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Dangote Inaugurates Multi Billion Naira Rice Processing Plant in Jigawa

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The Dangote  Rice Outgrower Scheme in Jigawa State reached a turning point yesterday when the President of Dangote Group, Aliko Dangote laid a foundation stone for the construction of a multi-billion Naira rice processing mill in Hadin, Jigawa state.

The mill with a capacity to process 16 metric tons of paddy rice per hour, when completed, will in a year process paddy rice worth N14 billion bought directly from the famers in Jigawa at market rate.

Speaking at the ground breaking ceremony in Hadin, Kaugama local government area, Dangote said the commencement of the construction of the integrated rice processing plant was the culmination of series of events which began with the signing of a $1billion agreement with the federal government for the integrated rice production in Kebbi, Sokoto, Zamfara, Kano, Niger and Jigawa.

“We have continued to pioneer new approaches to empowering our primary stakeholders and our farmers, through the Dangote outgrowers programme thereby creating thousands of jobs, increasing incomes, poverty reduction in rural communities by providing high quality agro-inputs, technical support and secured market for farmers. Also, creating access to finance, mechanization and irrigation services so as to enhance agricultural productivity.”, he stated.

Recalling that the Dangote Rice limited started the outgrowers scheme in 2016 with thousands of hectares of land  in Hadejia, Jigawa state, creating over 10,000 jobs (direct and indirect) to farmers, the business mogul said with the new ultra modern mill enough paddy rice will be grown and harvested for processing.

According to him, the mill which will take only months for installation and commissioning is the first in the series of five other mills coming up in Kano, Sokoto, Zamfara, Kebbi and Niger States in the first phase, while in the second phase, other mills will be built in Nasarawa, Kogi, and other states.

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Said he: “When these planned six mills come fully on stream, we will achieve a capacity of seven hundred thousand metric tons per annum of Parboiled rice, which will make Dangote Rice the largest rice producer in Africa and will make a bold step in making Nigeria self-sufficient in Rice production, stop importation Nduka save the nation foreign exchange.”

Dangote stated further that towards co-creating value for all stakeholders, the company has engaged about 20,000 out growers who are expected to produce an average of 180,000 tons of paddy rice on about 30,000 hectares of land. “We are focused on engaging in the region of 300,000 farmers in the next 12 months when our rice mills are all functional and we achieve steady state.”

“We will continue to launch massive agricultural projects across the country in rice and dairy farming. Our push for backward integration in providing our own raw materials on a massive scale has led to the planned investment of $4.6 billion over the next three years in sugar, rice and dairy production alone. That will eliminate the country’s reliance on imported materials, and the foreign exchange headaches that comes with it.”

In his opening remarks, the Dangote Group Executive Director, Devakumar Edwin explained that the Dangote Rice team has been involved in scaling up the outgrower operations to a least 5,000 hectares this season and this will very soon increase and grow to over 15,000 hectares cultivated per cycle or season to fully optimise operations.

He said the establishment of a Multi-billion Naira state-of-the-art integrated rice processing facility to process at least 260 metric tons of rice paddy per day grown which is produced from thousands of local rice out growers within Jigawa state is a giant step forward and expresses his company’s confidence and faith in local farmers to continuously stand with Dangote to make this project a success.

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Located on 25 hectares site in Hadin, Edwin noted that the mill is earmarked to begin operations in the last quarter of 2018. “During the construction phase and when it becomes fully operational, hundreds of employment opportunities will be created, knowledge transference and skills developed among our teeming youthful population thereby boosting local economy.”

According to him, “the Jigawa famers are in for a good times as the 125,000 metric tons of paddy rice that this plant requires for processing will be brought from the farmers of Jigawa for an estimated purchase price of N14 billion per annum. This is a huge benefit for the farmers in Jigawa. This mill will be producing high quality parboiled rice that competes with the best in the world this is in-line with our continuous aim to touch the lives of millions who believe in the Dangote brand.”

“Jigawa State is endowed and blessed with vast fertile land, water resources, climate and progressive people, as well as one of the fastest growing agricultural destinations in Nigeria, was identified as an ideal location for us to set up our first facility in Nigeria. This obviously reinforces our commitment to supporting the efforts of the present administration in developing a robust agro-industry in Nigeria.”

“We made commitment to Nigerians that we will produce 1 million metric ton of quality parboiled rice. Since then we have embarked on several initiatives towards achieving this objective with support and collaboration from state and federal government agencies, ministries and departments, non-governmental organisations, community based organisations, traditional and financial institutions, etc., we continue to pioneer new approaches to empowering our primary stakeholders and our farmers, through the Dangote outgrower program thereby creating thousands of jobs, increasing incomes, poverty reduction in rural communities by providing high quality agro-inputs, technical support and secured market for farmers.”

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Jigawa State governor, Alhaji Abubakar Badaru expressed delight at the stage of the Dangote Rice project in the state saying it was in line with the vision of the Invest Jigawa, an organ set up to accelerate investments in the state.

He said Jigawa is one of the States reputed to be on top on ease of doing business in Nigeria saying the Dangote Rice presence in the state is a pointer to the fact. He added that the state is also in the forefront of the diversification efforts of the federal government from oil to non-oil ventures especially agriculture.

He promised that the state will be willing to do whatever it will take to ensure the Dangote rice operate smoothly to the satisfaction of all parties in the state.

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WCC condemns killing of Nigerian Christian Brethren leader

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Upon hearing news that Church of the Brethren leader Lawan Andimi was executed by Boko Haram on 20 January, World Council of Churches general secretary Rev. Dr Olav Fykse Tveit condemned the brutal act of violence and expressed his sincere condolences to Rev. Andimi’s family, community and church.

Andimi was an ordained minister in the Church of the Brethren in Nigeria, serving as district secretary for the Michika area, and was chair of the Christian Association of Nigeria for the Michika area.

“We have lost a brother who worked for peace, who worked for ecumenism, and whose life has been cut short by senseless violence,” said Tveit.

Andimi was reported missing on 3 January, a day after an attack on Michika by Boko Haram. His abduction gained international attention when, on 5 January, his captors released a video in which he professed his Christian faith.

“We denounce this violence as an act of hate toward someone who dedicated his life to God and to the service of others,” said Tveit. “We pray for justice and comfort for his family and loved ones. And I appeal urgently to the Nigerian government and authorities to ensure the protection of people targeted by violent extremists because of their religious or other identity.”

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Andimi was originally from Kwada village in the Chibok area.

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LG Dissolution: Malami’s letter not served on us – Oyo AG reacts

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The Government of Oyo State has rejected the purported intervention of the Attorney-General of the Federation (AGF) & Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami (SAN) in the raging controversy over local government dissolution in the state.

Attorney-General of the state, Professor Oyelowo Oyewo, in a four-page response to a letter by the AGF, said that though the AGF did not submit the said letter to his office, he had to source the same from the social media in view of the weighty nature of the issues.

According to Prof. Oyewo, the AGF has no business dabbling into the matter of local government dissolution in Oyo State which is pending before the Court of Appeal.

A statement by the Chief Press Secretary to Governor Seyi Makinde, Mr. Taiwo Adisa indicated on Thursday, that the statement credited to Malami was uncalled for, misguided and lacking in merit, as far as the constitution of Nigeria is concerned.

The Government of Oyo State maintained that Malami’s letter dated 14 January, 2020, was written without adequate information and knowledge of the current position of the subject matter of dissolution of local government in the State.

According to the statement, the issue of local government dissolution in Oyo state is a subject of stay/appeal that is pending before the Court of Appeal in two cases including Governor of Oyo State Vs Basorun Bosun Ajuwon, Appeal no CA/IB/300/2019 and Basorun Majeed Bosun Ajuwon Vs Governor of Oyo State CA/IB/362/2019.

“It is also instructive to note that parties have filed their respective briefs of argument and the appeals have now been fixed for the 19th of February, 2020,” the statement reads.

The Attorney-General and Commissioner of Justice in Oyo State equally declared that only the court and not the AGF could pronounce an order on the matter, which was sub judice.
The Government called on Malami to rise above partisan politics and advise parties to await judgment of the court in the various appeals.

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The Government added that the Constitution of the country had empowered States to ensure the existence and functioning of local governments, noting that it was not aware of any Act of the National Assembly that empowered the AGF to write the letter in which he purportedly barked orders at the State Government.

In the rejoinder entitled “RE: ALLEGED UNCONSTITUTIONALITY OF DISSOLUTION OF ELECTED LOCAL GOVERNMENT COUNCILS AND APPOINTMENT OF CARETAKER COMMITTEES: THE URGENT NEED FOR COMPLIANCE WITH EXTANT JUDICIAL DECISIONS,” Professor Oyewo said: “I wish to note that your letter Ref. No, HAGF/OYO/2020/Vol.1/1 of 14th January, 2020 dealing with the above subject matter was never served on us, but we read about it and had to secure a copy from the social media.

“I must note that under Section 7(1) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (as amended) which you referred to in your letter, it is the Law of the State Government that is to ensure the existence of the system of Local Government by democratically elected Local Government Council by providing for the establishment, structure, composition, finance and functions of such councils and not a Federal Law/Act.

“It is therefore not clear under what Act of the National Assembly the office of the Attorney-General of the Federation & Minister of Justice was acting in writing the letter under reference.

“It should be borne in mind that our Constitution has established a Federal system of government whereby the state government is not under the command of the Federal Government, neither are we under Military Era when the Federal Government could give a binding order to the State Government by mere proclamation and at will. We are now in a civilian dispensation and the position of every officer whether at the Federal or State level is guided by the provisions of the Constitution and relevant law.”

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The Oyo AG referred the AGF to two cases including Attorney-General Lagos Vs Attorney-General Federation (2004) 18 N.W.LR (PT.S 904)II and Attorney General Abia Vs Attorney-General Federation(2002) 6 N.W.L.R (PT. 763)264.

The letter continued: “We are of the firm belief that your letter under reference was written without adequate information and knowledge of the current position with respect to the subject matter of Local Government Dissolution in Oyo State. A careful diligent search would have shown that the issue of Dissolution of Local Government in Oyo is presently a subject matter of stay/appeal and pending at the Court of Appeal in the following cases; a.) Governor of Oyo State vs Basorun Bosun Ajuwon Appeal NO CA/IB/300/2019 and b.) Basorun Majeed Bosun Ajuwon vs Governor of Oyo State CA/IB/362/2019.”

The Government of Oyo State, however, took exception to perceived threats by Malami, especially his directive to some federal agencies to “ensure compliance,” noting that until the constitutional right of appeal, which is guaranteed in the country’s adjudicatory system, is exhausted, Malami had no right to dabble in the matter of the local government dissolution or threaten the State.

“We, therefore, want to advise the Attorney-General of the Federation to rise above partisan politics and advise parties to await judgment of the court in the various appeals. To do otherwise is to foist a fait accompli on the court.

As a law-abiding Government, we are prepared to abide by the decision of the court when eventually delivered. We are, however, unperturbed by the subtle threat in your letter and your directives to take steps to ensure compliance of a cited judgment in which Oyo State was never a party and on a live matter in which an appeal is pending.

“For the avoidance of doubt, please note further that in Oyo State, the issue of Local Government administration is presently before the court of competent jurisdiction and by our adjudicatory system, whoever is aggrieved by the decision of a court has the constitutional right of appeal. Until such right is exhausted, the Attorney-General of the Federation & Minister of Justice cannot dabble into such matter. We are aware of the provisions of Section 174 (1) to (3) of the CFRN, 1999 (as amended) but they only relate to criminal proceedings and not civil matters as in this case. The action of the Attorney-General of the Federation & Minister of Justice is therefore uncalled for with respect to a matter that is sub judice. It is only a court of law that can given such an order and not the office of the Attorney-General & Minister of Justice. All the cases referred to in your letter mentioned above are not on all fours with the present cases involving Oyo State because the facts are not the same. A case is an authority for what it decides.

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“It will therefore be in interest of justice to allow the rule of law to prevail by letting the pending cases involving Oyo State on the dissolution of Local Governments in Oyo State to run their full course in the law courts.”

 

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Nigeria: Weekend Attack an effort to Intimidate Humanitarian Actors – UN

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On 18 January, non-state armed groups stormed a humanitarian facility in Ngala town, some 124 kilometers from Maiduguri, the capital of Borno state. Although all United Nations humanitarians in the facility – including three IOM staff – were reported safe, an entire section of the facility was burned down as well as one of the few vehicles used by humanitarians to deliver aid.

“The intended effect of this is to intimidate the humanitarian actors working in north-east Nigeria. We have seen this as humanitarian workers are increasingly targeted,” said IOM Nigeria Chief of Mission Franz Celestin.

The targeted facility is one of nine humanitarian hubs in Borno managed by IOM. Humanitarian hubs provide operating environments for aid workers in deep field locations, including accommodation, office and connectivity services. These spaces are critical for a sustained and effective humanitarian response in Nigeria.

“These (humanitarian) hubs are the ultimate enablers to allow the humanitarian workers to improve the quality of the response by allowing them enough time on the ground to do what they’re supposed to do. Prior to the hubs, humanitarian workers could only go on day trips, so they’d go one day at a time to deliver services,” Celestin said.

The attack comes just 11 days after members of a non-state armed group (NSAG) infiltrated Monguno town. Two children, an adult male and one adult female were killed in the attack on a camp for internally displaced people. In addition, several injured people are currently receiving medical attention at a nearby clinic run by ALIMA, an international non-governmental organization.

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That deadly attack left 2,728 people homeless. According to an IOM Displacement Tracking Matrix (DTM) report, more than 300 shelters and properties belonging to the affected individuals were destroyed.

The ongoing conflict in north-east Nigeria continues to claim the lives of innocent people, and increasingly, of humanitarian workers. In 2019, twelve aid workers lost their lives, twice the number of deaths in the previous year.

DTM provides detailed and up-to-date information on characteristics and needs of crisis-affected populations registration and profiling of displaced populations in camp and camp-like settings, flow monitoring exercises and reports, as well as the provision of detailed infrastructural information on areas of return through village assessment surveys.

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