FCTA trains agric. field officers, targets bumper harvest

The Agriculture and Rural Development Secretariat, FCT Administration has trained agricultural field officers to provide efficient services to farmers, towards achieving bumper harvest in the territory. The Mandate Secretary of the secretariat, Mr Lawan Geidam, said at the training in Abuja on Friday, that the training was designed to improve the capacity of the officers to provide technical support to farmers. Geidam, who was represented by the Permanent Secretary, Mrs Grace Adayilo, said that the training tagged, 'Prevention, Identification, Diagnosis, and Management of Common Crop Diseases,' would equally cut post-harvest losses. He explained that a significant number of famers recorded huge losses due to ignorance of good agricultural practices in mitigating crop diseases, pest infestation and poor storage management techniques. He urged the field officer to build the needed knowledge and capacity to be able to teach farmers how to combat crop diseases that impede productivity. The mandate secretary reassured farmers of FCT Administration's commitment to support farmers with a view to boost agricultural production. 'The Minister of FCT, Mr Nyesom Wike, and the Minister of State, FCT, Dr Mariya Mahmoud are taking proactive steps towards achieving the collective aspiration for food and nutrition security for all residents of FCT,' he said. The Permanent Secretary also highlighted the importance of integrating traditional methods with modern agricultural practices to get the best of the planting season. Adayilo said that the integration was necessary considering the difficulties small-scale farmers face in accessing advanced agricultural technologies. She assured the farmers of the full support of the Agriculture Development Project, adding that the project was a grassroots initiative to ensure that government programmes achieved the desired impact. Mr Ofili Beneath, acting Director, Department of Agricultural Services, said that the department would continue to engage farmers across the 62 wards of th e FCT and provide them with critical information. Ofili expressed confidence that the training would strengthen knowledge-based agricultural practices and bring prosperity to the FCT farmers. (NAN) Source: News Agency of Nigeria

FPDA advocates improved attention to gain from $165bn hygiene industry

The Fabric Professionals a Association of Nigeria (FPDA) says Nigeria should give more attention to the cleaning and hygiene industry to benefit from its over $165 billion global industry value. Mr Enibikun Adebayo, FPDA Chairman, said this during a news conference ahead of the association's Clean Show Africa Conference on Thursday in Lagos. Adebayo said that Nigeria's dry cleaning industry was valued at $8.4 million in 2019 and was projected to grow at 6.4 per cent year on year for the next ten years. 'Even the statistics are now looking better than what they were before. 'It is now left for us to reposition the industry to the world because nobody is paying attention to this lucrative industry and this is what we want to address with the conference,' he said. According to him, the association was launched in 2023 as a platform that educates its members to be better professionals, while stressing the need for collaboration in the cleaning and hygiene industry. Adebayo said that the conference, which w ould hold on May 28 to May 29 in Lagos, would expose no fewer than 25,000 dry cleaners to the opportunities in the cleaning and hygiene industry. He said that the conference would also focus on women in the drycleaning business, maintaining that reports revealed that women are better managers of drycleaning businesses. Also, Mrs Ruth Okunnuga, Managing Director, Wasche Paint Nigeria, said Nigeria's drycleaning and laundry industry has not been given the necessary support and publicity it deserves. Okunnuga said, 'The industry has gone for so long without proper structure and it is not attracting investment as it should. 'This is why we have put together this event to feature all industry experts and have pertinent discussions on how to create value that is needed to grow the industry. 'We want to revolutionise the sector to make it attractive for investors and potential professional dry cleaners and stakeholders,' she said. She further said that the event provides a platform for better data collection c ritical for proper planning to galvanise growth of the industry. Similarly, Mr Joseph Oru, Managing Director, Zenith Exhibition, said FPDA would leverage on the conference to engage the federal government on establishing institutions that would train dry cleaners to become professionals in the industry. Source: News Agency of Nigeria

ECOWAS, private sector unveil strategies to boost tourism

The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), the private tourism sector and other stakeholders have unveiled strategic initiatives aimed at creating a robust regional tourism confederation across the bloc. The decision is contained in a communique issued following a 3-day high level strategic dialogue between ECOWAS, West African private sector tourism stakeholders and experts in Abuja on Thursday. According to the communique, the meeting recommended that the private tourism sector should formulate a request for funding for the activities of ECOTOUR 19-29 Country Operational Units to the ECOWAS Commission. It also recommended that the private tourism sector should generate funds from Technical and Financial Partners (TFPs) with a view to implementing a robust and sustainable regional tourism for economic growth. The communique also urged the private tourism sector to identify and seek the support of technical and financial partners (TFPs) to support the private tourism sector. It further reco mmended that the private tourism sector should initiate and sign a partnership agreement between it and the ECOWAS Commission. The communique also recommended that ECOWAS Member States should provide national classification commissions and structures in charge of resource regulation. It also urged them to organise awareness-raising sessions for industry stakeholders on the new regulations. The communique also recommended that the ECOWAS Commission should organise capacity building sessions for national classification commissions and regulatory structures. It also recommended that Member States should establish harmonised tourism satellite accounts, as well as transmit and make available the new regulations for their individual countries. The communique also recommended that the ECOWAS Commission should conduct a mid-term evaluation of ECOTOUR 19-29. The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the communique was signed by Mrs Ruth Ndam, Director, Hospitality and Travel Trade, Nigerian Tourism Developme nt Authority. Others are Mr Boka Georges, President, Hotel Ranking Commission of Côte d'Ivoire, and Mr Massa Cande, Director General of Tourism of Guinea Bissau. Source: News Agency of Nigeria

Envoy reaffirms China’s commitment to supporting Nigeria

Mr Zhang Yi, the Chargé d'affaires of the Chinese Embassy in Nigeria, has reaffirmed China's commitment to support Nigeria's development through strategic partnerships, technology transfer, and infrastructure investments. Zhang stated this on Thursday in Abuja at a Seminar on Promoting Harmony Through Mutual Learning organised by the Chinese Embassy in collaboration with China Alumni Association and the University of Abuja. He highlighted the importance of collaboration between the two countries in key sectors such as energy, transportation, and telecommunications to drive economic growth and mutual opportunities. He underlined the significance of embracing harmony as a fundamental driving force for national advancement and drew parallels between China's path to economic success and the role of embracing diversity while emphasising harmony in China's developmental journey. Zhang said that harmony, as defined by the Longman Dictionary, referred to people living or working together without conflict or disc ord. He emphasised the significance of fostering harmony in various aspects of the society, ranging from individuals and nature, families, and society, to nations and civilizations, and in governance and development. 'We believe that promoting harmony among different ethnic groups, ensuring political stability, and investing in infrastructure were vital steps required to unlock Nigeria's full potential and foster sustainable development. 'It is crucial to create a world characterised by peaceful human development through fostering friendships and cultural exchanges as bridges between China and Nigeria,' Zhang said. Professor Sheriff Ibrahim, the Head of the Political Science and International Relations of the University of Abuja, said that the seminar was held at a critical juncture for Nigeria, facing challenges like insecurity, economic difficulties, and social unrest. Ibrahim, also the Director of Contemporary Africa-China Research in Nigeria, highlighted the significance of championing harmony as a b eacon of hope and advancement for Nigeria. 'For harmonious coexistence to thrive, it requires genuine political will and collaboration,' Ibrahim said. He also expressed optimism regarding the integration of harmony into Nigeria's development agenda, foreseeing its potential to bridge divides, promote inclusivity, and pave the way for a brighter future. Ibrahim called upon all stakeholders to collaborate toward a shared vision of prosperity and stability for the nation. (NAN) Source: News Agency of Nigeria

Students loan application portal opens May 24 – NELFUND

The Nigerian Education Loan Fund (NELFUND), has announced May 24 as official date for the opening of portal for student loan applications. The Managing Director of NELFUND, Mr Akintunde Sawyerr, disclosed this on Thursday in a statement made available to newsmen in Abuja by the Fund's Media and Public Relations Lead, Nasir Ayitogo. Sawyerr said the opening of the portal marked a significant milestone in the commitment of President Bola Tinubu to foster accessible and inclusive education for all Nigerian students. According to him, through the portal, students could now access loans to pursue their academic aspirations without financial constraints. He added that the portal provides a user-friendly interface for students to submit their loan applications conveniently. 'We encourage all eligible students to take advantage of this opportunity to invest in their future and contribute to the growth and development of our nation,' he said. Sawyerr urged students to access the portal on www.nelf.gov.ng to beg in application. Source: News Agency of Nigeria

NAF@60: We will flush out all terrorists, bandits, criminals – CAS

The Chief of the Air Staff (CAS), Air Marshal Hasan Abubakar, says the Nigerian Air Force (NAF) is committed to flushing out terrorists, bandits and other criminals from all parts of Nigeria. Abubakar said this while addressing newsmen during the Juma'at Prayer in commemoration of the NAF 60th Anniversary Celebration, on Friday at the NAF Base Central Mosque Asokoro, Abuja. He said the air force would continue to work in collaboration with other sister services and other security agencies to ensure the return peace and prosperity to all parts of the country. According to him, the essence of the Juma'at prayer is, first, to thank the God Almighty for all the achievements of the NAF thus far and for the significant operational and other achievements in the recent past. 'Secondly, to pray for His guidance, blessings and mercies in our efforts to continue to transform the Nigerian Air Force into an agile and resilient force that effectively meets the airpower demands of national security in all operational e nvironments. 'This is in tandem with our command philosophy. 'The NAF has evolved over the years from a basic tactical air force in the 60s and 70s to an air force today that is capable of conducting strategic operations whenever required. 'So we have every reason to celebrate and be happy as a service,' he said. The CAS thanked all Nigerians also for the cooperation, support and encouragement to the air force personnel. He assured the airmen and air women that NAF had acquired a lot of platforms already with more coming into the system. He also assured them that a lot of welfare packages were being provided, urging them to look forward to better days. 'The Juma prayer we just witnessed is one of the activities designed to commemorate the very important milestone achievements. 'There are several other activities also designed to mark this very important occasion, including an interdenominational service that will be conducted on Sunday. 'We are also conducting medical outreaches and educational outre aches to all parts of the country. 'This will improve our civil military relations. We are also hosting the third African Air Forces Conference and exhibition and this is to also improve and enhance our international collaborations in the areas of defence and security. 'We are also having parades and aerial displays amongst many other activities designed to commemorate this very important occasion,' he said. Sen. Bala Na'alla, former Senators representing, Kebbi South in the 9th Senate, commended NAF for operation successes so far recorded. Na'alla urged them to sustain their loyalty to the country in spite of all the challenges and redirect their energy towards addressing all security challenges within the shortest possible time. 'So far, they have done well with the little resources that they have and with their various interventions that we can see. 'We are extremely happy and we remain grateful to all the airmen and women and the officers for their dedication in the discharge of their duties,' he sa id. In his sermon, Group -Capt. Haruna Idris, Chief Imam and Deputy Director, Islamic Affairs, NAF, called for dedication and obedience on the part of all service personnel to ensure operational successes. He said that the Almighty Allah had granted the NAF immensely with the human and material resources that must be harnessed effectively to achieve breakthroughs. According to him, that have got sufficient training and sufficient assets in recent years, and have all the capacities that that will be able to overcome the security challenges. 'So, we are reminding the entire citizens of this country, that we need to put ourselves in prayers so that God can give us the spirit to use available resources he has given us,' he said. Source: News Agency of Nigeria

NAN, critical partner in promoting truth, integrity – MD

Malam Ali Muhammed Ali, the Managing Director, News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) says the Agency will continue to lead as a critical partner in promoting truth and integrity. Ali said this on Thursday when he received members of the Lux Terra Leadership Foundation, a Non-Governmental Organisation, on a courtesy visit to his office in Abuja. NAN reports that Lux Terra Leadership Foundation has over the years, been championing advocacy in anti-corruption, integrity and value reorientation. He explained that the agency 'is very circumspect in the use of words, avoids controversial reports and promotes facts and accuracy in its contents'. 'NAN has been a long standing ally of the truth, national rebirth of which Lux terra is championing at various levels - the level of schools, leaders of thought and the media. 'Media is an important partner in any kind of national rebirth, whether in Africa or elsewhere; our agency here, like I said, is a natural ally and a perfect partner for your foundation. 'We share in the ideals of lux terra leadership foundation for a more integrated nation' he said. Ali said that, NAN, in line with its statutory mandate, has been projecting the Nigerian story positively, over the years. 'The agency share in some of these sentiments you expressed, including promoting integrity, moral probity, uprightness and the socialisation of the Nigerian Youth,' he said The NAN MD assured the agency's readiness to support the foundation in its determination to promote moral values in the society. Earlier, Mr Henry Ijomah, the leader of the delegation and Manager, Training of the foundation said, the NGO had been in the forefront of advocating value reorientation. Ijeomah said NAN would play vital role in the campaign to promote national values and addressing societal ills, which were among the core mandates of the foundation. He expressed optimism that partnering with NAN would help lux terra foundation towards achieving its mandate. 'Our visit is to congratulate you formally on your appointment as NAN MD. 'You were not chosen because you are a politician, but because people have distinguished you for what you have done in the media space. 'We also want NAN to help us project our stories. Nobody will know about Nigeria except you tell the Nigerian story. 'We have a number of projects that we are doing that help to promote what we consider to be real Nigerian values,' he said. Ijomah said, the organisation focused on promoting integrity and national values. He added that the organisation had succeeded in changing the perception of school children about examination malpractices. 'We are also working with religious leaders and institutions of learning to achieve our goals,' he said. The meeting was attended by NAN Editor-In-Chief, Mr Ephraim Sheyin, Director of Administration and Human Resources, Mr Abdul-Hadi Khalil and Director of Special Duties, Mr Muftau Ojo among others. Source: News Agency of Nigeria

AfDB to support Nigeria’s power sector with $1bn – Official

The African Development Bank (AfDB) says it plans to support Nigeria's power sector with one billion dollars to boost electricity. Dr Kevin Kariuki, Vice President, Power, Energy, Climate Change and Green Growth Complex, AfDB, said this on Thursday at the Eight Africa Energy MarketPlace (AEMP) Forum in Abuja. The forum was organised by AfDB, Ministry of Power and the United Kingdom Nigeria Infrastructure Advisory Facility (UKNIAF). The theme of the forum titled 'Towards Nigeria's Sustainable Energy Future: Policy, Regulation and Investment - A Policy Dialogue for the National Integrated Electricity Policy and Strategic Implementation Plan (NIEP-SIP)'. Kariuki said: 'We will be shortly seeking board approval for a one billion dollars policy-based operation (PBO) with a significant energy component. 'This is aimed at supporting the ongoing power sector reforms triggered by the new Electricity Act. 'The timing of the AEMP and the proposed policy-based lending focused on the energy sector is, therefore, no t coincidental. 'We will finance the policy recommendations to actualise the expected outcomes from the National Integrated Electricity Policy and Strategic Implementation Plan.' He said that good policies attracted sustainable investments, adding that enabling environment would maximise the value of ongoing investments, including the 256.2 million dollars Nigeria Transmission Expansion Project. According to him, the project entailed the construction of 500 Kilometres (KM) of transmission lines and four substations with a capacity of over 1000 Mega Volt Ampree (MVA). 'And the 200 million dollars Nigeria Electrification Project, which will build 150 mini-grids. 'Moreover, we are financing a study for the Transmission Company of Nigeria (TCN) to explore deployment of Battery Energy Storage Systems to enhance grid stability and facilitate greater uptake of renewable energy generation. 'Nigeria is part of our flagship 20 billion dollars Desert to Power Initiative, which aims to generate 10,000 Megawatts (MW ) of solar power across 11 countries in the Sahel region to provide power to 250 million Africans.' According to AfDB vice president, this portends great promise for increasing the proportion of renewable energy in Nigeria's energy mix. He said that through the multi-prong approach of supporting policy development, financing critical power sector infrastructure, and providing technical assistance and capacity building would be achieved. 'We strongly believe that our partnership with the Federal Government will ensure a viable and sustainable power sector that will yield the desired result,' he said. On his part, the Minister of Power, Mr Adebayo Adelabu, said the NIEP-SIP would serve as a guiding blueprint for Nigeria's energy development. He said that Section 3 (1) of the Electricity Act, 2023, mandated the Ministry of Power to draft and publish, in the Federal Government Gazette, the Nigerian Integrated Electricity Policy and Strategic Implementation Plan (NIEP-SIP). Adelabu said the Act directed the ministry to do this in consultation with relevant government authorities and other stakeholders within one year of the commencement. According to him, the NIEP-SIP will serve as a guiding blueprint for Nigeria's energy development, addressing areas such as rural electrification, public-private partnerships for universal electricity access. 'Power-source specific policies, bulk power purchase, and management of local distribution in rural areas, among other pertinent aspects as directed by the Federal Government. 'In alignment with this legal mandate, the ministry of power has initiated the development of the NIEP-SIP, as required by EA-2023, aiming to address industry challenges and capitalising on opportunities identified during a comprehensive two-day retreat in December. 'I strongly believe and hope that through this collaboration, the Federal Government will leverage the opportunity provided by this AEMP to engage with stakeholders in the sector.' The minister added that the collaboration would also facilitate the realisation of the goals of the mandate of section Three of the Electricity Act, 2023. Mr Lamin Barrow, Director-General, Nigeria Country Department, AfDB said that the event was timely, coming in the wake of the ongoing rollout of the 2023 Electricity Act. Barrow said the event also provided a unique opportunity to contribute to the preparation of the National Integrated Electricity Policy and Strategic Implementation Plan (NIEP-SIP), in line with the requirements of the new Electricity Act. 'As part of the AEMP, several technical sessions were held virtually that generated a raft of recommendations across key areas, including recapitalisation of the Nigerian Electricity Supply Industry (NESI). 'Reform of the National Wholesale Electricity Market, operationalisation of State-level electricity markets, accelerating Universal Access, promoting a Just Energy Transition, enhancing human capital and national content development. 'We wish to commend the experts for their contributions at these technical sessions and urge participants to share their insights and experience in the two-day sessions to inform the action place emanating from the Eight AEMP,' he said. Source: News Agency of Nigeria