Herdsmen, farmers clash averted by Police in Bayelsa State.

The Police Command in Bayelsa said it has foiled a clash between herdsmen and farmers in Agudama community in Yenagoa Local Government Area of the state.

The News Agency of Nigeria reports that the Bayelsa Government had donated a grazing land to herdsmen and subsequently banned indiscriminate and open grazing in the state.

The police spokesperson in the state, Asinim Butswat, said on Friday that the operation which averted the clash was led by an Assistant Commissioner of Police.

“On March 19, 2017, at about 10 a.m., His Royal Majesty, Obadiah John Osumu, King of Akenfa-Epie Community raised an alarm about herdsmen activities in Akenfa Community.

“Consequently, an Assistant Commissioner of Police led a team of policemen to the scene.

“The team noticed heavy movement of cattle in the area but diverted them to avoid destruction of farmlands,” Mr. Butswat said.

The spokesperson advised community leaders in the state to maintain peace and always partner with the police to prevent crime in their communities.


Source: NAN

Court remands 3 farmers in prison over death of Fulani herdsman in Benue

A Makurdi Magistrates’ Court on Wednesday remanded three farmers in prison custody over the alleged death of a Fulani herdsman.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the farmers were arraigned in court for criminal conspiracy and culpable homicide.

When the case came up for a mention, the pleas of the farmers were not taken. The accused persons are Eric Tsambe, Agover Ioreren and Adua Terhile, all from Mbahimin Gwer East Local Government Area of Benue.

The Police Prosecutor, Insp. Abraham Akule, told the court that the case was reported at the Aliade Divisional Police Headquarters by one Oralu Saawuan of LGEA Primary School Mbahimin on Feb. 28, 2017.The complainant stated that he came back from the Airport Market in Makurdi and saw some cattle wandering around the bush behind his compound.

He said that when he made inquiries, he was informed that some youths had a problem with herdsmen for allowing their cattle to eat up some crops.

He stated further that the chairman of the vigilance group in the area later informed him that there was a case of a missing Fulani man for which a search was conducted and a corpse was found in the bush.

It was later discovered that the corpse was one 35-year-old Mohammed Adamu, a Fulani herdsman. During a police investigation, the accused farmers were arrested for committing the crime.

The prosecutor said that investigation into the matter was in progress. He said that the offence contravened Sections 97 and 222 of the Penal Code Laws of Benue State, 2004.

The Magistrate, Mrs Franca Yuwa , adjourned the case to till May 9 for a mention.


Source: The Guardian

We now experience increased sale since government’s ban on importation – Poultry farmers

Poultry farmers in Ilorin have commended the Federal Government for banning importation of poultry products.

The farmers, who spoke in separate interviews with the News Agency of Nigeria in Ilorin on Sunday expressed their delight as demand for chicken and other poultry products increased following the ban.

A poultry farmer, Samuel Ishola, whose farm is located in Olunlade, a suburb of Ilorin, said that he witnessed a rise in demand of broilers unlike few years back when he resulted into begging people to buy.

Mr. Ishola said the government had done well to encourage poultry farmers as the ban on importation of chicken had forced a huge number of customers to patronise them.

“Since the ban on importation of turkey, I now witness a huge crowd that is now interested in my broilers every day.

“We the poultry farmers benefit a lot from that government policy as we feel encouraged and enjoy the way our customers now settle for the domestic chicken instead of opting for the imported,’’ he said.

Another farmer, Leke Ayoola, described the ban on imported chicken as a blessing as every poultry farmer now had a market as demand increased for the livestock product.

Ayoola said he was forced to increase his poultry pen due to high patronage by the customers, adding that he extended his poultry farm to meet up with customers’ demand.

“Before, I use to raise like 200 to 300 broilers; but now I’m happy that I have like 400 to 500 broilers inside my poultry pen and I have customers that always come for it.

“I sell to hotels, restaurants, private individuals as they now prefer to buy the home- raised boilers. They have come to appreciate freshness,” he said.

Another farmer, Iyabo Ahmed, in Kangu area said most poultry farmers in the country were encouraged to do more, as they commended the initiative of the government in prohibiting importation of chicken.

“Though there are some financial challenges but we still try to make things work for our customers,” she said.

Ahmed said the harsh weather was one of the major challenges faced by farmers during the hot season because the poultry birds did not adapt easily to heat.

She, however, called on the government to encourage students, unemployed graduates at all levels on agricultural practice.

Ms. Ahmed said agriculture would rescue Nigeria from recession.


Source: NAN

Saraki hints at legislative solution to farmers/herdsmen clashes

From the National Assembly comes a promise of legislative antidote to the deadly and perennial attacks by herdsmen on farming communities in the country.

President of the Senate, Dr. Abubakar Bukola Saraki, broke the cheering news in Gboko Benue State, while delivering his remarks at the coronation ceremony of the new Tor Tiv, His Majesty, the Begha U Tiv, Orchivirigh Professor Ortese Iorzua James Ayatse.

Saraki noted that the Senate was paying serious attention to Bills, which were aimed at reversing the negative trends in the agricultural sector stressing that the much needed economic diversification to put the national economy back on track would remain a mirage if violent clashes continued.

Ortom explained that when passed into law, the ranches would forestall the incessant clashes between farmers and herders in the state.

In his speech, the new Tor Tiv, said his regime would pay more attention to addressing issues of moral decadence, falling standard of education, and security challenges.

It would be recalled that in November 2016, the Senate rejected a Bill seeking the establishment of National Ranches Commission for Regulation, Preservation and Control of Ranches.

The Senate also jettisoned another Bill that sought to establish Grazing Management Agency, which will ensure the creation of grazing areas across the country. While the Grazing Reserve Bill, was sponsored by Senator Rabiu Kwankwaso (Kano Central), his Benue Northeast counterpart sponsored the Ranches Commission Bill.


Source: The Guardian

FG to launch $300m loan project for young farmers

The Nigeria Incentive-Based Risk Sharing System for Agricultural Lending (NIRSAL), says it will establish a 300 million dollar agribusiness loan project for young farmers across the country.

NIRSAL is an arm of the Central bank of Nigeria (CBN) that provides agribusiness investments credit risk guarantees to help drive economic development through agriculture. The organisation also helps to reduce credit risk in agricultural lending.

Mr Babajide Arowosafe, the Executive Director of NISRAL, told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Ibadan on Wednesday that the project would be funded by the African Development Bank (AfDB).

Arowosafe said that the project known as ‘Youth Enable’, would commence within the next few weeks to create a successive farmers generation to replace the ageing ones.He said that the project would be implemented in collaboration with the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development.

Arowosafe explained that the project would boost economic diversification and create business opportunities and employable skills for young men and women across priority agriculture value chains.

He listed some of the value chains to include aquaculture, crops farming, marketing, processing among others.

According to him, it will drive youths into looking for values, opportunities within the agricultural value chain and develop business models that will be sustainable over the years.

“NIRSAL is going to come up in full force on the initiative but what we look forward to is to have youths within some certain age bracket of 18 and 35 years.

“We need youths that are secondary and university graduates that are willing to go into green business, fresh food business, agri-commodities where Nigeria has comparative advantage.

“We can use those productions as fillers for the import substitution agenda of the Federal Government.

“This is purely a commercial venture; you must have a business model that can convince a financial institution.

“NIRSAL is bringing on board its risk sharing facility, its technical assistance, cutting edge technology to make sure that we monitor activities of those youths using technology,’’ he said.

The executive director disclosed that the organisation would support the farmers with its risk sharing facilities like guarantee, interest draw back and facilitate insurance for their businesses.

He assured youth farmers of low interest rates that would facilitate good business development.


Source: NAN

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.

Unknown gunmen in military camouflage abduct 7 in Lagos suburb

Barely 24 hours after the abducted secretary of Isheri North Landlord Association was released by his abductors, two members of the Oodua People’s Congress (OPC) and five farm workers of Eliasa Farm have been kidnapped in Igbodu area of Epe, Lagos State yesterday.

It was gathered that the gunmen, numbering about 15, dressed in military camouflage, stormed the farm situated along Ishiwo road around 7a.m. and abducted the OPC members, who work as security guards and the farm workers.

Investigation revealed that the two OPC members were employed by the farm owner to provide security at the farm when kidnapping in the community was on the increase in the area.

“The sound of strange voices woke me up early this morning,” said Isaac Ayuba, a farm worker who was lucky to escape. “Before I know what was going on, I saw a man ordering me to open the door to the room where I slept. I noticed there were other men in the premises. I counted six of them and they were all armed. They were ordering my colleagues to open their doors.

“One of the other men fired his weapon and the whole place was in commotion. Even the armed man standing at my door was confused. So I used the door to push him aside and ran towards the fence. He shot at me as I did but missed. That was how I escaped,” he said.

Isaac and a farm manager called the police who visited the facility and found no one. All the other workers had been kidnapped. “Marcus, James, Modiu, Alfred and three other farms workers are missing,” Isaac added.

A source in the area, who spoke on phone, said two weeks ago, the same gunmen invaded the community and abducted six farmers and one customer who came to buy farm produce.

The kidnappers also stormed the community on Friday, January 27, and abducted a 24-year-old Olabiyi Ifeoluwa, a graduate of Nutrients and Biotechnology from Ladoke Akintola University, Ogbomosho, Oyo State and three other farm workers identified simply as Busuyi, Kposu, a Togolese national and John.

The four kidnapped victims were workers of Tanda Farm. Thereafter the abductors contacted the owner. It was gathered that N2 million ransom and two cartons of red label gin were eventually paid as ransom for their release.

The negotiator, Ayodeji Akinyemi, who is Ifeoluwa’s fiancé, was said to have dropped the ransom at a designated point, as directed by the abductors. He was said to have also been instructed on phone, the direction he would lead the released workers through in the forest after their release.

Akinyemi said the kidnappers also had a room where kidnapped babies are kept, as well as first aid box for treatment of injured victims. He also revealed that one of the victims, identified simply as John, who attempted to escape, was shot in the arm.

The Lagos State Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO), Dolapo Badmos, who confirmed the incident, said “it is true seven farm workers were kidnapped at Igbodu area. The Lagos State Police command has commenced investigation following the report and we are working assiduously to rescue them.”

Also speaking, the Commissioner of Police, Fatai Owoseni, told The Guardian that the picture was not clear yet on the reported kidnap.According to him, “we received a distress call that some farmers were kidnapped, but when the Divisional Police Officer and his men visited the scene, they discovered there was no such incident, but after sometime, I heard that it was some farmers who were off-loading chicken that was kidnapped. We are still investigating the matter to get a clearer picture.”

Delta Monarch accuses suspected herdsmen of killing farmers

The traditional ruler of Okpanam kingdom, Oshimile North Local Council of Delta State, Michael Mbanefo, has alleged that suspected Fulani herdsmen have been killing his people in their farmlands.

“I have written to the police and President Mohammed Buhari to come to our aid, so that our men and women can go to their farm freely without being attacked,” he said.

Also speaking on the illegal land acquisition in the community, he said those who acquired lands illegally would forfeit them as a committee saddled with the responsibility to look into the issues, would act on the mandate to ensure the “lands are recovered from usurpers, unless the lands were genuinely acquired.”

In another development, following the recent killing of two brothers, Akpovona Felix and Akpupu Sunday, by suspected Fulani herdsmen in Urhuoka community, Abraka, the President-General of Urhuoka Development Association (UDA), Mr. Freeborn Ukrakpor, has resigned his position as President-General.

In a letter dated January 7, 2017, and titled “Letter of Resignation” addressed to the Ovie of Oruarivie, Abraka kingdom, Akomeyoma Majoroh, Freeborn said: “I write to announce my resignation from the position of President-General Urhuoka Development Association (UDA).

“After due consideration of the trend of events in Urhuoka community over the period of my being in office, my entire family and I are convinced that as president-general, I will always be far away from the peaceful life I retired home to live.

“It is unimaginable that the people of Urhuoka community would neglect the Fulani herdsmen that killed our people, and direct their retaliation at me, for being the president-general. The disturbances of Fulani herdsmen have long been before I returned home from the city on retirement.”

He stated that as a community leader, he could tolerate constructive criticism from his community, but would not tolerate any blackmail relating to Fulani herdsmen operations, and for that reason, “I hereby step down from UDA as President-General with immediate effect.”

In the mean time, a new acting president-general has been appointed to manage the office until a new president-general is elected. John Avwenaghegha will act for the next two months pending when a new president-general is elected.

Meanwhile, the Partner for Peace in the Niger Delta, Delta State chapter, has asked President Muhammadu Buhari to launch an intensive campaign, aimed at mopping up illegally acquired arms in the country, especially in the Northern states and communities where Fulani herdsmen are terrorising people in the South-South region.

The coordinator, Kenneth Atsenuwa, also urged the president to create time to visit Southern Kaduna, saying, such a step will boost trust in his government.


Source: Guardian

Ebonyi State Government to partner with 50,000 farmers ‘to eradicate hunger’.

The Ebonyi state government says it will partner with over 50,000 farmers to boost agriculture and the state’s internally generated revenue (IGR) before the end of the year.

David Umahi, governor of the state, said this over the weekend when he received Zero Hunger Forum, an international group, in Abakaliki, the state capital.

He said apart from the farmers, 8,000 civil servants would benefit from FADAMA 3 programme, also an agricultural programme.

“IFAD injected over  N4 billion into the society by reason of empowering over 6,000  farmers,which of course we supported the farmers by way of standing in for them in their 50 percent equity contribution,” he said.

“Through direct funding, over 15,000 farmers were  funded directly by the state government. That is to me stomach infrastructure. So this year,we are targeting over 50,000 farmers to partner with and to see how we can begin to eradicate hunger in Ebonyi state.

“We want to marry them together and we have started the process of borrowing N1 billion from the banks and then to use it to pay the counterpart funding of FADAMA 3 of our civil servants.

“So we are targeting 8,000 civil servants that will benefit from this N1 billion in a way of counterpart funding on FADAMA 3 programmes.

“Our idea is that our civil servants who are interested should be able to go to work on Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays and on Thursdays, Fridays, Saturdays, they should go to farm and then be able to work through this programme.”


Source: The Cable

Oyo Sets Up Committees To Tackle Herdsmen, Farmers Clashes

The Oyo State government has constituted stakeholder committees at both state and local government levels to look into the clashes between the Fulani Bororo herdsmen and farmers in the state.

While giving updates on the strategy to tackle the crisis, the government also  urged those involved to desist from taking the laws into their hands.

The Special Adviser to Governor Abiola Ajimobi on Security, Mr Olusegun Abolarinwa, issued the warning in Ibadan while highlighting the activities of the state government on avert the incessant clashes between the two groups.

In his words: “The state government does not have any policy on grazing zone yet, as the Federal Government through the Federal Ministry of Agriculture is yet to make a pronouncement on nomadic rearing to be domesticated in all states and in the interim.

“The state government has taken proactive steps to constitute committees at both the state and local levels, comprising security agencies, chairmen of local councils, farmers associations, committee of Fulani’s, Miyetti Allah Cattle Rearers Association of Nigeria, Seriki Hausawa, community leaders and relevant stake holders in the community”.

He disclosed further that the governor had directed the Special Adviser on Community Relations and the Senior Special Assistant on Security, to address the crisis erupting in the religion sector as well as community related crises at the Ibarapa zone of the state, with specific instructions to meet with the aggrieved sects of farmers and Fulani Bororo herdsmen.

Mr Abolarinwa explained that the crisis erupted when farmers laced their farms with poison in a bid to retaliate on the Fulanis whose cows destroyed their farm lands and trampled on them.

He urged the aggrieved parties not to take laws into their hands, reiterating that the government had put adequate measures in place to strengthen the security of the state, with the joint security patrol, procurement of armored personnel carriers (APC) for the state police command, procurement of Hilux vehicle for the security agencies and rendering various forms of assistance to the security agencies in the state.

He then urged residents of the state to be security conscious by constituting themselves as watchmen in their neighborhood, pointing out that it is incumbent on everyone to be responsible to alert on various security threats and challenges around.

Police refute claims of herdsmen, farmers clash in Delta State.

The Nigeria Police Command in Delta has denied that there was a clash between herdsmen and farmers in the state.

The command’s spokesman, Andrew Aniamaka, made this known in a statement made available to journalists in Warri, Delta State, on Tuesday.

Mr. Aniamaka also advised journalists to verify their facts from relevant authorities before publication.

“The attention of the command has been drawn to reports suggesting that there are clashes between herdsmen and farmers in some communities in Delta.

“The command wishes to state unequivocally that it is not aware of any herdsmen and farmers clash anywhere in the state.

“Such unfounded reports are unprofessional, misleading and capable of causing a breakdown of law and order,” he said.

Mr. Aniamaka, however, urged the public to disregard the report, and assured that the command would continue to provide adequate security of life and property.

The alleged report claimed the clash had occurred between Abraka and Obiarukwu communities in Ethiope East and Ukwani Local Government Areas, respectively last Wednesday.

Herdsmen wait for us go to bed before ‘unleashing’ cattle on our farmlands – Kebbi Farmers

Farmers in Zagga district of Bagudo Local Government Area in Kebbi State have decried the persistent destruction of their farm produce by cattle breeders.

Alh Gazali Abubakar, the District Chairman of the All Farmers Association (AFAN) in the area, disclosed this on Friday in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Zagga village.

He lamented the instances of cattle breeders engaged in midnight grazing on their farmlands, adding that ”they sent their cattle to graze over our farmlands when we went to bed.

He said that many farmers in the area had lost significant quantity of farmland and produce, stressing that this has discouraged some AFAN members from partaking in agriculture.

Alhaji Mainasara Zagga, the District Head of Zagga, confirmed the incidences to NAN, saying that the matter has been reported to the police.

He called on the State Government to revive cattle routes with a view to safeguarding the farmers as well as preventing unnecessary clash between the farmers and the cattle breeders.

He also called on the affected farmers to exercise patience and caution as government is working towards handling the matter urgently.

Some of the affected farmers, Bello Umar and Aliyu Zagga, told NAN that they lost farm produce worth hundred of thousands of Naira as a result of the overnight grazing on their farmlands.

According to them, several complaint letters were submitted to authourities concerned but no action was taken to address the matter.

NAN reports that the farming communities in Kebbi have been enjoying relative peace with cattle breeders due to stringent measures put in place by them.

We will construct 400 dams before 2019 – Buhari

President Muhammadu Buhari on Monday declared that his administration would construct additional 400 dams to boost irrigation across the country before the expiration of his term in 2019.

He also revealed that Nigeria’s population doubles itself every 25 years, stressing that this was why the government had decided to focus on revamping agriculture and solid mineral sectors.

Buhari disclosed this to delegates from Africa and other continents at the 32nd Annual Meeting of the Food Crisis Prevention Network which was held in Abuja.

The President said the government had started implementing measures to expand the production of grains and other agricultural produce in Nigeria, adding that the country would start experiencing three harvesting seasons when more dams become operational in the next two years.

Buhari, who was represented by the Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Chief Audu Ogbeh, said, “We can no longer rely on rainfall, we have to create more dams, water reservoirs and insist on harvesting food at least three times in a year.

“I am happy to tell you that that programme is being designed and in the next two and half years we shall add to the existing 200 dams at least another 400 dams across the country to encourage irrigation on a large scale.”

On Nigeria’s increasing population, he said the number of citizens across the country might hit 500 million by 2050 and that there was the need to plan how to feed the nation when its population gets to that level.

Buhari said, “We are not unmindful of our huge population here, hence the need to urgently ensure that the agricultural sector is revitalised as soon as possible. Our population here doubles every 25 years. Estimates are that by 2050 Nigeria will be in the region of 450 to 500 million persons, making us the third most populated country on planet earth coming after China and India.

“The question, therefore is, how do you feed 500 million people with hoes and cutlasses as their tools for agricultural development? However, we are proud to say that we are currently achieving a lot. This year, the harvest of grains in Nigeria has been absolutely exceptional as other African countries have been coming here in search of grains.”

The President noted that the poor handling of agriculture by government had contributed to the depletion of the country’s foreign reserves, as Nigeria spends $22bn annually on food imports.

“Our failure to restore agriculture in the face of crisis in the North-East has increased the percentage of food imports and caused a severe reduction in our foreign reserves. Africa is said to spend $35bn annually on importing food. Of that amount Nigeria accounts for $22bn and there is no need for this, because presently Africa has no excuse of not being able to feed itself,” he added.

This, he said, had warranted a renewed focus by the present government to revamp agriculture and solid minerals development, to revive the economy and make it an export-driven one capable of sustaining prosperity for the masses.

Buhari added that it was high time African countries stopped the importation of harmful foods from other continents as most of these items were toxic and cause health challenges based on findings by an agency in Nigeria.

He said, “Our National Agency for Food Drug Administration and Control have had reason to analyse certain products not originating in West Africa but imported into West Africa and then into Nigeria to be of extremely harmful effect in the diet of our people. Too many of our people are dying of new diseases as a result of this.

“We are therefore making an appeal to all of us in the sub region to do what we can to make sure that nothing harmful comes in through our borders.”

The President also urged African countries to change the method of cattle breeding on the continent, as he stated that there was need to stop the roaming of cattle in order to forestall conflicts between herdsmen and farmers.


Ogbeh: Ebonyi farmers need help, they’re still harvesting rice by hand

Audu Ogbeh, minister of agriculture, says rice farmers in Ebonyi state are still in the business of harvesting by hand and with sickle.

Speaking at the ongoing African Economic Conference in Abuja, Ogbeh said government would intensify support for local farmers, and sustain plans by Akinwumi Adesina, former minister of agriculture, to help local farmers via e-Wallet.

“There’s a need to intensify support, and one of the things we are trying to do now is to reform the bank of agriculture; the African Development Bank is already giving support in that line,” he said.

“We’ve got to build that bank to the level where we can lend money at single digit, as down south as possible to single digit as we can.”

Speaking of the rice farmers and the need to support them with simple machinery, Ogbeh narrated an experience he had with them.

“Over the years, we, in the cities, have never really understood what goes on at the farms. We don’t know the stress of a peasant farmer.

“I was in Ebonyi last week, massive rice production; they are harvesting by hand, using sickle. Imagine a hectare of rice, that is a football field being cut by a man and his wife, bending down all day and then beating the rice on a stick to get the seeds of the tusk.

“If that guy has two hectares, he may not finish harvesting till the raining season arrives. So we need harvesters, we need threshers, very simple machines.”

The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) earlier said that Ebonyi rice farmers had outstripped the earmarked production for the year.

Ogbeh assured Nigerians that there would be no famine in Nigeria, emphasising that the federal government has a plan to combat any occurrence of food  shortage.

Rice farmers seek total ban on sale of foreign rice

Rice farmers have urged state governments to follow the footstep of Ebonyi and ban the sale of foreign rice as a means of boosting local production.

Mr Aminu Goronyo, the National President, Rice Farmers Association of Nigeria (RIFAN), made the call in a telephone interview with the News Agency of Nigeria in Abuja on Monday.

Goronyo was reacting to the current ban by the Ebonyi State Government on the sale of foreign rice in the state.

He said the ban would encourage local production of rice and impact positively on the economy of the country.

“We are going to Ebonyi State to pay a solidarity visit to the governor for that kind of effort that he made. It is a commendable effort and we urge all the state governors in this country to follow suit.

“I think, it is part of efforts to make Nigerians to eat Nigeria’s homegrown rice. We have available rice that we produce locally,’’ the national president said.

Farmers to make rice affordable by 2017

Rice farmers have assured Nigerians of their readiness to make the price of rice affordable and accessible by 2017.

Mr. Aminu Goronyo, the National President, Rice Farmers Association of Nigeria (RIFAN), gave the assurance in a telephone interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Abuja on Monday.

He said the association had signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with some farm input suppliers in the country to ensure prompt supply of cheap fertilisers and pesticides to boost production.

Goronyo said some individuals and corporate bodies caused the current scarcity and hike in the price of rice in order to sabotage government efforts in agricultural diversification.

“We are going to assist the FG to produce more than enough rice for this country in 2017.

“It is part of the plan that we must bring down the price of rice in this country

“There are several efforts that we are making to see that in no distant time, this price of rice will come down for Nigerians to have access to affordable milled rice,’’ Goronyo assured.

The national president said that the association was also collaborating with both local and foreign companies to assist in the electronic mapping and registration of rice farms across the country.

He said this would help government to plan by having accurate and verifiable available land for rice production in the country.

Goronyo gave the assurance that rice production rate would be doubled in 2017 above the seven million tonnes produced this year.

“We have more than 4.5 million hectares of FADAMA land for rice production and each hectare has the capacity with a very good practice and management to produce five tonnes per hectare minimum.

“So, in one production cycle, we can produce 10 million metric tonnes of paddy rice and our consumption rate in this country is between 6.5 and seven million metric tonnes per annum.

“So if we can produce 10 million metric tonnes in one production cycle and we have three production cycles in a year, it means that we can feed this country and even export this rice that we produce,’’ he said.

The RIFAN president said the association would continue to support the Federal Government agricultural diversification as a way of boosting the economy.

Local Farmers To Make Rice Affordable By 2017

Rice farmers have assured Nigerians of their readiness to make the price of rice affordable and accessible by 2017. Mr Aminu Goronyo, the National President, Rice Farmers Association of Nigeria (RIFAN), gave the assurance in a telephone interview in Abuja on Monday.

He said the association had signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with some farm input suppliers in the country to ensure prompt supply of cheap fertilisers and pesticides to boost production.

Goronyo said some individuals and corporate bodies caused the current scarcity and hike in the price of rice in order to sabotage government efforts in agricultural diversification. “We are going to assist the FG to produce more than enough rice for this country in 2017.

“It is part of the plan that we must bring down the price of rice in this country

“There are several efforts that we are making to see that in no distant time, this price of rice will come down for Nigerians to have access to affordable milled rice,’’ Goronyo assured.

The national president said that the association was also collaborating with both local and foreign companies to assist in the electronic mapping and registration of rice farms across the country.

He said this would help government to plan by having accurate and verifiable available land for rice production in the country. Goronyo gave the assurance that rice production rate would be doubled in 2017 above the seven million tonnes produced this year.

“We have more than 4.5 million hectares of FADAMA land for rice production and each hectare has the capacity with a very good practice and management to produce five tonnes per hectare minimum.

“So, in one production cycle, we can produce 10 million metric tonnes of paddy rice and our consumption rate in this country is between 6.5 and seven million metric tonnes per annum.

“So if we can produce 10 million metric tonnes in one production cycle and we have three production cycles in a year, it means that we can feed this country and even export this rice that we produce,’’ he said.

The RIFAN president said the association would continue to support the Federal Government agricultural diversification as a way of boosting the economy.




Jigawa board sells encroaching cattle to compensate 28 farmers.

The Jigawa state Farmers and Herdsmen Board says it has paid N860,000 as compensation to 28 farmers whose crops were destroyed by encroaching cattle in Kirikasamma Local Government Area of the state.

The Executive Secretary of the board, Rabi’u Miko, made this known in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Saturday
in Dutse.

Mr. Miko said 19 farmers received N360,000 as compensation in Marma village while nine farmers in Iwo and Madaci villages received N500,000.

NAN recalled that the board had in November impounded 18 cattle for encroaching and destroying several farmlands in Iwo, Marma and Madaci villages in Kirikasamma.

According to him, the animals were sold at the cost of N1.16 million at Gumel Livestock and Breeding Centre, in Gumel Local Government Area of the state.

According to him, the money used to compensate the affected farmers based on an order given by the mobile court set up by the state government to handle such cases.

He added that the action was one of the new measures taken by the board to discourage farm encroachment by herdsmen.

“Henceforth, any animal found encroaching farmland and destroying farm produce in the state will be impounded and be kept under our custody.

“If the owner comes then we have our mobile court; but if nobody claims ownership of the impounded cattle, then we sell them and compensate the affected farmers,” he said.

According to him, the board has dispatched a team to the scene to assess the extent of damage done by the animals to farm land in the local government.

He added that the animals were sold in the presence of the local government’s farmers/herdsmen committee and village heads of the affected community among others.

Farmers, herdsmen clash in Abia leaves scores hospitalised.

A clash between farmers and herdsmen in Ozuitem community in Bende Local Government Area of Abia State has left many residents hospitalised, with large amount of crops destroyed.

The attack came after the Ndiokereke Abam clash of November 8 and is the third in less than one month in different parts of Abia State within Abia North senatorial zone.

Security operatives in the state appear overwhelmed, as no herdsman has ever been paraded or arraigned in the state despite their increasing attacks on communities.

Those that sustained machete cuts in the Ozuitem community attack are receiving medical attention at Tochi Hospital in Uzuakoli.

One of the victims, Mr Sunday Oru, a 40- year old father of seven currently receiving treatment at Federal Medical Centre, Umuahia, said that the rampaging herdsmen, with over 3,000 cows, have been marauding in the community, destroying farm lands and crops with impunity.

“They arrogantly uprooted farmers’ cassava, okro and cut down plantains to feed their cows while the farmers pleaded that they should to leave the community.

“The pleas fell on deaf ears, as the nomads vowed to rather fight to occupy our land if we attempt to evict them, boasting that they will defeat us and take over our land.

“I went to my rice farm only to discover that cows were openly grazing on it and the herdsmen chased me away when I told them that the cows are causing havoc.

“I ran back to the village to alert other members of the community ,and together in group we went back to the farm

“On getting there, we saw one herdsman and we asked him why they allowed the cows to destroy crops and immediately he blew a whistle and other herdsmen who had been laying ambush surrounded us, hitting us with guns, assault us with rifles and machetes.

“One of them cut off my fingers and started cutting my body with machete. I lost consciousness and only woke up to see myself here at the hospital,” he narrated.

The spokesman for the State Police Command, Mr Ogbonnaya Nta, who confirmed the incident, said the police were on top of the situation while the Secretary to the State Government (SSG), Dr. Eme Okoro, who is a resident of the community expressed sadness over the attack.

Dr. Okoro said that the herdsmen had threatened to feed on his three hectares of cassava farm with various varieties of cassava.

“I warned the herdsmen never to invade my farm but they told me that the farm is in a forest area and I am surprised, wondering at the nomads audacity to challenge me, a land owner,” he said.

The government official said that he got wind of the possible attack on his community about three days before it occurred and that he alerted the Assistant Inspector General of Police (AIG) in charge of Zone 9, but it was disheartening that no action was taken to prevent the attack.

“We are humane and interested in the unity of this country but not to the detriment of our people,” he stated.

Although the Commissioner of Police in the state is trying to tie the loose ends to unravel the reason the herdsmen were allowed to carry out their threat, the people are lamenting the nonchalant attitude of the Federal Government over the incessant attacks by herdsmen on the communities in Abia State

Meanwhile, the Ozuitem women who depend mainly on okro as their mainstay had been thrown into hardship as a result of the destruction of their crops which the herdsmen uproot to feed their cows.

Use of cassava leaves as cattle feed can curb farmers/herdsmen conflict – Institute

The Agriculture and Rural Management Training Institute said the use of cassava leaves as livestock feed would reduce crop farmers/herdsmen clashes in the country.

The acting Executive Director of ARMTI, Dr Olufemi Oladunni, told the News Agency of Nigeria in Abuja on Tuesday that unlocking the potentialities of cassava leaves in the production of livestock feed would be a massive step forward in the sector.

Oladunni said it was unfortunate that the conflict between farmers and herdsmen had caused so much losses that could have been avoided if stakeholders in the sector had considered the other potentialities of the cassava plant.

Oladuunni said: “The Minister of Agriculture mandated the institute to carry out a research on cassava to identify the benefits of using cassava leaves as livestock feed and to develop the cassava leaf value chain.

“The benefits of cassava leaves are enormous in terms of improving our livestock production mainly in the area of more proteins for our animals especially the ruminant ones.

“The problem on ground is how to feed the cattle.

“That is why we have been having crisis; the herdsman wants to feed his animals with plants and on the other hand, the crop farmer is the owner of that resource.

“How do we balance the two?

“One of the ways is the cassava lifting we are trying to advocate.

“Over time, we have neglected the other components of cassava as a crop especially the leaves that have been wasting away.’’

Oladunni said cassava leaves could serve as a good source of revenue for a crop farmer and a provider of jobs.

He said the institute would hold a seminar on Nov. 24 to rub minds and see how cassava could be eaten as hay.

He said the institute would also propose a livestock feed mill where such feed could be packaged and sold in markets.

He said: “Nigeria has not focused on it as a nation and that is why we are bringing it to the fore to see how we can develop it as a value chain and as a source of employment.

“Generating a new feed resource for livestock would lead to a reduction in the spate of conflict between crop farmers and herdsmen, these are the areas the seminar will touch on.’’

Prof. Dolapo Lufadeju, the Managing Director, Lufarmco Investment, a consultant to the institute, said Nigeria had not been able to move from pastorialism to domesticating cattle due to lack of feed.

Lufadeju said pastorialaism had been all over the world especially in countries such as the U.K, America, and Russia in time past.

He said it was after such countries had developed their livestock industry into a business that they began to domesticate cattle.

He said they succeeded because they had all the feed their cattle needed.

Lufadeju said: “Here we don’t have anything on which our cattle are based upon and development is fast catching up with the system of pastorialism.

“That is the reason for the conflict between farmers and herdsmen.

“What we are looking at is a major cattle industry that needs to be developed as a business.

“Crop production has advanced, but nothing has happened in terms of development of livestock in this country.’’

Now that the Senate has thrown out the Grazing Bill, what next? – Adeeko Ademola

The Senate yesterday stepped down three bills on the controversial issue of grazing in the country.

They are: “A Bill for an Act to Provide for the Establishment of Grazing Areas Management Agency and Other Related Matters 2016”, sponsored by Senator Rabiu Kwankwaso (APC, Kano Central); “A Bill for an Act to Provide for the Establishment of National Ranches Commission for the Regulation, Management, Preservation and Control of Ranches and Connected Purposes 2016”, sponsored by Senator Barnabas Gemade (APC, Benue North-East); and “A Bill for an Act to Control the Keeping and Movement of Cattle in Nigeria and Other Related Matters 2016”, sponsored by Senator Chukwuka Utazi (PDP, Enugu North).

The Deputy Senate President, Ike Ekweremadu, said the Senate lacked the constitutional authority to legislate on the issues.

In as much as I would have loved that we find a lasting solution to the issue of animal grazing in Nigeria in the national assembly, I’m also of the opinion that the state governors do have a huge part to play in resolving the crisis that follows destruction of farmlands by Fulani herdsmen and their livestock.

As I have always opined that the Grazing Bill is dead on arrival basically because it does not address the fundamental questions raised by the victims of the herdsmen versus farmers carnage.

The Grazing Bill seeks to allocate portions of lands all over the federation to herdsmen for grazing. Any critical thinking person should know that this move will but only further the escalation of the feud between herdsmen and host communities. Using constitutional powers to allocate lands to nomads in host communities cannot count as a just method to solving the crisis.

Creating a grazing route in 36 states of the federation is like favoring settlers with the ownership rights to lands over the indigents of a particular area and considering how deeply divided the Nigerian people are along tribal and ethnic lines, the bill simply seeks to institutionalize the existing tension between herdsmen and farmer which in turn tends to be more dangerous than what we presently witness.

For instance, allocating grazing lands to a Fulani man in a Yoruba land like Ekiti is not a move that will sit well with the original indigents unless of course it is a business transaction of which in this case, is not.

Apart from the land-grabbing outlook of the allocation of lands for grazing, we are simply seeking to elaborate an already over-bloated government. In a time of recession, when the government is expected to reduce the size of it’s operations in order to save cost, we are looking to pass a bill that seeks to establish a Grazing Route Agency which intends to have a secretariat in all 36 state of the federation and thereby incurring running costs in operation and staff remuneration.

In a corruption-ridden country like ours, we cannot afford to use tax-payers money to create avenues for corrupt practices. As the struggle to cleanse ministries, parastatals and agencies of corruption, it’s not advisable to encourage corrupt practices by creating unneeded and inconsequential government agencies.

What To Do:

It is a laudable move for the government to put into consideration the plight of the herdsmen but that should not come at the detriment of people with other sources of livelihood. Therefore, the Grazing method of animal husbandry should be replaced with immediate effect by Ranching.

Ranching is the practice of raising herds of animals on large tracts of land. A ranch is an area of landscape, including various structures, given primarily to the practice of ranching, the practice of raising grazing livestock such as cattle or sheep for meat, diary, skin or wool.

One of the major reasons why Ranching should be adopted over Nomadic Grazing is the elimination of the movement of animals from one part of the country to another thereby infringing on the rights of other citizens. Apart from averting crisis, research has also shown that animals that are ranched tend to be healthier than those that are being moved around.

In furtherance, ranching is a good source of revenue generation for state governments. Providing ranches in the 19 Northern States of Nigeria will go a long way in ensuring that cattle owners do not have to leave the state in search of vegetation for their animals thereby helping the government to keep tabs on revenue opportunities. For instance, if there are ranches in a state like Sokoto, the Sokoto Government can lease out such ranches to willing herders in exchange for money. Proper sensitization of herdsmen by the government can be carried out to give better understanding about the benefits that come with ranching.

SECURITY: Herdsmen over time, have always had dangerous encounters with cattle rustlers. Cattle rustling is the act of stealing cattle, which is made easy because of the nomadic nature of Fulani Herdsmen. Despite bitter encounters, the government have not been able to find a solution to cattle rustling and that is basically because it is almost impossible to provide security for an entity which happens to be on the move constantly. Animals that are ranched up in one location can be adequately provided with necessary security. The risk of being attacked and robbed in open fields will be greatly minimized because animals can be efficiently tracked and appropriately secured.

HEALTHCARE: As part of the benefits herdsmen will enjoy, ranches also enable animals to be tracked and properly given the needed medical attention. Government can set up veterinary facilities to ensure quality of animal production. This feature will be impossible if animals are being moved from one place to another in a nomadic method. In ranches, when animals need medical attention, all the farmer needs to do is to contact the closest veterinary facility to get help and because the veterinary personnel readily knows the location of the animals, response is swift and precise. Also, laboratories for animal medical researches can be set up to have a proper study of livestock in terms of behavioral patterns in comparison to weather, nutrition, climate and so many other factors. Such researches help in projections and provisions of certain inventions that may yet be beneficial to both farmers, animals and consumers of animal products such as leather, beef, dairy and other by products.

If government can generate funds from herdsmen by providing them with ranches, the outcome benefits of such collaboration is not quantifiable. From security, to healthcare, to improvement in livestock production, the benefits trump whatever benefits derived from the nomadic method of animal husbandry.

Since the Senate has stepped down the Grazing Bill and made it known publicly that finding a lasting solution to the issue of grazing is the sole responsibilities of State Governors, it is time the governors especially northern governors came together in a forum with sole purpose of mapping out plans to ensure the clashes between herdsmen and farmers come to a perpetual halt.

I have, in this piece made their job 50% easier. All the need to do is; do a little more research, fine-tune it and then implement.

World Bank supports 11,000 tomato farmers in Kano.

The FADAMA II Additional Financing project financed by the World Bank has supported a total of 10,845 farmers in the last 10 months.

Out of these beneficiaries, 585 were youth and 1,575 female, while 8,685 were male.

The support, according to the Kano State Coordination office of Fadama, was facilitated through the signing of Memorandum of Understanding between Dangote Tomato Company and Fadama Production Cluster Group on profitable marketing of tomato.

In its Project Implementation Report presented to the Dr. Adetunji Oredipe-led World Bank/FGN 6th Mission on Fadama II Additional Financing, which visited Kano State on Monday, the Fadama State Project Coordinator, Alhaji Sha’aibu Sulaiman, informed that the project similarly in the 2016 cropping season recorded a disbursement of 89,195 and 110 for rice, sorghum and tomato production groups respectively.

In the same vein, sorghum and rice farmers were equally well linked to Grand Cereal and popular rice farm off takers and through collaboration with ICRISAT, sorghum farmers were also linked to Honeywell Company, demanding 150,000mt of sorghum from Fadama farmers in Kano.

In its effort to meet up with project objective of providing employment to the youth, the project has prepared four youth spraying groups comprising of 10 members each earn a living of N58,500 per month for each person.

In other to build the capacity of farmers toward efficient production, 12 consultants on capacity building have been engaged and they have conducted the Train-of-Trainers seminars for 120 farmers across eight production clusters of rice, sorghum and tomato.

The project commitment on youths and women empowerment has been demonstrated through screening of 20 youth and women processing groups, out of which eight groups were supported with tricycles and processing machines.

Additionally, eight groups on tomato were also supported with crates.

Kano State is among the six core States chosen to participate in Fadama III AF Project.

Kano State has been found to possess a comparative advantage of large irrigable land and irrigation facilities, high production potentials and large market, as well as Kadawa, the largest producers of tomato in Nigeria.

This provided Kano State with an advantage to promote sorghum, rice, and tomato value chain over other core States.

18 Dead As Herdsmen, Farmers Clash

At least 18 people were killed and dozens wounded in clashes in Niger between cattle herders and farmers, officials said, adding that women and children were among the dead.

The violence kicked off on Tuesday morning after a herd of cattle wandered into a farmer’s field and damaged the cereal crop, a local official said, asking not to be named.

Such clashes are not unusual in drought-hit Niger, where food shortages and scarce water supplies inflame tensions, especially during the harvest, which coincides with cattle being moved to pasture.

“The clashes were unusually violent, it was very barbaric,” the official told AFP. “It was the death of the owner of the field, in the first altercation, that set things off,” he added.

He said a significant number of women and children were killed, without providing a precise toll.

The interior ministry said 18 people were killed and another 43 wounded in the clashes, which happened in the western Tahoua region, adding that homes were also set on fire.

It said in a statement that security forces had restored order and an investigation was under way, while calling for calm.

The clashes come nearly two years after 10 people were killed in the same region in similar clashes between cattle herders and farmers.



Tomato Farmers Collaborate To Boost Wheat Production In Sokoto – Chairman

Alhaji Haruna Abubakar, Chairman, Tomato Farmers Association of Nigeria, Sokoto State Chapter, said his members would collaborate with wheat farmers to boost the production of the product in the state.
Abubakar made the disclosure in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Monday in Sokoto.
He said the state government’s determination and commitment to technologically improve wheat production in the state was the reason for the collaboration.
Hs said that the government is so much committed to improving agricultural production, as it had introduced modern wheat farming techniques.
“All our members have accepted to join hands with the association of wheat farmers to ensure the development of farming activities in the Sokoto.”
Abubakar thanked Gov. Aminu Tambuwal for supporting farmers in the state.

He assured the government of his members’ commitment to grow the sector for the overall development and growth of the nation’s economy.

He, therefore, urged members of the association to become role models to their counterparts in other states, by utilizing the opportunity provided by the state government to boost agriculture in the state.

Credit: NAN

Anti-grazing law may degenerate into major crisis – Ooni of Ife

The Ooni of Ife, Oba Adeyeye Ogunwusi, has said the anti-grazing law on Fulani herdsmen was a welcome development across Nigeria, but called for care in handling the issue.

The Ooni made this known at the palace of the Ewi of Ado Ekiti, Oba Rufus Adeyemo Adejugbe on Thursday.

He recalled that the state governor, Ayodele Fayose, had recently signed the prohibition of cattle and other Ruminants Grazing in Ekiti Bill, 2016 to Law, which prevented free grazing of cattle in the state and carrying of firearms by herdsmen, as well restriction of grazing period to between 7am and 6pm

The new law prescribed six months jail term without option of fine to any herdsman, who is found guilty.
The development had raised concern in the state as Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association of Nigeria, MACBAN, had stated that the anti-malu vigilante by the state government was not ant only provoking,  but capable of creating uncontrollable scenarios whose ramification may go well beyond the state.

The Ooni, however, said his plea for caution became necessary in order not to allow the issue degenerate into a major crisis.

He said, “We need to be careful handling the threat posed by some herdsmen across the country, especially in the Yoruba region of the country.

“Because Nigeria is a federation and Ekiti State is in a federation, there is need for care in the handling of the issue because it could degenerate.”

“Herdsmen And Farmers’ Clashes is the Governors’ Responsibility” – Obasanjo

Former President Olusegun Obasanjo on Tuesday said it is not the responsibility of President Muhammadu Buhari to address the lingering clashes between herdsmen and farmers.

Obasanjo also decried the increasing level of hunger in the country, stressing that it was sad to note that about 65 per cent of Nigerians were faced with food insecurity.

The former president spoke during the 23rd Annual LAPO Development Forum with the theme, ‘Food Security and Sustainable Agriculture in Nigeria: Challenges and Opportunities’, organised by the Lift Above Poverty Organisation in Abuja.

Obasanjo said, “Some of the words that have been coming from our leaders, particularly from state governors are not helpful! This issue is not a federal issue and another thing, I don’t like about it is that when you talk of Fulani herdsmen, people talk of the President.

“Now because the President of Nigeria is a Fulani man, you expect him to solve the problem immediately, that is not his job. And when people make comments like this, it annoys me.

He noted that during the colonial era, there were grazing reserves in most parts of the North, but wondered what had happened to them.

Obasanjo said, “I need to state that it is the responsibility of local governments to take care of them. Now, states should have even done better, but they haven’t, and then when you have cattle rustling, herdsmen and farmers conflict, you try to make it a national issue. It is not really a national issue.

“For me, the herdsmen are entitled be able to look after their animals but they are not entitled to destroy the crops of the rural farmers, it is unacceptable.”

Police investigate shooting, abduction of farmers in Enugu

Police have commenced investigation into the alleged shooting of a farmer and abduction of two other farmers by suspected gunmen in Enugu State.

The police spokesman in Enugu State, Mr Ebere Amaraizu, told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Thursday in Enugu that the incident took place at Akpakume-Nze Community in Igbo-Etiti Council Area.

According to him, the incident happened at about 12 noon on Tuesday, while the victims were weeding their farms.

“It was gathered that yet to be identified gunmen had allegedly shot one Lazarus Amadi, who had gone to farm and injuring him as well as abducting two other farmers.

“The command mobilised and went into the farmland where the injured Lazarus Amadi was rescued and taken to a hospital where he is responding to treatment,’’ he said.

It remains unclear if the attack was carried out by herdsmen, who have been accused of such in recent months.

The leader of Hausa Community in Enugu State, Alhaji Abubakar Sambo, last week revealed why the state is prone to attacks from Fulani herdsmen.

But Amaraizu said that police operatives in partnership with members of the community embarked on intense manhunt with a view to rescue the abducted farmers identified as Paul Ugwu and Hycenith Eze.

“After a day intense manhunt by the police operatives with members of the local communities, the two abducted persons were rescued and returned to their families unhurt,’’ he said.

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.

Sokoto Government Arrests Racketeers Reselling Free Fertilisers.

Sokoto State Government says it is currently investigating some fertiliser racketeers, who were reportedly arrested in Sabon-Birni Local Government area of the State.


The state Commissioner of Agriculture, Alhaji Umaru Nagwari, made the disclosure at news briefing organised by the Ministry of Information in collaboration with the State Council of the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ). He said that those arrested were involved in the fertiliser fraud, as they were buying and reselling the 9,000 metric tonnes of fertiliser bought by the state government at over N 1.2 billion.


”The commodity was distributed to the 23 Local Governments of the state based on their respective farmers’ population. ”The state government also provided 70 per cent subsidy on each bag of the commodity including NPK, Urea and SSP.


”Unfortunately, while efforts were being made to ensure that the commodity gets to the real farmers, these bad eggs were busy buying it off, with a view to resell it to the farmers at exorbitant prices.” he said.


Nagwari also said that the state government was currently conducting a state-wide data-based census of farmers. This, according to him, was aimed at getting a central database of farmers, to ensure that only genuine farmers henceforth get farm inputs, loans and implements. (NAN)

Farmers, Herders Clash: Military To Launch Operation Accord

The Chief of Defence Staff (CDS) General Gabriel Olonisakin has said the armed force is preparing to launch Operation Accord to tackle the menace occasioned by armed bandits  in the recent spate of farmers and cattle herders clashes across  the country.
He make this known on Friday in Abuja when he received t?he acting Inspector General of Police (IGP) Ibrahim Idris at the Defence Headquarters( DHQ).
General Olonisakin said already a committee set up by the DHQ has visited some flash points of recent clashes ?in the country to access the situation.
He said already  troops are being trained with the competence to operate in all terrains.? Adding that the military and police must collaborate to ensure security in the country.
Earlier in his remarks, acting IGP Ibrahim Idris said the military and the police must collaborate further to stay ahead of security challenges in the country.
He asked for assistance in the training of the Nigeria police marine unit to enhance security operations in the Niger Delta region.
He also noted that the police has taken over the responsibility of providing security in nine  local government areas in the north eastern part of the country.
He explained that the police has been briefed to take over 19 local government areas but only 9 has been taken over, hinting that  the delay in deployment to the other ten may be due to military exigencies.
He also called for improved synergy between military and police joint operation at state commands, where he proposed a joint operations command to coordinate all security operations in the states.
Credit: DailyTrust

Buhari, Governors Agree On Ranches to End Herdsmen/Farmers Clashes

President Muhammadu Buhari and the state governors have agreed that ranches should be established to address incessant farmers/herdsmen clashes instead of grazing reserves, Gov. Simon Lalong of Plateau, has disclosed.


Lalong, who made the disclosure on Sunday in Jos at the dedication of the new headquarters of Evangelical Church Winning All (ECWA), said that grazing reserves would not address the clashes and the killings.


“The President and governors agreed that there would be no grazing areas; ranches would be established by government where the cattle would be kept in one place and fed.

“Government will provide facilities like medical, schools and other needs in the ranches,” he said.


Lalong said that the ranches would not be for Fulani herdsmen alone but for whoever rears cattle.


He said that the Buhari’s administration inherited myriads of problems, saying that herdsmen/farmers clashes was just one of such problems and urged the people to be patient.


He urged Plateau citizens to pray for the state and the Federal Government as all the problems could not be solved in one year.


Also speaking, the Senator representing Plateau South, Lt.-Gen. Jeremiah Useni (rtd), said that delegates at the 2014 National Conference agreed that grazing reserves should be a state affair, not federal.


He said that it would be difficult for farmers to support the establishment of grazing areas as they would not donate their farms for grazing purposes.

In his sermon, Rev. Anthony Farinto, former ECWA President, called on leaders at all levels to urgently address the difficulties Nigerians were going through.

The cleric, who condemned the recent killing of a military official, urged the Federal Government to do all within its power to address the security challenges facing the country.

“If a serving Colonel could be kidnapped and killed, it portends serious danger for the country,” he said.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the Kaduna State Deputy Governor, Bala Bantex, attended the service.



RIFAN Targets Production Of 1m Tonnes Of Rice Annually

Rice Farmers Association of Nigeria (RIFAN) in Kebbi says it targets production of one million metric tonnes of rice annually on the platform of Central Bank of Nigeria’s Anchor Borrowers Programme.


The Chairman of the Association in Kebbi, Alhaji Sahabi Augie, said this in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Birnin Kebbi on Sunday.


He said more than 70,000 farmers nationwide would participate in the programme to achieve the targeted quantity.


He also said farmers who cultivated between one and three hectres of rice would be placed in clusters to enable them to benefit from the programme, while others cultivating less than that would be recognised on individual basis.


He said inputs worth N210, 000 would be given to each farmer per hectre as loan in the scheme.

“Inputs and equipment such as fertiliser, seedlings, insecticide, chemicals and water pumping machines will be given to each farmer to enable him cultivate one hectre.

“The association will also work closely with officials of the Central Bank of Nigeria, Bank of Agriculture and state officials to ensure success of the programme,’’ he said.


Also, Alhaji Abdullahi Argungu, the Chairman, Wheat Farmers Association in the state, said that 10,000 farmers were participating in the programme.


He, however, said that the infiltration of bad seeds had affected wheat production in the state.


“At the start of the dry season, farmers got unfit seeds; the anomaly will be reversed next dry season farming.

“The number of wheat farmers would also be increased from 10,000 to 20,000 to produce more during the period,’’ he said.




How I Intend To End Fulani Herdsmen, Farmers Clashes– Buhari

President Muhammadu Buhari said Monday in Abuja that poverty, injustice and the lack of job opportunities were mainly responsible for inter-communal and intra-communal conflicts in Nigeria.

Speaking while receiving a delegation from the Centre for Humanitarian Dialogue, an organization active in the promotion of peace in Nigeria, President Buhari said to achieve enduring peace in the country, greater effort must be made to eradicate poverty and injustice.

The president described ethnic and religious conflicts in parts of the country as outward manifestations of underlying problems of joblessness, injustice and poverty.

On conflicts between farmers and herdsmen, President Buhari said that a plan to map out grazing areas will soon be presented to the Nigerian Governors Forum as a temporary solution to the frequent conflicts until cattle owners are persuaded to adopt other means of rearing their cattle.

Credit: PremiumTimes

Minister of Agric & Rural Development Moves To End Farmers, Herdsmen Clashes

The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Devlopment, Audu Ogbeh, has said that the incessant clashes between farmers and cattle herdsmen in the country would be brought to an end in the next two years.

Mr. Ogbeh said on Tuesday that the federal government would create grazing areas in the country where the herdsmen would take care of their cattle.

“We will grow grass in the South to feed the cattle in the North, just as Saudi Arabia did,” he said.

According to the minister, if Saudi Arabia with the largest cattle ranch in the world can grow its grass for the cows in the United States of America, Nigeria should be able to do same.

Mr. Ogbeh said the government would lobby banks to peg interest rate at five per cent instead of the current nine per cent.

He made this known in Ilorin at the launching of the 2nd phase of Agricultural Equipment Hiring Enterprise (AEHE) programme at the National Centre for Agricultural Mechanism, (NCAM).

The minister said nine per cent was too high as interest rate for farmers, adding that for people of Nigeria to feed well, agriculture must grow.

Credit: PremiumTimes

El-Rufai Procures 30, 000 Metric Tonnes Of Fertiliser For Farmers

Kaduna State governor, Mallam Nasir El-Rufai has procured a total of 30, 215 metric tonnes of fertiliser for distribution to farmers at a subsidised rate.

The governor who launched the sale of fertiliser in Kachia local government, warned that fertiliser must be sold only at publicly-designated selling points to interested farmers, adding that “every farmer in Kaduna, whether big or small will have equal opportunity to buy at first-come, first-serve basis.”

According to the governor, farmers will pay only 60 per cent of the cost of the four types of fertiliser that have been made available for sale.

Thus, he said the NPK will sell for N3,750; Urea for N3,600 while SSP and Organic will retail for N2,940 only, warning that “no farmer should pay a kobo more than these prices this year to anyone in Kaduna State.”

“This government recognises the current contribution of agriculture to keeping many of our people employed and fed. But the contributions that agriculture currently makes is as nothing compared to its potentials.


Establishment Of Ranches, Solution To Herdsmen, Farmers Frequent Clashes- Ortom

Governor-elect of Benue State, Samuel Ortom, has promised to establish ranches in order to prevent the incessant bloodshed occasioned by clashes between farmers and herdsmen in the state.

Ortom was of the view that the frequent clashes between Fulani herdsmen and farmers, which had claimed many lives and led to destruction of property and cash crops across the country, would be averted with the establishment of ranches nationwide.

Benue has been a flash point of deadly clashes between herdsmen and indigenes of the state especially those in the rural areas, who are mostly farmers.

In March, one of such clashes led to the death of 84 persons in the hands of the herders with properties worth millions, destroyed. But the governor-elect, who spoke at the Japan International Cooperation Agency in Abuja on Thursday, explained that his government would find a lasting solution to the bloodshed in the state, stressing that security of lives and properties was a top priority for him.

Ortom, who is a former Minister of State for Trade and Commerce, sought assistance from JICA on education, agriculture and sanitation, noting that Benue could benefit from Japanese technology and expertise in these areas.

According to him, Benue State needs quick surgical intervention in various sectors, adding that a partnership with JICA will assist his administration to make concrete progress in core areas that can impact on the lives of the citizens.

He said, “I have always said it that ranching is the best way to end the incessant farmers/Fulani herdsmen clashes in different parts of the country. In other parts of the world, you don’t see herdsmen walking on the road with cattle and other animals; but this is still being done in Nigeria, sadly.

“So, my government will invest in ranches because security of lives and properties is a core area for us. We will end the clashes and bloodshed caused by herdsmen/farmers conflicts and make Benue a peace haven for all”.


Address Farmers, Herdsmen Conflicts; Council Of State Urges Buhari

The National Council of State on Tuesday in Abuja urged the incoming administration of retired Maj.-Gen. Muhammadu Buhari to develop viable solutions to the persistent clashes between farmers and herdsmen in the country.

Addressing State House correspondents on the outcome of the meeting, which was presided over by President Goodluck Jonathan, Gov. Gabriel Suswam of Benue said already, a document had been prepared by the council to address the menace.

“The issue of the clashes between the herdsmen and the farmers in various parts of the country was also addressed and the way forward.

“Actually, the report that was presented by the Economic Council under my chairmanship as relates to issue of grazing and what the Federal Government needs to do in order to address that will be presented to the incoming president so that he will act on it since there is no time for the present administration to do that.’’

According to him, the prepared document states what needs to be done that will reduce the clashes.

He recalled that a decision was taken at one of the National Economic Council (NEC) meetings on how government could reduce the clashes and gradually domesticate the herdsmen.

“We can domesticate them in ranches. That document stated clearly how the Central Bank and the Ministry of Agriculture ?can act.

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