

Alhaji Ali Idris, Chairman Kura Rice Processing and Marketing Association called on the government to sustain the border closure, stressing that Nigeria has the capacity to feed itself and the neighbouring countries.

Idris, who spoke in Hausa language, said since the closure of the borders and the commitment of President Muhammadu Buhari to achieving self-sufficiency on food production, his people were fully back in business.

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He disclosed that over 10,000 youths in Kura Local Government were gainfully employed in the rice production value chain and they produce about 5000 tones of rice every day.

He commended the federal government for supporting them with modern machine and urged provision of polishers, de-stoners to further enhance their production.

Another miller, Adamu Habu called on the government to sustain the border closure because of its impact on the economy.

He said more people were being employed in the rice production value chain and supporting the economy.

The President of Integrated Rice Millers Association in the state, Alhaji Mohammed Umza, said the border closure had impacted positively on rice industry nationwide and in particular, Kano state.

He said prior to the closure, the industry had been battling with foreign rice market forces which threatened its coexistence.

Umza said that the border closure had helped to transform the rice value chain in Kano state and government should sustain it.

“Kano state, by virtue of its agrarian origin has provided a conducive atmosphere where rice milling activities thrives.

“The state has the largest concentration of integrated rice processing mills as well as clusters of cottage rice mills scattered across nearly all the local government in the state.

“Of the 35 registered integrated rice mills in Nigeria, about 12 are domicile in Kano and more are coming up, which makes Kano undoubtedly the capital of rice processing in Nigeria.

“An estimated 5000 metric tones of finished rice is turned out daily by the combined integrated mills and cottage mills in Kano.

“This is shared in the ratio of about 60 per cent from the cottage mills and 40 per cent from the integrated mills.

“Combined, the mills employ about 10,000 people either directly or indirectly,” he said.

Umza urged the federal government to sustain the good work of securing the borders and hence the economy.

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He said, if the policy is sustained, the industry would continue to grow and provide food and employment to the rapidly growing and urban population.

(NAN)

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Nigerian woman, 24, acquitted of $291,000 online scam in Canada

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A 24-year-old Nigerian woman who was standing trial in Canada for alleged $291,000 online scam in 2019 has been acquitted of the said crime.

According to reports, Kaosiso Ezibe was charged after a woman reported she was defrauded by someone she met online.

Police say that a 60-year-old woman met someone claiming to be a wealthy architect living in Toronto through an online dating website.

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Between February and March, the woman allegedly started an online relationship with the architect, conversing through emails, text messages and phone calls.

According to police, the wealthy architect was a fabricated identity.

Kaosiso Ezibe has, however, been pronounced discharged and acquitted of the said crime.

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Three government ministers in Gambia test positive for Covid-19

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Three ministers in Gambia’s government have tested positive for the coronavirus, officials said, days after the West African nation’s president went into self-isolation.

President Adama Barrow said last week he would self-isolate for two weeks after Vice President Isatou Touray tested positive.

Finance Minister Mambureh Njie, Petroleum and Energy Minister Fafa Sanyang and Agriculture Minister Amie Fabureh “have tested positive” for the virus, the presidency said in a tweet on Sunday.

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According to AFP, Health authorities in the former British colony of some two million people have recorded 498 coronavirus cases to date, with nine fatalities since its first case was reported in March.

The Gambia closed air and land borders in March. It has also restricted public transport, shut schools and markets, and made face masks compulsory.

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But as with other poor countries in the region, there are fears that the tiny nation is ill-equipped for a large outbreak.

 

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Kaduna killings: CAN charges El-Rufai to take action

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Nasir El-Rufai

The Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), South East Chapter, has urged the authorities to ensure security of lives and property in Kaduna.

The South East CAN Chairman, Bishop Goddy Okafor, made the call in Aba on Sunday while addressing newsmen on the persistent bloodbath in Southern Kaduna.

Okafor, of the Glorious Gospel Centre, Aba, Abia, said that failure to stop the killings in the state was creating fears in the minds of citizens about their safety in their own country.

“The killings going on in Southern Kaduna are very disturbing.

“We are one people and we believe we are one nation, but for these persistent killings going on in Southern Kaduna to keep occurring without drastic measures to stop it is very disturbing.

“These people that are being killed in Kaduna are Nigerians.

“Governments and security agencies owe it as a duty to protect them.

The protection of lives and property is the responsibility of the government.

“Every time there are killings, some bandits are blamed.

“So, we keep asking, these bandits are they really human beings or spirits?”

He said that Nigeria is a great nation with a future if well-governed. He noted that if citizens should wallow in doubt of their citizenship rights, it would not benefit the country.

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Okafor urged governments to clear any doubt in the minds of Nigerians about the source of the killings by stopping them.

The cleric urged the Kaduna Gov. Nasir el Rufai to do all in his powers to curb the killings in the state.

Okafor also urged Police authorities to ensure their men did more intelligence gathering.

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He warned that incidences as killings, banditry, should not continue if Nigeria was to know peace and security.

The bishop further spoke about the health challenges in the country and pleaded with medical personnel planning to leave the country to jettison the idea.

He stressed that the development, if not halted, would endanger Nigeria’s healthcare system.

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He, therefore, urged the government to provide what the professionals needed to perform creditably and to enjoy their work in order to discourage their emigration.

“If we lose all our good hands when we are sick, who will take care of us?

“Government should listen to NMA and keep the best doctors we have with us here,” he said.

Okafor expressed dismay at the rate at which Nigerian youth engaged in cultism and other crimes.

He reiterated the need for Nigerian youth to be given a sense of direction in life through job creation.

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