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Jonathan challenges NASS to make LG councils stronger, autonomous

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Jonathan challenges NASS to make LG councils stronger, autonomous

As a sure way to ending poverty ravaging the country, former President Goodluck Jonathan has challenged the National Assembly to make laws that would make local councils stronger, autonomous and able to generate own revenue.
The immediate past President of Nigeria said yhe lawmaker should immediately mobilise colleagues to amend relevant sections of the 1999 Constitution (as amended) to give the people at the grassroots the opportunity to decide who leads them through election.
Jonathan threw the challenge when the national and state executives of the Nigeria Union of Local Government Employees (NULGE) paid him a courtesy visit in his Otuoke country home, Bayelsa State on Thursday to seek his opposition to a bill seeking to delist the local government structure from the constitution.
According him, the local government system is the oldest globally accepted means through which government impacts positively on the lives of the people at the grassroots, adding that any bill targeted at delisting it from the constitution was an abuse of democratic tenets and procedures.
He urged state governors to refrain from getting directly involved in the day-to-day running of the councils, as their actions make governance unreliable, unacceptable and undependable at the third tier of government.
His words: “The problem with Nigeria is that our local government structure is still very weak and whatever restructuring we are talking about, Nigerians must sit down to discuss. And the issue of local government autonomy must be considered.
“As long as we have weak local governments, we would have difficulty managing this country. The way it is now, the person who runs the state, runs the LGAs and that makes nonsense of the whole concept of the third tier of government.
“The President should manage the nation, governors should manage the states and chairmen should be allowed to run the local councils.

“And until we are able to do that, it would be difficult to impact the people at the grassroots. It is only through local councils that the dividends of democracy can permeate through the society. And all of us must advocate for this right.”
He continued: “The local councils must be strong, autonomous and allowed to generate own revenue.
“The issue of appointment now makes local council look like a part of the state’s administrative structure, but that is not what ought to be. This is an abuse of democracy. So, this appointment system has made council chairmen become like aides to the governor and we must discourage that.”
Earlier, NULGE’s National President, Comrade Olatunji Ambali, pleaded with their host to persuade the sponsor and member representing Ahoada East Constituency in the House of Representatives, Bob Solomon, to back down.

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Farmers protest Dangote company’s encroachment into their farmlands in Nassarawa

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Farmers protest Dangote company’s encroachment into their farmlands in Nassarawa

From Umar Egbunu Muhammed, Lafia

Concerned farmers in Dankan Shan Iska in the Awe local government area of Nasarawa state have protested over an alleged illegal encroachment
into their farmlands by Dangote Sugar Refinery in the local government
of the state.

The community led by their leader, Mr. Ibrahim Ahmed on Monday begged Governor Abdullahi Sule of Nasarawa state
to come to their aid by prevailing on the company not to use their land.

Ahmed, who also a
Is the chairman of Dankan Shan Iska in the
community, alleged that their farmland was dined compensation by
Dangote and his agents, affirming that the agents ignored their peal
and went ahead to clear the land for their own use.

According to the leader of the farmers, the members of the community
are currently experiencing encroachment on their land by Dangote Sugar
Refinery, stating that the encroachment has taken over 3,571.438 hectares
belonging to the people of the community without compensation.

He, however, stated that: “Dangote and Awe Development Association
(ADA) community agreed that Dankan Shan Iska was not part of the areas earmarked for compensation.
He expressed concern why Dangote later decided to clear the land.

He added that the farmland was not measured for the ongoing
compensation exercise of Dangote lands compensation, affirming that he would be happy if their complain would be given express consideration for
the Dangote Suger company be cautioned against taking over their lands.

“We are happy with the coming of Dangote to Awe LGA, but he must not encroach on our portions for farming ,because Nasarawa is an agrarian
state whereby farming is the major occupatio of the majority of the people in Awe LGA and we would not like anyone to seize our land from us,” he lamented.

The team leader urged the authorities concern to urgently address the
issue at stake so as to avert any possible outbreak of crisis in the
area.

Efforts to speak to Dangote agents handling the clearing of the site
in Awe LGA, proved abortive as several calls into his mobile phone
could not be replied as at the time of filling in this report.

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‘For Nigeria to overcome insecurity, LG must work again, priority must be given to Agriculture’

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‘For Nigeria to overcome insecurity, LG must work again, priority must be given to Agriculture’

National Coordinator/ Manging director Nigeria Farmers Group and Cooperative Society (NFGCS) Tedheke Retson has indicated that the only solution to insecurity is to empower the Local Government which is the closest Government to the grassroots.
Speaking with the Guardian in an interview in Abuja on Sunday he said most of Nigerian Problems stem from the fact that the Local Government has been strangulated.

According to him, the use of violence and guns can not help the country to overcome insecurity.
“The local Government system must work again. If the Local Government don’t work, development can not be inclusive, it cannot be total, it cannot be foundational and it cannot be progressive.
According to him, when the Local Government is strengthened, it will be able to build the rural communities.
“If the States dedicate just five percent of their resources to agro development every Month or every quarter, I assure you no Jupiter can keep insurgency active in this country.
“The foundation of insurgency is the neglect of rural Nigeria. You have to understand this statement in context, because States have refused to develop their rural communities, Bandits, Kidnappers and extreemists have found willing cooperators in the rural Nigeria whom they can recruit.

“Bokoharam may have difficulties in Abuja or Lagos but they will never have difficulties in recruiting in the rural communities like Garte.
He said since the industrial revolution in Garte all the youths are no longer available for the insurgents because they are now being used as source of development.
He said if the States empower the local Government to be productive they would also be viable.
“Right now they are not productive and because they are not productive the States are lagging behind and because the States are lagging behind they cannot do as much as they should do.”

“It is only on social media you see Nigerians talk about agriculture as if it is a bad thing. It is not a bad thing, it is actually a very good thing because
if you understand agriculture from the concept of value chain, if you understand agriculture from the concept of Agric business then you will see it as a tool for answering the Nigerian National question.
“The national question is primarily the issue of security, economy, social infrsatructure.”
According to him, if every local Government has, local dams, at least five earthen local dams and drop 100, 000 fingerlings and refrain from touching them in the next one year, until the next dry season, what you are going to get is massive fish for export across the country.

“That is a source of Forex, source of livelihood and an opportunity for millions of Nigerians across this country to be employed.
“Just from dumping 1m fingerlings in every dam, you are going to be talking of industrualisation because you may start thinking of processing those fishes, extracting whatever you need for pharmaceutical use, taking the one for feeding and then send out to the country side.
“This can be done across all the 36 states of the Federation including the FCT, so the Farmer has to think because in context Agriculture is not profitable when all you do is crop faming it was not profitable, 1400, 1800, and so it cannot be profitable in 2021.
He said when we started in 2017, he saw that if he wanted to progress, if he wanted to survive, if he does not want to die, he had to evolve.
“So we evolved from maize production into producing other crops and into processing.
“Now we are evoving into using a 500million cubic meters dam dumping in it 5million fingerlings, protecting the dam properly so that all year round the fishes are there once in a year you harvest, its revenue, its tourism, is an opportunity for people and it is a whole new thinking of how agriculture should be.

He said Nigerians consume a lot of rice, they have the population and arable land he sees as the big puzzle, why the country will be importing rice from Thailand?
“If we do the right thing we have the capacity of exporting rice to Thailand. What does it need, it needs the ability of our local Governments to think, it needs the States to deploy resources into real production not just cultivation.
“It needs more to be done by the Federal Government. so far so Good the Federal Government seems to be the only level of Government that is interested in real agro development.
“A trailer load of rice today costs about N15m. Nigeria consumes between 10 to 15million metric tonnes of rice every year.
“If you do your calculation rightly, You will realise that it is a multi billion Dollar industry that we are allowing other nations to dominate us when we have the capacity.
“What is the technology in rice? Don’t go to Europe, dont go to the West, go to Asia.

He said the 50tonnes of rice mill that they have installed in the farm costs N500m.
He said he has plan put up another 100tonnes miller that will cost us about N1 Billion.
“So with N1.5b we have a capacity to produce 150 tonnes a day, that is ten trailer loads of rice a day. multiply that by N15million, that is about N150m transaction a day. “So when people talk about industrialisation are they right? when you look at the rice value chain alone, in the next five years wecan do 5 trailer load a single day. What does that tell you that can be done in every Local Government and in every state?”

He wondered why Nigeria would be wasting foreign exchange in importing rice and palm oil.
“Nigeria currently spend about $500m to import palm oil, meanwhile of the Niger Delta, the South East are all hot beds for palm oil. The North central is hotbed for palm oil.
“The Northcentral, the South South and the South East can produce enough palm oil that will make Nigeria the dominant producer of palm oil for cream, for soap and all of them.
“This country would have been bringing in over $5b every year in earnings from export, even if it is not the finished goods, export the raw materials. “The reality is this everything you see us add on the rice farm right now is to add value, is to build value, to increase value.
“I always say do not be scared about debt. You use debt to build value, You use debt to add value.
“If you dont use resources and debt to build, you can not add value and if you cannot add value you cannot have access to resources and if you cannot add value to resources, you cannot grow.
“There is no nation in this world that is not indebted especially the developed nations.
He said the local Government and State Governments must begin to understand that the insanity of insecurity that is goibg to consume all of us in future, the madness of Social Media that is allowing people to promote northernisation, Fulanisation can be stopped if states become productive and resourceful, if they become effective and look at Agric Business as a source of industrial revolution.
“If States look at Agric Business as a source of solving their internal quagmire. if they look at Agric business as the source of industrial development, it is historic,it is factual, it is foundational, it is the reality.

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Jigawa Gov vows to get to the bottom of an alleged LG employment scam

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Jigawa Gov vows to get to the bottom of an alleged LG employment scam

Jigawa State Governor Muhammed Badaru Abubakar indicated that under hand dealings would not be tolerated in the civil service hence resolve to get to the bottom of an alleged local government employment scam.

The governor who spoke  workers day celebration in the state made the disclosure in response to issues raised by the state NLC Chairman, Comrade Sunusi Alhassan, who alleged that there was a gross abuse of due process in the issuance of appointments and promotion of selected staff by the local government service commission.
The Governor said,
“I am aware of the syndicate as I was reliably informed of the scandal, I assure you that I will not spare anyone found culpable no matter how highly placed he may be”Badaru noted.

The NLC chairman in his speech earlier asked the governor to quickly intervene to save the state civil service from the brink of losing its hard-earned reputation.
The Governor also assured workers in the state of his commitment to continue paying salaries and pension as and when due

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