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FG Mulls Operation Feed Yourself to Counter Malnutrition

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Operation Feed Yourself

By Adedapo Adesanya  

The federal government in collaboration with states is considering an Operation Feed Yourself initiative to encourage the establishment of urban farms and small home gardens.

The Vice President, Mr Yemi Osinbajo, confirmed this at a High-Level Meeting on Nutrition attended by United Nations Deputy Secretary-General, Mrs Amina Mohammed, State Governors, representatives of development partners including UNICEF, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the Aliko Dangote Foundation, and convener of the UN Food System Dialogue, Mrs Olusola Idowu who is also the Permanent Secretary, Budget and National Planning Ministry.

The Operation Feed Yourself scheme is one of three major plans arising from the UN-backed Food Systems Dialogues, to advance the fight against malnutrition to be championed by the National Economic Council and the National Council on Nutrition.

Others are providing support to farmers across the country, especially by providing useful weather and soil pattern information that will improve farming yields, and also encouraging State Governments to ensure prompt release of budget for nutrition and related activities.

At the meeting, presentations were made by the Deputy Secretary-General, the Dialogue Convener, the Oyo State government which already has an integrated farming model, and the Director-General, Nigeria Meteorological Agency (NiMet) on how weather information can be helpful to farmers.

According to the Vice President, “there are practical steps that can be taken by the States and Federal Government in the next 12 months.

“I think that some of the suggestions are important, especially those that have come from the UN Food System Dialogue.”

The VP listed the different stages as; the establishment of Agribusiness Investment Hubs or farm settlements; the establishment of urban farms and homestead gardens by individuals and schools; the adoption of weather information to support farming; leveraging the support of the UN agencies and other partners for nutrition activities, and the call on MDAs and States to release funding for nutrition activities.

“States and the FGN will promote what the convener has described as “Operation Feed Yourself”. This is more of the establishment of urban farms and homestead gardens. This is simply something that we think should be a mass appeal to citizens in the States, and the encouragement we can give them so that individuals and schools develop their own farms or homestead gardens,” the VP noted.

“This obviously not only helps individuals and families but the excess can be sold to others and generally improve food security.

“The establishment of Agribusiness Investment Hubs or farm settlements or farm estates or any variety of those kinds of integrated farming arrangements will improve food and nutrition security. What we are recommending is the sort of model that Oyo State has or any of the variety that States have. That sort is obviously recommended because of the way that it is structured and the obviously good result that they have been getting.”

Speaking specifically about the funding of nutrition and related activities by MDAs and states, the VP noted that “this is something that we have made a point of importance even at the National Economic Council meetings.

“It is one of the action points as defined in the food transformation pathways which we already have issued and we are hoping that these budget releases will be specifically directed at the action points defined in the transformation pathways because these are ways by which we have identified that we can gain maximum traction in food security.”

“We urge the States to budget adequately for nutrition. Each MDA and State should adopt the national priority list, make budgetary provisions for those who haven’t concluded their 2022 annual budgets. I think there is still time to make adequate budgetary provision for nutrition in the 2022 budgets,” the VP added.

Mr Osinbajo urged state governments to adopt partnerships that can be effective in scaling up nutrition and related activities.

He said “it is also clear that we can leverage on the support of the UN Agencies and other partners like the Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO), United States Agency for International Development (USAID), and the World Bank as well as our development partners, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and Aliko Dangote Foundation.

“The Aliko Dangote Foundation was able to show what they have been doing especially with de-risking facilities that could be used by farmers in the various localities all over the country,” he said.

On his part, the Chairman of the Nigerian Governors Forum, Mr Kayode Fayemi, said despite dwindling financial resources, the States will continue to “push on the frontier of improvement in nutritional issues.”

Also in a brief remark, the Chairman of the Nutrition Society of Nigeria, Mr Sanusi Lamido, urged relevant authorities to leverage technology to address the challenge of shortage of rainfall to boost farming activities in parts of the country.

Aside from the Convener of the Food Systems Dialogue, Mrs Olusola Idowu, the DG of NiMet, Prof. Mansur Matazu, and the Executive Adviser to the Oyo State Governor on Agriculture, Dr Debo Akande, the representatives of the FCDO and the Aliko Dangote Foundation also made presentations at the meeting.

Adedapo Adesanya is a journalist, polymath, and connoisseur of everything art. When he is not writing, he has his nose buried in one of the many books or articles he has bookmarked or simply listening to good music with a bottle of beer or wine. He supports the greatest club in the world, Manchester United F.C.

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Drug Trafficker Conceals 23.55kg of Heroin in Baby Food

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drug integrity test

By Adedapo Adesanya

A suspected drug trafficker has been arrested by operatives of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) for concealing  22 blocks of heroin weighing 23.55 kilograms in packs of baby food at the Murtala Muhammed International Airport (MMIA), Ikeja, Lagos.

According to a statement issued on Sunday by the agency, the consignment with a street value of over N4.5 billion came from Johannesburg, South Africa on board a South African Airways flight on Wednesday, June 29 as part of a consolidated cargo that arrived at the SAHCO import shed of the Lagos airport.

After a series of follow-up operations that led to the arrest of two freight agents, the actual receiver of the drug consignment, Mr Chike Okeke Eweni, who allegedly distributes the substance for his South Africa-based partner, was arrested the following day, Thursday, June 30 at a logistics warehouse in Ajao Estate, Ikeja.

Mr Chike who hails from Anaocha LGA, Anambra State, claimed during a preliminary interview that he’s also into fish farming.

Before his arrest, NDLEA officers at the airport had on Monday, June 27 arrested a former driver with a public transport company, BRT, Mr Muyiwa Babalola Bolujoko, for ingesting 90 pellets of cocaine. He was arrested at the screening point before boarding a Qatar Airways flight en route from Doha to Sharjah, with his trip expected to terminate in Dubai, UAE.

The 39-year-old from Ijebu South LGA, Ogun State, was placed under excretion observation after body scan results confirmed drug ingestion. While in custody, the suspect excreted all the 90 pellets in four excretions.

He claimed he left his N60, 000 per month job as a BRT driver in February and decided to work as a drug courier to raise funds to buy a shuttle bus popularly called Korope in Lagos to continue his transport business.

Operatives also on Thursday, June 30, intercepted an inbound consignment of khat leaves, which arrived at the NAHCO import shed of the Lagos airport on a Royal Air Maroc flight from the Middle East. A total of 71 cartons of dried khat leaves with a gross weight of 2,434.3 kg were discovered in the cargo.

In the same vein, anti-narcotic officers of the Agency also last Thursday seized 36 parcels of Colorado, a variant of cannabis with a total weight of 19.30kg which arrived at the NAHCO import shed from Los Angeles, US on a Delta Airlines flight.

After a series of follow-up operations in which four persons were arrested, the alleged owner of the drug consignment, Mr Abibu Afis Sola was eventually nabbed on Friday, July 1 in the Gbagada area of Lagos.

Meanwhile, in Rivers state, NDLEA operatives on Wednesday, June 29 arrested a 68-year-old woman, Mrs Celina Ekeke at Obunku community, Oyigbo LGA with 231.2kg cannabis, while one Mr Shedrack Eze, was arrested the following day Thursday, June 30 at Yankarfe, Zaria, Kaduna state with 250,000 tablets of Exol 5, weighing 75 kg.

In Borno state, Mr Usman Haruna, 27, was arrested at the BCG checkpoint in Biu on Saturday, July 2 with 19.7kg of cannabis.

In his remark, the Chairman/Chief Executive of the NDLEA, Mr Mohamed Buba Marwa expressed satisfaction with the exemplary performance of the officers and men of the MMIA command in the past week while also commending those of Rivers, Kaduna and Borno for being vigilant.

He charged them and others across the country to remain steps ahead of the tricks by the desperate drug cartels.

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Council Approves Board to Manage Power Sector Liabilities

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power sector liabilities

By Adedapo Adesanya

The National Council on Privatisation (NCP) has approved the board composition and proposed governance framework for the sustainable management and payment of post-privatisation power sector liabilities transferred to the Nigerian Electricity Liability Management Company (NELMCO) Board.

In a meeting presided over by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, the council also approved the fast-tracking of the work plan for the concession of the Zungeru Hydroelectric Power Plant (ZHPP).

On the board of the NELMCO board are the Minister of Finance, Mrs Zainab Ahmed, who is the Chairman; while members will comprise the Minister of Power, Mr Abubakar Aliyu; Director-General, Bureau of Public Enterprises (BPE), Mr Alex Okoh; Director-General, Debt Management Office (DMO), Ms Patience Oniha; Managing Director, NELMCO, Mr Adebayo Fagbemi; and all its Executive Directors.

It was also resolved that two key members from the private sector be included on the board.

Also at the meeting, it was noted that the key objectives of the Zungeru Hydroelectric Power Plant concession include leveraging private sector access to finance and reduce the reliance on government budgetary allocation to fund the China EXIM Bank loan; and leveraging efficiencies and better facility management (maintenance) culture of the private sector for long-term preservation of the asset.

The Council had, in its December 2020 meeting, approved the concession of the ZHPP.

Similarly, the team was briefed on the performance assessment report of the nine Electricity Distribution Companies (DISCOs), which has been forwarded to the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC), the sector regulator, for further review and action.

At the meeting, it was noted that a thorough performance assessment revealed that most of the set performance targets were not met by the nine electricity distribution companies.

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Google Organises Residency Programme for Young Non-mainstream Creators

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Google Accelerator Programme

By Modupe Gbadeyanka

Some young non-mainstream creators were recently gathered in Nairobi, Kenya for a two-day residency programme organised by a tech giant, Google.

The bootcamp took place from Tuesday, June 28 to Thursday, June 30, 2022, and helped participants learn how to better connect with their audiences and move the culture forward through platforms like Google Arts & Culture, YouTube and YouTubeShorts.

The program will see the first batch of 25 young Alté creatives from Nigeria, Kenya, Ghana, Botswana, and South Africa attend the residency and be equipped with entrepreneurial skills on how they can enhance the visibility of their brands.

Google explained that it came up with the idea to upskill and celebrate the young creatives, who are normally not given a chance on mainstream media, which resulted in many of them taking to YouTube and others to tell their stories.

“It’s exciting to see creators that identify as non-mainstream find community on our platform. This comes just a few days after we announced a call for applications for the YouTube Black Voices Fund for 2023 aimed at elevating marginalised voices.

“The aim of the residency is to amplify the impact of the Alté movement in Africa and the world. We also want to showcase how products like YouTube and YouTube Shorts and platforms like Google Arts & Culture can help drive the culture forward,” the Communications and Public Relations Manager for Google West Africa, Taiwo Kola-Ogunlade, said.

Though it started in Nigeria, it has strongly taken root across the continent. Recent Google Search trends from across Africa show an increase in `Alté’ related searches from 2020, with questions like ‘What is alté?’, ‘Who is an alté?’ and ‘How to dress alte?’, being the most searched alté related questions.

Other top searches in Africa on Alté include alte’ music, alte’ songs, alte’ suit designs, top alte’ vibe, alte’ kids, alte’ Nigeria, alte’ in Ghana Music, and alte’ food.

Google has also invited Alté creatives that have global brands such as Tshepo The Jeans Maker to give career talks to the young creative entrepreneurs on how to further build and monetise their brands.

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