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Nigeria Farmers Group urges States to develope rural communities with 10% of monthly revenue

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Nigeria Farmers Group urges States to develope rural communities with 10% of monthly revenue

***Says Rural communities are Goldmine waiting to be harnessed

National Coordinator/ Manging director Nigeria Farmers Group and Cooperative Society (NFGCS) Tedheke Retson has described rural communities in Nigeria as the Goldmine of economic development if only Governors will set aside 10% of revenues to develope them.
He therefore charged
the state Governors to set aside 10% of their monthly revenue for the development of the rural areas.
Speaking to newsmen in Abuja about the loss of over N200m his farm center at Ga’ate Community, Kokona Local Government area of Nassarawa State incured on account of the COVID-19 pandermic he said insecurity will be contained if rural communities are developed.

“It is time for States to commit 10% of their monthly revenue towards developing rural communities, that is the goldmine because once you develop rural communities you take away insecurity and create opportunities.
“We must begin to develop rural Nigeria such that it becomes impossible for Bokoharam to go and recruit, why because these guys have something that they are holding onto.
“When you develop rural communities you create the ability of rural Nigeria to become a goldmine for continued productive work.
“Nigeria is capable of 10% GDP growth if we focus on the development of rural communities.

Speaking also against the background of the rice pyramids of Kebbi and how it can be replicated as a national project he said, “Kebbi rice pyramid can be replicated nationwide if our Governors understand that the only way they can create job is through agriculture.
“Look there is no job that the ICT sector can create that can match 10% of what agric can create. The oil sector does not have the capacity to create 5% of the jobs agricultural sector can create.
“So when we are able to look at agriculture, on every hectare of farmland, even when you are using machinery and the staff and you have 84m arable farmland, think of it in numbers.
“So even if you want to talk about mechanization, you need personnel and if you talk about industrialisation, you need personnel. If you want to open more lands you need personnel.
“The rural Nigeria is where the majority of our population lies. That is why you see today that insecurity is actually becoming a problem in rural Nigeria because they will attack urban areas and go back to the rural areas.
“So what you do is to create rural farm settlement centers as there will be nothing there for them to do in the cities.

On his experience in 2020 he said, “The reality is that 2020 was a very bad year for farmers. I will say that any farm that can survive the challenges of 2020 will probably not die again. “But that is why we have always asked that agriculture should be treated as a national treasure because every industrial revolution has been premised on Agric. As an agrarian, from the west to the east.
“Nigeria is blessed to be in such a particularly good place because when you over 200 million people with an average youth population of 19years and about a 100milliom arable farmland.
“What Nigeria must do is to use agriculture as a foundation of sustainable economic development in other to mitigate the challenges that ordinarily should have arisen from COVID-19.
“So yes it was a very tough year, it was a tough year with our investors, it was a very tough year with markets, because if you don’t move good you cannot sell and if you don’t sell you cannot make money, if you are not making money, you are not surviving.”

He said he wished sometimes that the fourth quarter of 2020 is written off the books of history because between August and December was the worst experience the farm ever had.
“We lost money, when we were to move some of our cows to the south because of the restriction of movement, we lost money with #EndSars protests because with the protest came the opening of border and foreign rice flooded Lagos.
“Hence we lost money in so many ways but at the end of the day what you must keep doing is to keep building since at the end it is value that determines longevity.
“It is value that determines process and productivity and because the farm has been able to build value over the years it was easier for us to.
“Thankfully December last year the Central Bank of Nigeria supported the farm with N734m with the hope of increasing that because they see the farm as a local content driven project, Nigerian project with Local content and the project has kept on creating employment  reducing joblessness and increasing productivity for the greater good of our people.
“If you look at our fourth quarter GDP figures you will realise that non-oil revenue was the major component of that growth and that is exactly what we need to do.
“So 2020 is not a year some of us want to remember but then we learnt lessons from the year like 2020 for future growth and sustainability. “

“Yes, Government sets policies in place but one of the biggest misconception is that Government has no business in business that is a fallacy, Government is the only business in Business.
“The United States economy at this particular time before the end of Donald Trump, the Government bailed out the small businesses over $4trillion and Joe Biden never did 3 months he has increased the tally by $1.9 trillion that means Government supporting the private sector in an economy that is supposed to be the most capitalist economy in the world, so Government is the only business in business.”
He admonished be the leading figure in providing finances in a time where the purchasing power is really low, with lack of movement when industries are suffering. “Government should be the central Figure in not only providing finances but providing the enabling business environment, not only doing that but opening new markets by providing the basic infrastructure necessary for creating access to markets from the rural areas to the urban markets.
He said his farm built a dam with the capacity of holding 500 cubit meter of water.
“A farm like ours should not be building dam, infact if there is an Avenue for me to recover that money from the Federal or State Government I will recover it.
“I spent about N60m to build the dam, not only holding for the farm during irrigation where we can cultivate a 100 hectares of farm land but also holding water for more that 100, 000 cattle from all over the area that come to drink water for free.
“That is not my job, I shouldn’t build a ruga where I am connecting electricity, 33KVA line for about 5km from the main road to this place where I am spending about 70m for the connection and giving a transformer to the community, that is not the job of a private business person, my job is to make money.
He said it is because Government has failed in so many areas particularly in the area of infrastructure provision. “It is also not the job of the federal Governme t alone, the state and local Government must come in because development should not be seen as a concept that is told to us by the world bank and the IMF.
“You should begin to look at it as not communism, capitalism or socialism but you should begin to look at it as communitalism, where the community becomes the central focus of development and growth.
“That is what the Chinese did, the Chinese economic revolution was a cultural revolution, where the culture of the people was used as a foundation of economic development. That is what drive real growth. “So yes, Government sets policies but beyond that Government build basic infrastructure.”

” it should stop talking about using 1Billion to construct 1km of road, No.
“You see, roads that connects communities do not need to be asphalt, they only need real laterite compact. They will cost you less and within a year or so, you can open and connect all the farm communities to market centers because the source of insecurity is the foundation of inability of the people to be self sustaining. Look, rural Nigeria does not need schools, that will cost N100, 000 to attend, with N10,000, N15, 000 people send their children to school in rural Nigwria. So what do you do, it is to provide basic jobs. Jobs that will pay, N10, 000 to N20, 000 but jobs that are sustainable over the long run. People are complaining about Ruga being a challenge, Government is suppose to use Ruga as a  source of employment. The farm itself is a Ruga, because this farm we sleep, in this farm, Fulani stay, in this farm, you have all your viewing centers, you have playing ground for children, you have processing ground, you have an abattoir, you have hydroponic section where you plant grass, in the farm you have a clinic, in the farm you have conference center, you have football field. It is a farm ecosystem, like the one in Isreal  a farm ecosystem, where everything you need is within the farming community. When you do that, you are creating jobs. We cater for about 500 jobs at the peak of the planting season. Imagine you have project like this in every local Governments, you have Rugas like this in every Local Governmenrs  in every State of the Federation that is doing almost everything, pigs, cows, goats, plantation if you have them in every local government  within the next decade you will generate over 10 million jobs and those 10million jobs do not need to pay you N500, 000 per month as salary, all they need to do is to pay an average of N30, 000 to N40, 000 but then you have community schools that would be good enough, community health centers that would also be good. So Government’s role is beyond infrastructure, it is beyond policy, it is with regards to cheap money. The money that the CBN gave to the farm is coming to us at about 5% interest rate per annum and we just a circular recently that the CBN has extended that 5% till 2022. So I am going to be paying 5% on a N700m facility. The CBN is also opening a N2b line because of what they think we are doing. So the issue is, Government needs to make money available to real farmers not the paper farmers. Government needs to do a lot along that line or else when COVID comes tomorrow we are still going to struggle. The country that was able to overcome COVID fastest was China, do you know why? Because China is a productive economy, Asia did not suffer as much from COVID as the Wwest because over the last decade production has moved from the West to Asia. The HP laptop that is made in America is actually manufactured in China. Almost everything that is here in this office is made in China. So while the world was undergoing a recession driven by COVID-19 China was experiencing increase in productivity during the pandemic and that is driven by their ability to produce. You have almost a 100m hectares of arable farmland and the Federal Government has to do everything. The state Government is not doing as much as they should and the private sector also is lagging behind in what they are expected to do. 

Can we know the range in terms of the amount you lost last year?

The farm lost in excess of N200m due to the COVID issue in 2020. Most farms suffered similar fate like ours. 

How can the country replicate the rice pyramid in Kebbi in other states?

Right now they don’t have anything they are holding onto so anybody can come and give them N1000 and what will they do? They will take that N1000 and take AK47, smoke small weed and they are going to destroy communities. So the thing is for Kebbi to become a component of our national discuss, for what happened in Kebbi to become part of our progress discussion, States must begin to look at their competitive advantage.

Why will Nigeria be importing Gari from Togo? When in those days the Niger Delta used to be the hub of production of Gari, what are we talking about?

In 1976  Indonesia and Malaysia came here to learn about palm oil, today both countries do worth of over $10b export of palm oil and Nigeria is importing 1 million metric tonnes of palm oil every year is that not a curse?

States must begin to look at their competitive advantage in agriculture because that is the only way we can grow. States should stop talking about going to Abuja for the monthly allocation.

The ruga atmosphere in this farm is visible for a first time visitor, there is fulani settlement here, looking at the issue of at the national.burner which is Fulani  the criminal ones are told to leave, it is now a political issue and also a tribal issue, tearing Nigeria apart, how did you.manage to incorporate fulani into your farm ecosystem?

Nigerians have the habit of foundation in every conversation on insanity, on
mediocrity, with parochial sentimentality. It worries me sometimes to hear people discussing northernization and now we talk about Ruganization or Rugaphobia. We are supposed to look at the economics of Ruga, I will give you a perfect example. The American Cowboy is a Fulaniman, yes go and look at him historically.

A cowboy is somebody who stay on top of a horse to look after his animals, cows,, that is why he is called cowboy. So the American Midwestern states, Texas, Yahommy all are fulani cow area. What the Anerican did was that they monetized their own fulani men. You see the cowboy with their Sanches shoes, with their shirt and hat like Don William’s, think about, rith now the American Fulani community which is a cowboy community is a $500b community. Come home to Nigeria, Buhari has been President for six years, Osinbajo has been his vice and a pastor for that number of years, Osinbanjo has not become a Muslim.

R

What we must begin to look at is, what is the economies and comparative advantage of the fulani. Nigerians don’t look at the foundation of our crises. My grand father left Urhobo land and went to kale, for those who are from Niger Delta you will understand what I am talking about. Kale is a very fertile land so most people from the upland Delta in the 40’s and 60’s moved to Kwale to settlement Father  late professor Moses Tedheke was given birth to in Kwale. So most of them actually went to Ruga communities in Kwale to go and farm. That is the concept and foundation upon which Ruga should be discussed so, there are currently 20m cows in Nigwria and the way the cows are currently grazing is not economically viable because they lose a lot of fat as they track all the way from Sokoto to go and look for fresh grass in Warri for example and this migratory pattern is human as it is historic. Man chases where there is food that is why all of would leave village to Lagos even if we sleep under bridge. It is the way it is, so no matter how you shout or point gun the cows are always going to be migrating from the dry land to the wet lands.

So what do we do? I have said it before, create a small central corridor that is going to be foundationed from Kwara all the way to Benue and Adamawa in and then to Nassaraw. You create a NorthCentral corridor. When you build Rugas like this, it is not owned by the fulani, it is not owned by individuals, it is owned by the State. For God’s sake Awolowo did it with his Cooperative program in those days, Sir Ahmadu Bello also talked about it as a concept. That was what led to the grazing reserves in the 40s and 60s


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Value chain: Gov Sule launches women multipurpose cooperative society in Wamba

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Value chain: Gov Sule launches women multipurpose cooperative society in Wamba

By Umar Egbunu Muhammed, Lafia

Nasarawa State governor, Abdullahi Sule, on Tuesday, launched the United Sister’s Multipurpose Cooperative Society, in Wamba central market, a Federal Government and International Fund for Agriculture (IFAD), initiative aimed at reducing poverty.

Sule equally commissioned a solar-powered borehole located at Haske Gari Processing Centre, Gbude, also in Wamba Local Government Area.

He explained that both activities, jointly funded by the federal government and IFAD, are aimed at ensuring food security, increase small-scale farmer’s income. Enhance processing and marketing of rice and cassava, as well as promoting accelerated growth on sustainable basis.

According to him, the Value Chain Development Programme, is the initiative of the federal government, geared towards diversifying the economy as an alternative source of revenue.

He added that the programme is intended to focus more attention on agricultural growth with a view to transform the sector as the mainstay of the country’s economy.

The governor disclosed that in its determination to key into the programme, his administration, on July, 1, 2020, approved the whopping sum of N176m as counterpart funds, for the take-off and implementation of the project for the period of two years.

Sule reiterated the resolve of his administration to continue to align with policies of the federal government, in the collective commitment to providing the desired development, adding that it informs the decision by the state government to attract investors like Olam Nig. Limited, Dangote Group, Azman Rice, Flour Mills Nigeria Ltd, among others.

While appreciating the Federal Government and IFAD for choosing Nasarawa State to host the event, the governor disclosed further that similar projects have been completed in Lafia and Nasarawa, while those of Doma and Karu Local Local Government Areas are ongoing.

Earlier, the Programme Coordinator in the state, Dr. Eunice Adgidzi, disclosed that they have completed multi million naira projects across five local government areas, including five solar-powered boreholes, three market stores and two market stores.

She added that two market stores, as well as the cassava model 2 processing mill with crèche and restrooms, are ongoing.

Dr. Adgidzi said a total of 2, 233 farmers from 204 farmers’ organizations, engaged in rice and cassava production, processing and marketing, have been profiled and are benefiting from the project.

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HOSTCOM talks tough over 10% equity, says it can resurrect militancy

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HOSTCOM talks tough over 10% equity, says it can resurrect militancy

***List grey areas that must be expunged or ammended in the PIB

Host Communities Producing Oil and Gas (HOSTCOM) have advised the Federal Government against truncating the passage of Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB) stating that anything short of their demand for 10% equity, may prompt Niger Delta militants to return to the creeks.
The National President of HOSTCOM, High Chief (Dr) Benjamin Style Tamanarebi said every indication points to the fact that the Government is not interested in the passage of the bill because of lack of sincerity.
Tamarabi issued the statement as an executive summary after the joint committee on PIB town hall meetings between tha national Assembly with the Governments of the States, stakeholders and and Host Communities Producing Oil and Gas that took place from 1st to 5th of March, 2021.
He said the Niger Delta militants have been calm because of the high expectation that the HOSTCOM will secure the 10% equity in the PIB to at least atone for the monumental degradation on their environment.He therefore warned that it is in the best interest of all stakeholders that the federal Government stop treating the Niger Delta interest with kids gloves as it may boomerang. 
In the executive summary that was jointly signed by the National President and chairmen of the nine State chapters of the HOSTCOM, they listed the grey areas in the bill that must be expunged or amended.
They therefore reiterated their position to stand by the On-shore Host Communities so defined as Host and directly impacted Communities 50km radius of the Project site which includes pipelines.
They also reiterated in strong terms their unwavering position as submitted at both chambers of the National Assembly, especially the crucial areas as indicated in the various sections of the PIB.
They want a mechanism to be set-up for the obtaining of approvals by the Minister in matters that affect Federation account to include the Producing States and Host Communities as in chapter 1, part 1 which deals with Vesting of Petroleum, ownership as major stakeholders.
They want Part 111. Sections 3,4,5, which said, the Commission shall not undertake both Commercial and regulatory activities at the same time and should not temper with federation account funds such as the proposed 10% of rents on petroleum licences and petroleum mining leases which are usually in dollars to be expunged.
They demanded that the Governing Board be expanded to accommodate each of the Producing States and HostCom representatives.”The Governing Board of the Authority should also be expanded to accommodate each of the Producing States and HostCom representatives.
“On Section 47, which deals with Funding of the Authority: they want the proposed 1% to be expunged since the National Assembly appropriates funds to the Authority on a first line charge in addition to four other sources of funds.
They also want the Midstream Gas Infrastructure Fund contained in Section 52 to beexpunged and the Location of the Headquarters (HQ) of theAuthority to be in the major Petroleum Producing States.Part V, section 53, subsection (1) which says the Minister shall within 3months at the commencement of the Act incorporate the limited liability Company, they want ownership of all NNPC Limited share to be vested in the Government of the federation at incorporation and held by the Ministry of Finance Incorporated, HOSTCOM and the Governments of the petroleum Producing States of Oil and Gas for and on behalf of the people as in Section 53, subsection 3.

Subsection 6 & 7, which states that NNPC Limited and any of its subsidiaries shall conduct their affairs on a commercial basis without recourse to government funds and their memorandum and articles of association shall state these restrictions in the Bill.

On section 54, that deals with Transfer of Assets and Liabilities: “Let it be madeclear that NNPC must remain a Government National Company and any sale of shares must be with the approval of the Federal Government, the Petroleum Producing States/HostCom and the National Assembly.
 “The assets NNPC controls belongs to the Federation not the Federal Government alone. Assets, interests and liabilities of NNPC not transferable to NNPC Limited or its subsidiary under sub section (1) of this section, shall remain the assets, interests and liabilities of NNPC until they become extinguished or transferred to the Government.
“The Petroleum Producing States must be given rights to first refusal to acquire the shares since most of the assets NNPC Ltd manages are derived from Petroleum which is produced from the Petroleum producing State.

On section Section 55, that deals with the Appointment of NNPC limited they said, theMinister shall upon incorporation of NNPC Limited, consult withthe Minister of Finance, and the Governments of the Petroleum Producing Oil and Gas States and HOSTCOM to appoint NNPC Limited.

On Section 59 that deals with the Board of NNPC Limited Composition, they want NNPCLimited to be determined by the shareholders of NNPCLimited in accordance with the provisions of the Companies and Allied Matters Act and the articles of association of NNPCLimited since NNPC Limited is not solely owned by Government.

Continuing they also wantChapter two, Part 11, section 68, Up-streams operationsrelating to Titles and interpretation to be vested in the Federal Government and Governments of the Petroleum Producing States/HostCom.

They want section 68 subsection 3, sections 77(3); 78(2) etc, which provides for 1,500sq kilometres for anyfrontier acreage and limitless period for exploration to be expunged.

They demanded that Section 86, that deals with the Duration and Renewal of leases and licences to be for 5years minimum and 10years maximum.

On environmental Management Plan contained in Section 102 they demanded that the submissionmust include the compliance and implementation to all extant local and global regulations precedent to the commencement to anactivity and so stated in the bill.

Section 103: As a condition for the grant of a licence orlease and prior to the approval of the environmental management plan a licensee or lessee shall pay a prescribed financial contribution to an environmental remediation fund to the Host Communities (HostCom).
Section 104 that deals with Gas Flaring Penalties to be paid to Host Communities they said, now that the date is shifted all flaring fields should be captured, daily flares recorded accordingly by appropriate measuring and gauging instruments and data base provided, including a specific process on how to end the flare on or before 2025.
They want Section 115, that deals with Compensation for acquisition of land relating to the issuance of certificate of occupancy to be be expunged.
Chapter 3, section 234 Host Communities Sustainable Development: in pursuant to this Act there shall be established Host Communities Oil Producing Areas Development Commission (HC-OPADEC) which shall be replicated at the State and localGovernment levels.

Section 235: subsection(1) deals with the word settlor which the demanded should be replaced with the word Operating Company.

Section 4 deals with the appointment of Board of Trustees which they want be by the Communities and for the Communities as recommended.

“Section 240: Deals with the sustainable development trustfund, which shall be 10% equity share holding which is sacrosanct and shall include 25% of the royalty accruing from the oil and gas produced be payable into the account and before production commences an amount equivalent to 10% of the OPEX and CAPEX be also paid into the account.
 
This is the Position of HostCom and also supported by the Governors of the Producing Oil and Gas States. 
Section 242, deals with the Board of trustees, composition, management shall be by the Communities.

They also want Section 257 which deals with penalty against the HostCom for anact of vandalism, sabotage etc to be expunged as HostCom is neither the Chief executive Officer of their locality or the State nor Government security agency.

“We would also like to know about the position of Petroleum Technology Development Fund (PTDF) and Petroleum EqualizationFund since they were very conspicuous on the previous bills.

“All the amended interpretations should also be so stated in the bill.”They demanded that the Headquarters of NNPC Limited, the Commission and Authority be located in the major Producing Oil and Gas States to demonstrate Government’s transparency and evidence to sustainable development.

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Tunga community worries over influx of kidnappers/bandits

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Tunga community worries over influx of kidnappers/bandits

Umar Egbunu Muhammed, Lafia

Tunga community in the Awe local government area of Nasarawa state is worried over influx of suspected kidnappers and bandits recently dislodged from Rutu in the Toto Local government area.

They were said to have been dislodged by command 4 Special Force Doma and are currently occupying Dangote farm land illegally

It would be recalled that recent reports indicated that bulldozer belonging to Dangote Sugar Refinery Company destroyed over 300 houses in Ugber village thereby rendering the Tivs settlement in Awe LGA homeless.

The Auditor of Tunga Development Association, Mr. Nasiru Muhammed-Tunga, who made the disclosure on Thursday in Awe local government area, described them as illegal occupants of Dangote sugar plots of land.

Muhammed-Tunga, said that majority of the occupants of the vast land are strange faces who have dettled in the company after compensations have been paid to the affected persons whose graves, economic trees and structures were confiscated.

He, however, debunked the claims made by some Tiv residents in Awe LGA, lamenting that they were inaccessible as at the time the
company paid compensation.

According to the Auditor of TDA, Tiv and Fulani’s were the first to be considered during the compensation process, noting that every person in Tunga community has been compensated.

He denied claims made by Tivs that over three hundred houses were destroyed by the company without any compensation.

His words: “We just woke up and see clusters of farmstead with unknown faces, this called for alarm with the rising spate of insecurity in the land, again they occupied our land without coming through the
traditional ruler, this is a threat to our existence”.

Speaking on the matter, Gayam Tunga, Mr. Ibrahim Adamu, said the crisis begun during the killing of late Sarkin Azara by Tivs who took refuge in unknown destination and returned to the land when there was compensation to every able settlers.

He, however, said none of those people that were returning were familiar faces, adding that even the graves, economic trees and structures were actually considered.

He added that petitions were written against Hakimi, MeGayam and one other explaining that other part of the reserved land was for the community.

Amos Kyaava in an interview claimed he was not present during the assessment by tge compensation committee as a result of crisis when they
sought refuge outside the state.

He explained that he left in 2017, when the former governor of Nasarawa State Governor, Umaru Tanko Al-Makura, leased the land to Dangote Sugar Company

Francis Yors from Kukunbi cluster in previous interview said the compensation was just for economic trees and structures excluding plot of land.

Julius Tasha from Orobo cluster confirmed that they were given compensation by Dangote Sugar Company.

Some inhabitants of Tunga who spoke applauded Dangote for the choice of Tunga, noting that the company has brought a lot of prospects to their community.

Investigation by our correspondent, however, indicated that barely six thousand Tunga youth secured employment in Dangote with scores from Awe, the administrative head of Awe local government benefitting  from the benevolence.

Over N200 billion was earmarked for the development of the sugar company.

Narrating the ordeal of the Ugber villagers in the hands of the Dangote Sugar Refinery to NationalUpdate the village head, Mr. Timothy Ti’igh, he claimed that the Dangote firm did not contact them about buying the land, talk less of compensating the inhabitants to demolish their locality.

He said: “We only woke up on Thursday to see Dangote firm with bulldozer in our village pulling down our houses.
We lost a total of 80 bags of rice, 43 bags of surgum, 27 bags of soyabeans, 3,000 tubers of yam and 17 bags of beneseeds in the demolition exercise.”

“The Dangote team also set several basins of our smoked fish, beds and beddings, and other valuables ablaze as you can see. They snatched a bag containing some money and a handset from my son and took it away,” he added.

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