Jigawa Government to distribute 300 mini-harvesters to farmers, youths

The Jigawa Government has concluded plans to distribute 300 mini-harvesters to farmers and youths under its Cluster Farming Scheme.

The Special Adviser to Gov. Muhammad Badaru, on Rice Production Alhaji Jamilu Usaman-Danmalam, disclosed this in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Dutse on Wednesday.

Jamilu-Danmalam said that the gesture was to encourage dry season wheat and rice production under the state’s government cluster farming initiative.

He explained that the other 150 harvesters would be distributed to youths as part of the plans to empower and encourage them to go into farming.

The special adviser pointed out that the youth would use the harvesters to harvest rice or wheat in the farming cluster in the state on commercial basis.

According to him, the gesture is to enable the youth become self reliant.

“It is also to make agriculture attractive and acceptable to youths in the state”.

NAN recalls that the Jigawa Government had on Jan. 24, taken delivery of four containers with several agriculture implements from China.

NAN also recalls that Gov. Muhammad Badaru of Jigawa had on Feb. 3, pledged to link wheat farmers in the state with buyers in order to boost their production.

Badaru gave the pledge while assessing a 50 hectares wheat farm in Warwade village of Dutse Local Government Area of the state.

The tour was part of an assessment tour embarked on by the governor to some farms under the Cluster Farming Scheme, introduced by his administration.

The governor visited farms in Gidan Ari, Yan-Dutse, Gabarin Sintilmawa and Tsidir villages in Ringim and Auyo Local Government Areas.

Badaru said that threshers and harvesters would be provided to the farmers at affordable prices.

According to him, the farmers are expected to produce 125,000 metric tonnes of wheat in 2017 dry season farming period.

Floods Wash Away 29 Cows, Bridges, Farms In Plateau

The impending flooding warning by the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) has began to take its toll on residents of Plateau as Tuesday night down pour wreck havoc on residents of a Jos East local government of Plateau.

A Fulani settlement in the local government was washes away by the flood caused by the torrential rain including 29 cows.

The Fulanis had to climb trees to escape been washed away by the flood, but they could not do anything to help their cows do unto the force with which the flood was moving.

Several bridges along Fobor-Angware road and that of Maza road were also washed off by the flood.

The affected bridges has made it impossible for vehicular movement in and out of the local government.

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Civil Servants Are Not Farmers – Onwubiko Emmanuel

It is strange to observe that some state governments are currently using their civil servants as guinea pigs for farming duties. Benue State governor, Mr. Samuel Ortom, called this unknown practice a ‘novelty’, which he said could combat the downturn of the nation’s economy.

 

He was reported to have told civil servants in the state to embrace farming to augment their meager salaries, which may not come at the end of each month. The governor declared every Friday of the week, a public holiday to enable state workers till the land for agricultural produce. The Governor thereafter proceeded on two-week annual vacation, as he said, to enable him tend crops in his farm.

 

The State Commissioner for Information and Orientation, Odeh Ageh, who made the announcement, said the work- free day was approved by the the state executive council meeting chaired by Governor Ortom. Ageh explained that the idea would help workers to produce enough food to feed their families in the face of the current economic reality which has made the regular payment of salaries a major challenge.

 

According to him, the work-free day would commence from Friday, June 10 and would last till the end of July, 2016.

 

The Commissioner also announced that the governor would proceed on a two-week vacation as part of his annual leave to work on his farm while the Deputy Governor, Benson Abounu, would act in his absence.

 

It is safe to argue that in Benue State, the government opted for persuasion and has set out a timeline when this practice of conversion of civil servants to farmers would end. But Imo State governor took his version of the modern day slavery practice to a ridiculous heights.

 

Governor Okorocha, who is also of the All Progressives Congress, with the Benue State Governor decided to declare two days work-free days to enable Imo State workers go to farms, to use his words, “to produce food to assist the State’s economy.” The governor said the practice will be for one year in the first instance.

 

The Imo State governor also looked at the rule book adopted by the then old Rivers State’s governor, Chief Clifford Okilo, to term his new agricultural rule “Back to land for Agriculture” even as he stated through his Chief Press Secretary, Mr. Sam Onwuemeodo, that the policy of not working Thursdays and Fridays is meant to enable the state civil servants invest inagriculturalactivities.Butunlike his colleague, Mr. Okorocha did not lead by example by showing journalists his farm. But, he cancelled all annual leaves which are statutory entitlements of the state workers.

One is of the conviction that it is wrong for any state governor to use the parlous state of the economy as a reason to compel civil servants to start farming as part of their job specification. This pol- icy should be abrogated without further wasteoftime. Thepolicyisalsoabreach of the labour law since workers working for their states have valid employment letters specifying the duties expected of them. I am afraid that the conversion of workers to farmers is not part of these terms of contracts signed by them. Government cannot abridge, amend or alter the original terms of employment without proper, adequate and transparent agreement of all the parties to the employment contract. Let us consult the eighth edition of “Black’s Law Dictionary” edited by Bryan A. Garner to get some insights on the meaning of contract so as to situate it within the context of the illegality by the Imo and Benue state governors to convert their State Civil Servants to farm slaves.

 

“The term, contract, has been used to refer to three different things: (1) the series of operative acts by the par- ties resulting in new legal relations; (2) the physical document executed by the parties as the lasting evidence of their having performed the necessary opera- tive acts and also as an operative fact in itself; (3) the legal relations resulting from the operative acts, consisting of a right or rights in personam and their corresponding duties, accompanied by certain powers, privileges, and immunities. The sum of these legal relations is called ‘obligation.’

 

Apart from the fact that state governments are obliged to respect the employment contract it entered into with her workforce without unduly introducing some strange conditionality, the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria of 1999 (as amended) has also made copious provisions making it a legally binding obligation that government is not allowed to turn its workers into agricultural “guinea pigs”.

 

Section 17(3)(a)(b) and (c) provide as follows: “ all citizens without discrimination on any group whatsoever, have the opportunity for securing ade- quate means of livelihood as well as ad- equate opportunity to secure suitable employment.” “The State shall ensure that conditions of work are just, and humane, and that there are adequate facilities for leisure and for social, reli- gious and cultural life” and “the health, safety and welfare of all person in em- ployment are safeguarded and not en- dangered or abused”.

 

Globally, the most salient aspects of employment laws state that workers must enjoy basic rights at work which must necessarily include getting a writ- ten statement of the main terms and conditions of employment within two months of starting work. Other basic rights of a worker are: The right to an itemized pay slip. This applies from the day the employee starts work; The right to be paid at least the national minimum wage. How did Governors Okorocha and Orthom arrive at the illegality of converting their workforce to farmers? If I may ask, particularly the Imo State governor, have you set up farm settlement centres and obtained good yielding lands for such an initiative?

 

Also, Benue state governor should tell Nigerians if his administration has succeeded in getting President Buhari to stop the rampaging armed Fulani herdsmen from destroying farmlands?

 

Currently, Benue, like most other farming communities across Nigeria is battling Fulani herdsmen.

Suspected Herdsmen Invade Oyo Farms, Shoot Guard

About 18 persons suspected to be Fulani herdsmen have invaded farms in Lagun Village, Lagelu Local Council of Oyo State and shot a chief security guard, Jimmy Aido. They also robbed the residents of the farms, carting away an undisclosed amount of money in the process.

While Aido is currently recuperating at the Iwo Medical Centre in Iwo, Osun State where he was hospitalised, the workers have all deserted the farms for fears of a repeat visit by the attackers.

The gunmen were said to have first invaded ARDIS Farms, a large section of the area that belongs to the former Secretary to the Oyo State Government, Ayodel Adigun, ransacked it before moving to other settlements in the neighbouring villages of Adedokun and Alapata, both in the Lagelu local government area.

An eyewitness account had it that the invaders, armed with sophisticated weapons had earlier robbed unsuspecting motorists along the Iwo-Ibadan Road for some hours, before attacking the farms along the axis. They raided each farm and carted away heavy sums of money and food stuffs.

ARDIS Farms, which is situated on about 500 acres of land, began the production of palm kernel and livestock production in 1995. The large expanse has about 35 workers, both residents and non-residents.

The robbery operation was said to have lasted for about seven hours, as the marauders held the terrified farms workers to ransom between 8:00 p.m., Tuesday till the wee hours of 3:00 a.m. of Wednesday.

Narrating his ordeal to reporters at the farm yesterday, one of the workers on duty, Mr. Olanipekun Ogunkolade said the invaders ransacked all the rooms on the farm and carted away an undisclosed sum of money.

He said: “They said where is the money? Where is the money? I brought what I had on me, but they shouted, where is the remaining money? I told them that that was what I had. They now called another worker, whom we all call Baba Ondo. They forced him to take them to his room. They said ‘Oya, let us go to your room.’ They ransacked the place and moved to our rooms and they ransacked the whole place.

“They also went into the manager’s room and asked us about who held the key to the place and we told them he had left for Lagun village. They asked us all sorts of things like cigarettes, Indian hemp, but we told them repeatedly that we didn’t have all those things.

“When we told them we didn’t have the key, they became very angry and took their machetes and cut the mosquito net. They entered the room and they warned us not to come out and threatened that they would gun us down.

“One of the security men went to call the chief security officer, who unknowingly walked into an ambush laid for him. They shot him and left him there for dead and those of us on the farm did not know that they had shot him.

“We later organised a search party for him, with all of us shouting Jimmy! Jimmy!, until we heard him shouting in a certain part of the farm and we met him writhing in pain.

“He was shouting, ‘please help me o, help me.’ We now went to the area and found him lying down and was in great pain. However, the robbers fired some shots in our direction and everybody ran.

“It was around 3:00 a.m., after the invaders had gone that we came back and took Jimmy to the hospital. We first took him to Iyana Offa, but he was rejected, because of the bullet wounds. As we were going the Fulanis had already mounted a road block at Lagun. They intercepted us and they even took away my clothes.’’

On the invaders’ identity, Ogunkolade said, “Yes, I think they are Fulanis, they first put on masks, but later they removed the masks, they even asked me whether I knew them and I said I didn’t know them.

I know that they came in a large number. They were about 18, five entered the rooms with us. Eventually when they left us, they just went to the rooms and ransacked everywhere. They finished our eba, they were even asking for more fish and I said we didn’t have fish anymore.”

The Farm Manager, Mr. Emmanuel Ashava described the incident as one that took them by surprise, explaining that no such case had ever occurred, since the farm started operation in 1995.

He said the invaders must have known that the farm is the biggest and the most prosperous in the area and that this made them concentrate on it.

The owner of the farm, Mr. Ayodele Adigun told journalists that though he could not immediately ascertain the worth of the losses, they would be in the region of millions of naira.

Credit: Guardian

Fulani Herdsmen Invade Falae’s Farm Again

Barely two weeks after some fulani herdsmen attacked and kidnapped the former Secretary to the Government of the Federation SGF, Chief Olu Falae, some herdsmen have again destroyed the same  farmland.

Fulani-herdsman

The farm Manager Bruno ?Akhigbodemen conducted newsmen round the farm located at Ilado in Akure North Council area of Ondo State

Over one kilometer plantation of maize was destroyed during the invasion at about 2am on Monday.

?Akhigbodemen said that the herdsmen arrived the farm with their cows and wrecked the havoc despite the horrible experience the workers and their boss had in the last two week sequel to their menace?.

He pointed out that ?effort by the guards to prevent the destruction of the farmland were rebuffed as they were threatened by the herdsmen until their cows grazed to their satisfaction.

The farm Manager said that the former Finance minister has reported the latest destruction to the state Police Command for necessary action.

Vanguard learnt that following the complaint by Chief Falae, some detectives from the Special Anti Robbery Squad (SARS) ?were immediately deployed to the farm on Monday.

They reportedly combed the neighboring villages for the suspects but they were unable to make any arrest.

Report had it that the search still continues as some detectives still keep vigil in the village.

It was gathered that the police authority has invited leaders of the herdsmen in the state who stood surety for those that were arrested and released during the last invasion when over N500, 000 worth of farm products were destroyed.

?Akhigbodemen described the destruction of the farm last week sunday as devastating.

He appealed to the government and the security operatives to act decisively on the menace of the herdsmen.

Chief Falae could not be reached for comment on the destruction of his farmland which is coming after his kidnapped and payment of N5m ransom to free him from his abductors.

It would be recalled that the former Minister for Finance has been having issues with the  fulani herdsmen ?whose cows have on several occasions destroyed his farmland.

He is billed to travel abroad this weekend for medical treatment after his horrifying experience which he described as ” hell”.

The latest destruction according to findings is the fifth within two months.

Before his kidnap barely two weeks ago, two fulani herdsmen were arrested and detained for destroying over N500,000 worth of farm products on the farm.

They were released after some of their leaders wrote an undertaker that they would pay compensation and would not encroach on the farm again.

Barely three weeks after the episode, Chief Falae was abducted by some gun wielding Fulani herdsmen on the same farmland and was released after 72 hours.

No fewer than three policemen have been deployed to his Oba Ile residence since his kidnap last month.

Contacted on the Sunday invasion and destruction of the farm by the Fulani herdsmen, the Police Image Maker Femi Joseph said that he is not aware of the incident.

Joseph was recently posted to the state and made the Command spokesman  last week.