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Extension Services Providers Gradually Resume Training of Farmers while Adhering to COVID-19 Safety Measures

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Extension agents working under the Justice Development and Peace Movement (JDPM), Oyo and the University of Agriculture Makurdi (UAM) have concluded plans to resume training activities previously halted by the COVID-19 lockdown across the country under a cautious regime. The training activities will adhere strictly to the rules on physical distancing set by the country on COVID 19, coordinators from JPDM and UAM have said.

The two organizations are partnering with the African Cassava Agronomy Initiative (ACAI) of the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA) for the dissemination of the AKILIMO decision support tools to farmers in Oyo State and Benue State. AKILIMO is an all-in-one agronomic advisory tool developed by ACAI that supports cassava growers with knowledge and recommendations to intensify their cassava-based cropping systems.

Both JDPM and UAM commenced full dissemination activities in 2019 and have so far covered dozens of rural communities and local government areas in the two states; gathering farmers at their homes, village squares, under trees, community schools, and churches. Using battery-powered mobile projectors, videos, and other paper-based tools developed by ACAI, the organizations (through their extension networks) are teaching farmers best weed control methods, safe use of herbicides, and best planting practices in cassava-maize farming systems.

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The training activities were however halted over a month ago following the outbreak of COVID-19 and lockdown measures put in place by the state and federal governments to curtail the pandemic in Nigeria.

But at separate meetings held recently at the JDPM office in Oyo and another in Benue, the extension agents resolved to resume training under COVID 19 regulations set by the government to ensure that cassava farmers were armed with best-bet weed control and planting techniques as the farming season begins.

Godwin Atser, IITA, and ACAI Digital Extension and Advisory Services Specialist, who was present at the meeting in Oyo, commended the extension agents for the work they did before the lockdown.  He stated that “recommencing the training at this time is a humanitarian gesture to farmers to enable them to avert hunger and cushion the effects of the looming economic recession.”

The trainings will be conducted based on government COVID-19 safety rules and regulations which allow a limited number of persons to gather while maintaining a physical distance.

Other safety measures harped upon at the meeting included the proper washing of hands and compulsory use face masks by trainers and trainees at every training event. Farmer Field days which are to come up soon will also be conducted under COVID 19 rules.

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Godwin, who expressed his appreciation to the extension agents for their hard work and cooperation towards the success of the ACAI project, stressed the need to follow up on farmers who have been trained and have adopted the intervention in order to serve as points of reference to others.

The meeting, which used its sitting arrangement to illustrate how the extension agents could ensure social distancing at their training venues, also made plans for advocacy visits to community and local government leaders to ensure the sustainability of the project.

At the end of the parley, safety kits (nose masks, hand wash, buckets with water taps) were distributed to all the extension agents present.

Also present at the meeting were the JDPM coordinator, Rev. Fr. Gabriel Adeleke and the dissemination project leader for JDPM, Mr. John

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Ladoja to Seyi Makinde: Crosscheck your facts before deriding me, others

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Former governor of Oyo state, Chief Rashidi Ladoja has advised the Seyi Makinde – led government in the state to always cross check facts before deriding his predecessors in office.

The Ibadan high chief who midwifed the coalition that birthed the current government in the state in a statement issued his media aide, Alhaji Lanre Latinwo and made available to newsmen in Ibadan frowned at the recent statement credited to the state government that no administration after 1995 bought a water drilling rig for the State Rural Water Supply and Sanitation Agency (RUWASSA) except the present administration.

Chief Ladoja was the state gaffer between 2003-2007.

The former governor’s aide revealed that during Senator Ladoja’s administration, two rigs were donated by Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), a Japanese donor Agency.

“The rigs were launched at Igangan in Ibarapa North Local Government by the then Vice President, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar.

“The whole idea was to use same to eradicate guinea worm that was an epidemic in Ibarapa and some parts of Oke Ogun and Ogbomosho zones of the State then.

“RUWASSA formerly Water and Sanitation Agency (WATSAN) was an agency under the Governor’s office with a Project Director under the supervision of the then Secretary to the State Government (SSG), who was later Chief of Staff to Senator Ladoja, worked assiduously to make the government and people of the State proud with timeous eradication of the epidemic.

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“The epidemic was eradicated in a little over a year with awards and recognition from/by Federal Government of Nigeria,  Jimmy Carter Foundation and several other international agencies,” Latinwo said.

Latinwo continued, “It need be noted that the rig donated by JICA could drill up to 300 metres and was about the best in the West Africa sub-region at that time.

“When that is compared to the one for which approval was given, the latter can conveniently be referred to as a “toy rig”.

“If the administration could use it’s goodwill to get such a gift of two (2) complete drilling machines, why can’t your administration do same than to deride previous governments,” he asked rhetorically.

“If the rigs were not put to good use, why the awards and recognitions?

“It is those rigs that are still being used by Oyo State till recently when, as claimed by Hon. Najeem Omirinde, current chairman of the agency now Rural Water Supply and Sanitation Agency (RUWASSA), approval was obtained to buy another one.

“And now that the new ones were being proposed by the government, why must you castigate others for not buying rigs especially when you can use expertise, experience and connections to get rigs.

“Why buying another one, when money meant for that could be put to some other use.

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“Whatsmore, when a need arose then, Air Compressor was bought by prudent (as known by people of the state) Ladoja administration”.

The PDP leader, however advised that the Governor should always make wide consultations and avoid pitfalls that could make opposition elements to continually “accuse him of running an audio government laced with innundoes on the pages of newspapers.”

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COVID-19 ENDOWMENT FUND: Oyo govt. writes donors, expresses gratitude 

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The Oyo State Government has written personal letters to individuals and corporate organisations that contributed to the state’s fight against the novel Coronavirus, Covid-19.

The government, in letters signed by the governor, Engineer Seyi Makinde, the Secretary to the State Government, Mrs. Olubamiwo Adeosun, and the state’s Commissioner for Finance, Mr. Akinola Ojo, and addressed to individual donors, corporate bodies and non-governmental organizations, expressed gratitude to everyone who gave monetary and material support to the state.

It added that it was heartwarming that the government and people of Oyo State could count on them.

A statement signed by the Chief Press Secretary to the governor, Mr. Taiwo Adisa, indicated that the letters were addressed to donors who contributed financially as well as those who contributed food items, medical and other relief materials.

“The novel COVID-19 pandemic has tremendously impacted the world’s economy and, by extension, Oyo State.

“In order to cushion the effect of this virus, provide necessary health infrastructure, support businesses and provide palliatives to the indigent among us, the Government set up a dedicated Oyo State COVID-19 Endowment Fund to receive cash donations from public spirited individuals and organisations.

“To this end, I write to thank you and recognise your contribution. It is heartwarming that the Government and people of Oyo State can always count on you especially in times of need”.

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The statement named some of the donors who already had letters addressed to them as including the Coalition Against COVID-19 (CACOVID), with a financial donation of N30 million; the United Bank for Africa (UBA) with a donation of N28.5 million and the duo of the late Chief Bode Akindele and Chief Bode Amoo, who both donated N25 million each.

Other recipients of the letters included De Damak Nigeria Limited/Alhaji Chief Dawud Akinola, who donated N20 million; Adron Homes- N20 million; First Bank- N20 million; and Nigerian Breweries, which also donated N20 million.

Those in the N10 million category who have received the letters include Unity Bank, ICMA Professional Services/Dr. Awa Ibrahim, Lateef O. Fagbemi & Co, Engr. Oseni Abass Aderemi, His Excellency, Senator Rashidi Ladoja, CCECC, Ledco Limited, FCMB and Otunba Olumide Osusina of Megamond Investment.

Donors in the N5 million category who were also appreciated by the government include: Christ Apostolic Church, Alhaji Yekini Adeojo, Chief Dotun Sanusi, Heritage Bank Ltd, AOS Orwell Limited, Chief Bode George, DAR AL-Handasah, Chief Kola Daisi and Sterling Bank.

ITC Advisory Services and Ratcon Construction were appreciated for their donations of N2.5 million each.

The statement added that the state government intends to address letters to all categories of donors as a mark of its appreciation of their immense contributions.

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It added that the state has so far raised cash donations amounting to N394 million, agricultural inputs\food items worth to N186 million and Health/Medical materials worth N356 million, while CACOVID has donated items worth N150million so far.

 

 

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Sacked NDDC MD, Joi Nunieh Goes Berserk After Being Caught In The Web Of Certificate Forgery

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Ms Joi Nunieh is said to have become very frustrated and in a typical “I-will-not-go-down-alone” syndrome has been making wild and unsubstantiated allegations against those she perceived may have been responsible for her downfall, since she was sacked as the Acting Managing Director of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC).

It will be recalled that on January 30, 2020, a civil society organization, “Anti-Corruption and Accountability Coalition Against Corruption fired a petition to President Muhammadu Buhari accusing the then Acting Managing Director of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) Ms Joi Nunieh of certificate forgery.

The organization’s petition read, “Your Excellency Sir, it is now a clear fact that Joi Nunieh did not participate in the mandatory one year national youth service, as we have gathered from reliable sources that she has been parading forged credentials including her NYSC discharged certificate hence she failed to produce same, rather running to bribe her way through to shield her from security operatives.

“Your Excellency Sir, we know that you are a man of integrity and by virtue of direct, we wish to state in clear terms that Joi Nunieh is not worthy of your appointment of any kind as she lacks the moral and legal locus to do so. In view of the above, we urge you to withdraw the aforesaid appointment of Joi Nunieh and relieve her of her duty due to forgery as Managing Director of NDDC for the interest of the Niger Delta people and society at large”.

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It was reliably gathered that it was based on this that President Buhari ordered an investigation by Security Agencies into the allegation of certificate forgery by Ms Nunieh. And what they found out was startling.


 

Also, it was revealed that to cover up her track, Ms Nunieh had gone to Nigerian Law School Police Station to obtain a Police extract about loss of her documents to enable her to go to any court of law and swear to an affidavit. According to the affidavit which she had sworn to, “Upon the death of my sister Bar. Mrs. Ledee Ndorbu- Ebenezer who died on the 19th April, 2002 at her residence at doctor’s Qtrs Braithwaite Memorial Hospital, Port Harcourt, Rivers State.

“Her husband Dr Zacheus Ndorbu Ebenezer refused to grant me access to her safe and refused to hand over all my Educational documents including my call to bar certificate, NYSC call up letter and certificates, University Certificates and other valid documents which were in custody of my late sister Bar. Mrs. Ledee Ndorbu-Ebenezer and effort made to recover documents listed above proved abortive till this day.”

A letter from the Council of Legal Education claimed that Ms Nunieh was mobilized for the National Youth service Corps programme for 1989/1990 service year. However, a letter by the National Youth Service Corps signed by Okonofua, K. N (Mrs) Director of Corps Certification for the Director General stated, “However, no record exists either in NYSC Kwara State or NYSC National Directorate Headquarters to evidence her participation in the Scheme.” In essence Ms Nunieh had all along been parading forged and fake NYSC call up letter and discharge certificate as she claimed in her affidavit.

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It was also revealed that upon her appointment as the Acting Managing Director of the NDDC whenever the issue of her certificates came up she became evasive and attempted to bribe security agents who carried out the investigations. However, when the report got to President Buhari that she was parading forged certificates, she was immediately relieved of her appointment.
Ever since she was sacked, as gathered, Ms Nunieh has become very frustrated and in a typical “I-will-not-go-down-alone” syndrome has been making wild and unsubstantiated allegations those she perceived may have been responsible for her downfall.

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