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Dry season harvest excites Kogi farmers, IFAD, locals

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By Stephen Adeleye


Following the introduction of dry season rice farming by IFAD/VCDP in Kogi State, many communities keyed into the new farming technique whereby they can also enjoy dry season rice farming, which was hitherto an alien practice to farmers.

Amidst joy and jubilation, the dry season rice harvest was carried out in Okumi and Kabawa communities with funfair, attraced the locals who came to witness the reality of the dry season rice farming.

The harvest witnessed a large turnout of farmers, spectators and staff of Kogi VCDP headed by the State Program Coordinator, Dr Stella Adejoh, who was amazed by the rice yield.

While speaking at the event, Adejoh who was full of excitment pointed out that God through IFAD/ VCDP had done it again for the people of Kogi State with the introduction of dry season rice farming.

According to her, the sky is the starting point for rice farmers in the state, because of the fact that the support of IFAD/VCDP was not only limited to dry season rice farmers but the programme is also supporting wet season rice farming as well as cassava production.

According to her, the intervention is primarily targeted towards rural farmers comprising of youths, adults, males and females and other genuine farmers who are passionate about farming as a profession.

The prpgram coordinator stated that, ”As many who are serious with the programme will definitely enjoy the benefits of their engagement”.

She encouraged the youths present at the occasion to take full advantage of the IFAD/VCDP in the State to better their lots.

While responding to questions at the occasion, one of the farmers, Mrs grace Solomon, a dry season rice farmer, applauded the initiative of the Kogi IFAD/VCDP and said that the new innovation of dry season rice farming had availed them the opportunity to be engaged twice a year instead of once that has been the practice.

She further explained that she will continue to expand her farming capacity due to the way and manner VCDP had been supporting her rice farming activities.

Madam Grace expressed appreciation to IFAD/VCDP for counting her worthy to have participated in the programme of the project, which has impacted her positively.

The lady confessed that her yield was massive this year such that she was able to do what she could not to do before the intervention.

She said that she used part of the proceeds to support her husband in his academic pursuit at the polytechnic.

She, however, appealed to the management of KG /IFAD/VCDP for continuous support in the area of inputs such as bags of fertilizer, chemicals, clearing of the land for her and other of her colleagues to grow their farms.

In the same vein, Mallam Abubarkar from Kabawa, who is also a dry season rice farmer, confirmed to newsmen the quality of rice seedling from VCDP as uncommon compared to others.

He noted that ‘faro 44’s yield was outstanding among other species, and thanked IFAD / VCDP and Kogi State Government for the initiative, noting that before the introduction of ‘Faro 44’, his yield was not as robust as that of faro 44.

He explained that when he planted other seedlings on one (1) hectare, his harvest was about 55 bags of 100kg but with the cultivation ‘faro 44’ on the same hectare of land his harvest improved drastically from 55 bags to 85 bags in a harvest.

Abubarkar narrated some advantages of ‘Faro 44’ over others i.e faro 44 tillers are shorter with several tillers and stronger with broad base capable of withstanding hazards than other species, adding that ”it is farmer friendly and has high capacity for pest resistant”.

Mallam Abubarkar called on VCDP for more support because they (farmers) have embraced rice farming as their mainstay and occupation.

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ActionAid trains, empowers 750 youths with N38m in Nasarawa

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From Abel Daniel, Lafia

As parts of efforts to curtail youths restfulness, unemployment, ActionAid has trained and empowered 750 youths with skills and start up kits handed to the trainees.

Speaking at the Presentation of the items to the beneficiaries in Lafia on Friday, the country Director Mrs. Ene Obi said that two years ago ActionAid flagged off the “System and Structure Strengthening Approach against Radicalization to Violent Extremism (SARVE II) Project in Nasarawa State.

She stated that ActionAid did promised to support vocational skills training for 750 youths and thereafter provide starter packs for them to start up their businesses.

“Today, that promise is being fulfilled as ActionAid Nigeria together with her Nasarawa partners, Global Peace Development and Beacon Youth Initiative, under the supervision of the Nasarawa state government will be handing over 6 vocational skills equipment worth N38,000,000 (105,555.555 USD) to 750 youths in Nasarawa State”, she stated.

According the country director, the beneficiaries were trained across 6 vocational skills namely: tailoring, hairdressing, shoe and bag making, ICT, phone repairs and Carpentry from 12 communities in 6 Local Government Areas which are Obi, Akwanga, Nasarawa Eggon, Nasarawa, Toto and Lafia.

She stated further that while young women and men seek opportunities to invest their potentials, they are often negatively affected by poverty, marginalization, unemployment, and under-employment, and often find themselves lacking the necessary literacy competencies, capabilities, and skills to overcome these issues.

She noted that if care is not taken young people can become vulnerable target of recruitment by violent extremist groups who exploit their frustrations and vulnerability.

She however warned that youths in the state stand the risk of being vulnerable with Nasarawa State’s 29.83% unemployment rate and 31.06% underemployment rate according to the Quarter 4 of 2020 report of Nigeria Bureau of Statistics (NBS).

“Given this, ActionAid Nigeria, and her partners with funding from the Global Community Engagement and Resilience Fund, (GCERF) took steps in reducing the vulnerability of these youth, through the provision of vocational skills training to boost their income generation and making them entrepreneurs as a panacea in the prevention of violent extremism in Nasarawa State”.

“Some of the results achieved through the SARVE II project include 1,614 persons (youth-600 young men, 505 young women: 509 adult women) reached, with useful life skills to keep them engaged and away from the influence of extremist groups”.

“The capacities of 30 police officers were built to respond to rising issues of violent extremism through the crucial Human Rights-Based Approach (HRBA) while working closely with community policing structures that already exist.
“In the same vein, 6 Local Government Conflict Management Alliance (LOCMA) structures were established in 6 LGAs in Nasarawa State to prevent conflicts from the communities and promote peace in general.”

She assured that ActionAid remained dedicated to the fight against poverty with its vision of ‘A world, without poverty and injustice, in which every person enjoys his or her right to life with dignity.

The country director congratulated the beneficiaries and urged them to utilize the items presently to improve their economic and Carriers.
In his remarks, governor Abdullahi Sule who was represented by the commissioner of youth and sport, Usman Bala commended ActionAid for choosing Nasarawa state and for investing hugely on the youths.

Sule urged the beneficiaries to take advantage of the rare privilege of being part of those selected as he urged them to use the skills as well as the start up kits to establish and improve their living.

He however cautioned youths in the state to remained focused and shun thuggery and all forms of criminality

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They call me demolisher for not sharing money, expect more from my successor’

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Kaduna State Governor, Nasir El-Rufai, has pre-empted that his successor would be deadlier in demolishing houses in the State to give facelift to urban development.
Reacting to some residents of the state who were allegedly referred to him as a demolisher he said they should not celebrate that demolition will end with his tenure as he assured that the next governor would do more for the development of the state.

El-Rufai spoke on Friday on a radio programme in the state capital.

According to him, some residents who understand their motives, now appreciate the urban development being executed across the state by his administration.
According to him his critics are attacking him for not sharing money to them, stressing that developing the state was worth more than sharing of money.

“When we started working on school construction they said we are not providing roads now we are working on roads they said we are not empowering people.

“If sharing money at night is what they mean by empowering people, they should keep insulting us.

“The masses who we are working for appreciate what we are doing for them.

“You know the election is approaching and they see me as a demolisher “Mai rusau” so they think that maybe the next person that will come after me will not demolish but he will demolish more than I do, God willing,” he said.

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Humanitarian minister canvasses for adequate funding for States’ sexual Assault referral centers

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The Minister of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development Sadiya Umar Farouq has asked the Federal Government to increase funding to strengthen the various State Sexual Assault Referral Centres (SARC)in the country.
The special adviser to the Minister on media Nneka Ikem Anibeze in a statement in Abuja on Thursday said the Minister made the call during a Virtual Economic Council Meeting chaired by Vice President Professor Yemi Osinbajo,

Presenting the National Guide For the Establishment Of Sexual Assault Referral Centres in Nigeria, the Minister noted that the weak commitment of State governments to strengthening the multi sectoral inter-agency collaboration has made it difficult for the SARC centres to meet the ever growing demand from victims.

To this end, she said the Federal Government should provide robust funding for the 31 SARC centres in 17 states across Nigeria responsible for providing free medical assistance, forensic medical examination counselling and justice support services to survivors of sexual violence to be at their optimum best in service delivery.

“A recent survey of some of the SARCs portrayed a common challenge which is a weak commitment from State governments to strengthen the multi-sectoral inter-agency collaboration mechanisms that will sustain the delivery of SARC services to the public.
“What this means is that the State-led SARCs lack the requisite funding needed to ensure optimal service delivery.
 
“The need to establish and commit to adequately funding Sexual Assault Referral Centres is further justified by the low conviction rates of rape and sexual assault cases.

“According to available data, the centres have provided assistance to over 17,000 victims of sexual assault with 73% of the victims under 18 years of age.”

Farouq noted with sadnesd that only 11 out of 3000 cases have been prosecuted in six states, while 107 were fatal, 742 cases were still open and 188 cases were closed.
“A well funded SARCs will help increase conviction rates through the provision of forensic evidence to support prosecution in court”.

With 20 states including the FCT adopting the Violence Against Persons Prohibition Act of 2015 and 6 states awaiting Executive assent, Umar Farouq urged other states to see the issue of gender based violence as a serious pandemic that should be tackled.

In his response, the Chairman of the National Economic Council and Vice President Prof. Osibanjo also commended efforts being made by Minister Umar Farouq to fight violence against women as he added his voice to the ‘name and shame’ penalty for offenders.

In the same vein, the Governor of Ogun state, Prince Dapo Abiodun lauded the Minister for her commitment to the cause and the fight against Sexual related offenses against women and girls as he called on other states yet to set up Sexual Assault Referral Centres to do so.

The Minister of Environment . Muhammad Mahmood Abubakar described rape as traumatic for the victims as he advocated for stringent punishment for sex offenders.
“Except the appropriate penalty is meted out to sex offenders, they will continue to be on the prowl” he said.

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