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Scale up investment in Agriculture to reduce insecurity, Group urges Kogi

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By Friday Idachaba

Kogi Budget Committee Group (BCG) has called on the state government to scale up its public investments in Agriculture as a strategic approach to increase food production, reduce hunger, poverty and insecurity.

The Committee which made the call in a communique issued at the end of Kogi State Budget Committee Advocacy Summit held on Wednesday in Lokoja said Agriculture has direct impact on every facet of the national economy.

The News Agency of Nigeria NAN reports that the summit was organised by ActionAid Nigeria in collaboration with its local rights partner, Participation Initiative for Behavioural Change in Development (PIBCID).

The group noted this would also help achieve the Maputo/Malabo commitment of 10 per cent budgetary allocation to the Agriculture sector as approved by the 44th National Council on Agriculture and Rural Development (NCARD).

The communique urged the government to consider scaling up investments in the specific areas of Agric extension services, access to credit facilities, women and youths in agriculture and appropriate labour-saving technologies.

It also suggested other areas as inputs, post-harvest loss reduction support, training, climate resilient sustainable agriculture, agroecology research and development, monitoring and evaluation as well as coordination.

The Group also urged the state government to put in place an Agricultural Policy, create awareness and sensitisation on the policy as part of efforts to promote improved citizens’ participation in budgeting processes.

The communique said that the existing relationship between the state government and non-state actors should be strengthened in the bid to promote accountability and transparency in public resource management.

The Group advocated more gender-responsive agricultural budgeting through provision of items for the implementation of the National Gender Policy in Agriculture and reiterated the need to involve more smallholder women farmers in budget planning discussions.

The communique underscored the need for a State Investment Plan for the Agriculture sector utilising Public Private Partnership (PPP) windows in alignment with the National Economic Policy and development plans.

It further urged that against non timely releases of budgetary allocations to the Agriculture sector, MDA’s needed to itemise their priorities and give a proper timeline that synchronise with the farming seasons.

The committee had earlier observed that non releases of allocated funds to the Agriculture sector had continued to impede the capacity of the state government to drive socio-economic development including food security within the policy thrust of the diversification of the economy towards agriculture.

NAN reports that the Budget Committee Group, an offshot of the Public Financing for Agriculture (PFA) draws its membership from Civil Society Organisations (CSOs), the Media as well as Small Scale Women Farmers Organisation in Nigeria .

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Metro

Jigawa State capital, Dutse hit with acute water scarcity

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By Dahiru Suleiman, Dutse.

The metropolitan Dutse, which is the Jigawa state capital has been hit by acute scarcity of water supply.
This was happening despite it’s status of being second position in the country in terms of access to the provision of water supply with 92%,(after Lagos State)
The rating was according to the latest Water, Sanitation and Hygiene National Outcome, Routine Mapping Exercise published by the National Bureau of Statistics with the support of UNICEF and other Development Partners.

Investigations by our correspondent has revealed that most taps in the city were without any drop of water for a couple of years despite huge investment injected by government through the Jigawa state Ministry of Water Resources in the provision of water supply.

Least amongst the worst hit areas are metropolitan Dutse, Zai quarters, Katangare, Murahusawa, Sabuwar Maranjuwa, Old Maranjuwa settlement, Gida Dubu Housing Estate, all in metropolitan Dutse and beyond where most resident’s relied on commercial water vendor’s who sell 20litre Jerry can between N30 and N50
The lapses might not be unconnected with the brake down of 13 major Somer’s  of water supply pipes distributing water to all the nooks and crannies of the state capital in the last one year Yet to be fixed.
The State water board officials spoke on condition of anonimity, saying that they have written saverally to their superiors but there was no response.
“The repairs of these water facilities require a lot of money, it is

This does not tally with the earlier survey reports that in Jigawa State, 49% of its households have access to basic hygiene services, which is the highest among the states in the country despite being adorned with highest concentration of filth all over the ancient city.

Investigations revealed that the proclaimed 18 local governments certified Open Defecation indices by the state government was noting short a mirage going by heaps of filth’s littering all over the places, situation if allow to persist unabated and un-checked may derailed it’s earlier status being Free (ODF)with the second highest in the country.

This has sparked the thinking of the larger public to wonder upon government’s continued investments in the Water and Sanitation Sector over the years, and the state’s investment of about N4.1 billion, with appreciable progress towards achieving universal access to safe drinking water and about 75% access to sanitation services by the end of year 2022, will be exercise in futility.

For example Comrade Shehu Garki of Gida Dubu quarter’s it was most unfortunate for government to be  playing with our intelligence about it’s commitments in water sector but dennying it’s community with such a basic amenities of life as water sustain life.

“We have been staying in this housing estate without water as most of our taps are without water for long period of times. Even our motorized boreholes are without water, adding we constantly relied on commercial water vendor’s always for our domestic use of water”

Also speaking, Bello Gadadin quarters we were told by the Water Resources Commissioner that at- least N75m was expended on repairs and replacement of broken down pipes for effective water distribution in metropolitan Dutse environs but to no avail as we are yet to enjoy steady supply of pipe borne water supply for up to this moment.

But the Commissioner of Water Resources, Alh Mohammed Garba Hannun Giwa stated that Government has invested so much in carrying out major water treatment works with the aim to ensure steady water supply to its populace.

According to him the ultimate goal of the water sector was  to achieve universal access to safe drinking water and sanitation services in the state.

This, in turn, will safeguard public health and ensure that the citizens of the state live a more qualitative and productive life.

“Our governor, Governor Badaru Abubakar is committed to aligning with the belief that water is life.

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ICAN moves to tackle quackery in profession, builds practitioners’ capacity

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By Stephen Adeleye

The Institute of Chartered Accountants of Nigeria (ICAN) Abuja & District Society, has expressed her readiness to tackle quackery in the profession through monitoring and addressing issues peculiar to members in practice.

The District’s Chairman, Alhaji Balogun Abdulrasheed, PhD, FCA, gave the assurance at the inaugural ”Partners’ Breakfast Roundtable”, organised by the Professional Practice Forum (PPF) of ICAN Abuja & District Society on Saturday.

Abdulrasheed said that the district was fully ready and committed to tackling quackery in the profession and other issues that are peculiar to practitioners, saying the forum was the first of its kind in the history of ICAN.

He noted that PPF was set up by the Executive Committee of ICAN Abuja & District Society in March 2021, and its executive committee inaugurated on April 29, 2021, to pilot the forum’s affairs.

He, therefore solicited for the support of members in practice to ensure that the forum achieved its desired goals and be sustained.

”Today, we are working assiduously to ensure that the forum achieved the desired results and urge other districts to join us” he said.

Speaking on the journey so far, the Forum’s Chairman, Mr Abel Agbo Onyeke, FCA, said the PPF was formed to complement the activities of the Institute’s Professional Practice Committee and Department in monitoring members in practice in Abuja, and to provide a platform for practitioners in the district to tackle challenges such as a rapidly changing business and regulatory environment, technological disruptions, competition, and other issues threatening their businesses.

He noted that the partners’ breakfast roundtable, which would be held quarterly, would provide an opportunity for members to meet, interact and deal with these issues.

He stressed that the forum remained committed to five key areas: sensitization and mobilization, organization development, capacity building, partnership & networking, and regulatory compliance.

”The forum today has over 100 firms that employ over 2000 personnel and we believe that more than a quarter of these numbers are still outside, and we shall spare no efforts until everyone is in the fold” He disclosed that the forum has visited over 50 firms this year alone and assured that the Executive Committee under his leadership was determined to visit all the firms in the district.

He further held that the forum ”will work with the district to liaise and engage with Departments and Agencies of Government such as FIRS, CAC and other regulators in charge of professional practices” Other activities lined up include ”supporting firms to structure, adapt, and respond effectively to industry and technological changes” and helping practitioners to develop and strengthen their skills, abilities, processes, and resources needed to succeed and thrive. Mr Onyeke concluded by appealing to all members to be actively engaged in the activities of the forum, saying that no firm should think that it is “too small to matter or too big to be bothered”

The Guest Speaker at the event, Mr Adetoyese Fadele, Head, Professional Practice Department (PPD) of ICAN, commended the forum for the partners’ breakfast roundtable initiative.

Fadele, who spoke on the topic: ”ICAN & Professional Practice Management”, said the initiative would enable ICAN to have what was obtainable globally in their local environment.

He emphasised the need to do everything possible to ensure that quackery was eliminated in the profession, saying the institute had identified that most of the challenges were from the Small and Medium Practice (SMP).

Fadele explained that the idea of monitoring was to encourage the SMP to improve and adopt the best practice while empowering members technically.

He, therefore called for vigorous pursuit of the goals set forth in the forum’s blueprint through members’ active participation and support.

He further advised members to be knowledge driven, embrace change, invest in technology, and provide solutions that add values.

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Metro

Natasha Akpoti in another philanthropic gesture, uplifts amputee Vulcanizer

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****Purchases Tyre Changer, Wheel Balancing auto machine

The Social Democratic Party (SDP) candidate in the Kogi State 2019 Governorship election Barrister Natasha Akpoti has brought succor to
Dauda Sheidu, a 40-year-old amputee vulcanizer in Agassa in Okene Local Government Area of Kogi State
This was happening just some weeks after the Barrister decided to embark on a project to rehabilitate the Okene-Ibillo-Lampese road, that had since become impassable.
That gesture had since drawn encomiums for the beautiful politician for daring to do what some State Governments failed to achieve.

Barrister Akpoti acquired a multimillion naira state-of-the art equipment to make the operations easier and seamless for the amputee Vulcanizer.

The two-in-one equipment, a Tyre Changer and Wheel Balancing is one of it’s kind among roadside vulcanizers in Nigeria due to the high cost of purchasing them.

Hence, only well-heeled auto-service and tyre centres in the cities deploy them for use.

Sheidu who is based in Agassa, Okene local government area, had lost his right arm in an accident in 2002.
In his resilient spirit he sought to be relevant to himself and his society, by acquiring some skills which has made it possible continued to carry on as a roadside vulcanizer, he is also a husband and a father.

Akpoti in a Facebook Live video spoke shortly after the German-made European Twin Busch machine was delivered to her house in Abuja, Akpoti who was full of excitment expressed optimism that the gesture would help to strengthen the faith of other persons living with disabilities in the truism that there is indeed ability in disability.

She expressed delight over the timely delivery of the multi-million naira equipment which was shipped into Nigeria from Amsterdam, Netherlands, with a shipping cost of over a million naira.

Narrating her connection to Sheidu’s story and what inspired her choice of gift, Akpoti said; “some months ago, the story of a particular artisan (vulcanizer) from Okene in Kogi State went viral on BBC that he needed a particular tool to ease his trade, and then I made a request asking him what he wanted. I think he responded last month.

The gentle man requested some tools. I happened to be in London. So, I went online to search for the very best that I could afford. I placed the order while I was in London. I did not want to go for the Chinese version. So I went for that which was made in Germany. So this is one of the best tools, all pure steel.”

While acknowledging the efforts of Dr. Okeme Arome for bringing Dauda’s story to light, Akpoti noted the negligence of the gentleman’s requests despite the viral video of him done by the BBC.

“I would like to also give credit to Dr. Arome Okeme for first making a video of the gentleman during our Senatorial Campaigns and bringing him to light upon which the BBC News Pidgin took over and made a broadcast of him. I think that was actually one of the most watched BBC clips.
“It gained about 7million views and it was shared over 55,000 times. But I was surprised that even at that, no one was able to buy the gentleman his tools.

“I mean prayers are important but sometimes we should actually try to go beyond prayers. When I asked him if he had gotten any tool he said no. I said okay. Being from the same State, the same Senatorial District as the gentleman, it was only humane and responsible of me to have done that. Like I said, what is more important to me and the joy is that I was able to afford an European all-steel, solid equipment for the gentleman”, she added.

Akpoti further unveiled her plans of meeting with and personally handing over the machine to the industrious vulcanizer as part of the events to mark her 42nd birthday.

“I can’t wait to hand it over to him in December either on my birthday which is 9th of December or a few days before when I visit to commission the Okene-Ibillo-Lampese road, the Ihima-Ege road which we are constructing. I can’t wait to be home! Have a blessed weekend.”

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