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FG begins yam production, storage centres in Oyo, others

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The Federal Government says it is establishing production and storage centres for yam in many states such as Oyo, Ekiti, Nasarawa, Niger, Benue and Kogi.

Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Alhaji Sabo Nanono, stated this at a yam stakeholders’ meeting in Abuja.

The minister, represented by a director in the ministry, Mrs Karim Babangida, said the ministry was already enlisting the active participation of state governments, youths, women and other key stakeholders to boost capacity and production in the sector.

He said, “The ministry on its part has included yam as a priority crop in 2020 fiscal year out of over 28 crops being promoted in the ministry.

“This year, the ministry has established an aeroponics system in Oyo State for the production of clean seed yam; established cold storage facilities in Oyo, Ekiti and Benue states; construction of modern yam storage facility in Nasarawa State has been completed.

“10,000 node vine cuttings and 80,000 clean foundation seed yams were distributed to elite farmers in Imo State while 75,000 yam seeds were distributed to farmers in Ibadan.

“In addition, the ministry has introduced dry season yam farming using Benue and Nasarawa states as pilot states while plans are under way to distribute seed yams to farmers in Kogi, Niger and Taraba for dry season farming.

“The ministry is collaborating with relevant Research Institutes for the production and distribution of disease free foundation seed yam and value addition. These efforts are aimed at developing the yam sector while cushioning the effect of COVID-19 pandemic.”

He said the last restriction of movement negatively affected the food supply chains, incomes and livelihoods in the country.

“Since smallholders are the most vulnerable, it become imperative for the government to bring together stakeholders in the yam sector in order to chart the way forward along the value chains so as to cushion the effect of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“It is hoped that this effort and other complementary interventions by different stakeholders will make the government to increase the resilience of farmers and the national food systems in general,” he added.

“Understandably, therefore, if we must sustainably feed our teeming population of about 200 million people and our neighbouring countries that rely on Nigeria for some of their food requirements; the yam sector must be developed along its value chain,” he noted.

The minister, however, expressed hope that the suggestions emanating from the meeting would guide the government to improve more on the current attention given to yam development in the ministry.

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Aviation

Rains: NiMet warns of severe turbulence, flight cancellations

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The Director-General, Nigeria Meteorological Agency (NiMet), Prof. Mansur Matazu, has said airlines will encounter severe turbulence, flight delays and cancellations during rainfall.
He therefore called on pilots and airline managements to adhere to the weather forecast as the likely severe turbulence could cause discomfort, injury to passengers, instability and even loss of control for small aircraft.
Matazu was quoted in a statement on Friday as saying, “Heavy rains could also lead to skidding of aeroplanes due to surface wetness and impaired horizontal visibility.
“Thunderstorms could also lead to accidents, incidents, flight delays, flight cancellation, death, damage among others.
“Windshear could lead to accidents, incidents, aircraft nosedive, discomfort, aircraft lost control and death.”
The NiMet boss urged airline operators to take weather forecast seriously, stating the turbulence usually would cause poor visibility.
He also called on passengers to be patient with the airlines as flight delays, flight cancellations and flight diversion will be experienced within this period.

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Business

Navy arrests 10 vandals with smuggled 210,000 litres of diesel

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Operatives of the Nigerian Navy Ship (NNS) Beecroft have arrested 10 suspected vandals with 210,000 litre of stolen diesel.
The suspects were alleged to have attempted to smuggle the products concealed in water tanks to neighbouring Benin Republic through a wooden boat when they were intercepted around the Lagos anchorage.
A statement released on Friday by Base Information Officer, Sub-Lieutenant Veronica Effiong, said the suspects with the seized products had been handed over to the Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corps, after preliminary investigations.
She said, “The vandals and seized products were on Tuesday, June 15, handed over to the Lagos Command of the NSCDC for further investigation and prosecution.
“The Commander NNS BEECROFT Commodore Bashir Mohammed reiterated the NNS BEECROFT`s commitment to the protection of critical national infrastructure and the eradication of all illegal activities in its area of responsibility in line with the Chief of the Naval Staff`s mission statement and strategic directive of 2021-5.
“As partners for a safe maritime environment, members of the public especially our host communities are enjoined to kindly furnish the base with credible information to assist in curbing the activities of criminal elements and economic saboteurs.”

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Business

Buhari challenges MTN on quality service, data rate

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President Muhammadu Buhari has asked the MTN Group to offer quality service to its Nigerian subscribers at cheaper rates.
He stated this when he received in audience members of the board of MTN Group, led by its President and Chief Executive Officer, Ralph Mupita, at the State House, Abuja, on Friday.
Buhari said, “I congratulate you on your appointment as the Group President of MTN. I wish you all the best.
“Nigeria is your most lucrative market in Africa, Asia and the Middle East as well as the source of a third of the income of the entire MTN Group. As such, we urge you to offer top-of-the-range and affordable services to Nigerians.
“As we seek to make broadband widely available and affordable, we urge MTN to continue to support our efforts by expanding high-quality connectivity to Nigerians in un-served and under-served areas.”
The President also called on MTN to support the implementation of the National Policy for the Promotion of Indigenous Content in the telecommunications sector.
He said, “I recently unveiled and launched the National Policy for the Promotion of Indigenous Content in the Nigerian telecommunications sector.
“I call on MTN to support the implementation of this policy and, train and engage more Nigerians in your company.”
He assured his visitors that his administration was doing everything possible to make Nigeria investor-friendly by addressing identified challenges.

He said, “We have identified and addressed the key challenges that affected the growth of the digital economy sector. I am happy to note that the right of way charges have now been pegged at a maximum of N145/linear metre.
“I have given directives for the protection of critical national infrastructure and this has addressed the issue of vandalism of such infrastructure.”

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