Former Nigerian President, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo, has called on the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) to invest in agriculture and particularly cassava, soybean, cowpea and plantain to help Africa cut down annual food imports that is estimated at $50billion.
Obasanjo spoke on Tuesday, October 8, 2019, during the official inauguration of the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA) Kalambo research station in Bukavu, Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) by the country’s President, Felix Tshisekedi. The research station is named “The President Olusegun Obasanjo Research Station”, in honor of the ex-President who is also the IITA Goodwill Ambassador.
Giving a shoplist of crops the gover“The first crop to take is cassava… The second crop is soybean because it is very important for human nutrition and livestock. The next is cowpea and lastly plantain. If we invest in these crops, we will be able to reduce the $50bn that Africa is spending annually on importing food,” Chief Obasanjo said.
The former president underlined the importance of research to agricultural transformation, citing the Nigerian example where his administration was able to raise cassava production by 20 million tons during his eight year-tenure.
He commended Dr Nteranya Sanginga, IITA Director General for his leadership, and the institute (IITA) for its excellent research in addressing the problems facing Africa.
The IITA ambassador congratulated President Tshisekedi for providing the enabling environment and support to IITA to establish the centre, stating that he felt deeply honored to be part of it.
At the inauguration were Dr Akinwumi A. Adesina, President of the African Development Bank (AfDB); Oyo State Governor, Engr. Seyi Makinde; and the former Prime Minister of Ethiopia, Hailemariam Desalegn, among others.
Dr Sanginga said the research station was in dedication to IITA and its partners’ mission of fighting hunger and poverty in Africa and would contribute towards boosting agricultural productivity in DR Congo and the region.
“The station is a symbol of our dedication and commitment to building the research and development capacity in DR Congo and the Great Lakes,” he said.
He reiterated the importance of research to agricultural transformation and cited the progress made by Nigeria in cassava to the role of research innovations developed by IITA and its partners.
The IITA Director for the Central African Region, Dr Bernard Vanlauwe added that the lab building was built in record time using modern methods and materials.
“Indeed, the first stone was placed in October 2017 and the building completed in 18 months. This speed and efficiency symbolize the nature of the activities taking place in the lab, namely the rapid and large-scale production of healthy planting materials of crops of key importance to the DRC as well as the production of bio-fertilizers to ensure the growth and quality of these crops,” he explained.
For many years, the station in Kalambo operated in project mode but in 2011, the IITA Board of Trustees decided to elevate it to become the focal point of the Institute’s regional hub for natural resource management in the Great Lakes. It now also features a first-class tissue culture lab for the vegetative multiplication of cassava, banana, coffee, yam, and potato.
COVID-19: Relief, as Oyo APC chieftain, Open Salawu donates N3m to Ogbomoso residents
Assistance came the way of Ogbomoso residents in Oyo state as an APC chieftain, Engr. Mufutau Open Salawu donated the sum of N3,000,000 to cushion the effect of coronavirus disease popularly known as COVID-19.
The APC House of Representatives aspirant in the 2019 election for Ogbomoso North/ Ogbomoso South/Oriire Federal Constituency disclosed this in a statement yesterday.
“All over the world, governments are urging people to stay at home and many more borders might be closed and interstate movements may be restricted. The implications of these measures are enormous but it’s the only way to stop the spread of this virus so in view of that I am giving N3,000,000 to my community to buy foods and share to the vulnerable.
“I hope more people will follow suit and assist the needy in this very difficult time knowing fully well most Nigerians live on their daily earnings”, the former Special Adviser to former Governor Abiola Ajimobi concluded.
COVID-19: Security agencies enforce compliance in Oyo
A joint team of Security agencies have embarked on enforcement of compliance with directives on precautionary measures outlined by Oyo State Government to combat Coronavirus (COVID-19) disease in the State.
The inter-agency team comprises of Oyo State Road Transport Management Authority, Nigeria Police Force, Federal Road Safety Corps and others.
This, the Executive Chairman, OYRTMA, Dr. Akin Fagbemi said would promote interagency collaborations in the State and curtail spread of the deadly Corona-virus Disease.
He added that, this is in line with the directives of Governor Seyi Makinde who had earlier outlined measures aimed at dealing with Coronavirus in the State.
The team ensured strict monitoring of compliance at public parks, garages and private transportation companies across Oyo State, to prevention guidelines issued by Governor Makinde to curtail the rapid spread of the disease.
It would be recalled that part of the preventive measures rolled out by the state government are social distancing, suspension of religious activities, disbandment of gathering with more than 30 people among others.
The State has also directed garages and commercial operators to adhere strictly to guidelines reeled out for them during these trying times, while it warned that anyone caught flouting the recommendations and guidelines would be arrested and made to face the full wrath of the law.
The team commended residents and operators for their understanding and cooperation towards eradicating the novel Corona Virus Disease.
Meanwhile, Oyo State Government has reiterated that it is working to contain the spread coronavirus in the State, adding that the Governor Seyi Makinde led administration has constituted a competent Task Force to tackle any suspected case of COVID-19 in the State.
Commissioner for Information, Culture and Tourism, Dr. Wasiu Olatunbosun, also added that the administration will collaborate with relevant stakeholders in both the organized private and public health sectors.
Olatubosun stressed that the Government has finalized an arrangement to embark on aggressive public sensitisation across the popular markets, major bus terminals, public spaces and others to enlighten the people on the reality and severity of the global infectious disease.
He said the proactive government of Engineer Seyi Makinde, on hearing increasing cases of the pandemic in the neighboring states, set machinery in motion to prevent the infectious disease from gaining entrance into the state.
The Commissioner said part of the measures taken is the establishment of four isolation centres at University College Hospital, UCH, Jericho Chest Hospital, Olodo State Pediatric all in Ibadan and Ladoke Akintola University Teaching Hospital, Ogbomosho, with acquisition of ambulances to carry individuals tested positive of Coronavirus for adequate treatments.
The commissioner therefore implored the residents of the state to report any case of the disease to the surveillance team set up by the state government.
SWEGOP to Governments: ‘Stop Using Fire Brigade Method to Run Health Sector
South West Group of Online Publisher (SWEGOP) on Friday frowned at the fire brigade approach adopted by federal and state governments to fight the pandemic coronavirus.
SWEGOP also called on governments at all level to review their position on provision of primary and secondary healthcare facilities in their domain
In a release signed by the group’s chairman , Mr Olayinka Agboola and Public Relations Officer, Remi Oladoye, SWEGOP noted that the pandemic coronavirus has further exposed the weakness of the government despite the huge budgetary allocations released to run the health sector, year in, year out.
“It is obvious that our governments have not been effective and have been paying lip service to the development of health sector in Nigeria, most states don’t have facilities to tackle any outbreak of viral diseases let alone well-equipped isolation centres where such cases can be treated.”
The group also called on governments at all levels in Nigeria to be more proactive and put in place facilities that can enhance the operations of medical personnel in the country.
The association also commended the medical personnel and relevant agencies for their effort in combating the dreaded Coronal Virus.
Said the group “with the record of just one death and scores of recovery cases recorded, it is evident that our medical personnel are up to the task”.
The group of media professionals, however urged the general public and stakeholders to collaborate with the government in preventing further spread of corona virus and others in the country.
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