- Experts Seek End to EU Ban on Nigerian Produce
Founding President, Mycotoxicology Society of Nigeria, Prof. Dele Fapohunda, has urged the Federal Government to address the ban placed on some Nigerian produce by the European Union (EU).
The EU in June, 2015 suspended Nigerian food items like beans, sesame seeds, melon seeds, Dry fish, meat, and peanut chips, among others, from entering Europe till June 2016. However, the ban has been further extended to June 2019 following the country’s inability to meet the prescribed food safety standards by the EU.
According to the European Food Safety Authority, the rejected beans were found to contain between 0.03mg per kg to 4.6mg/kg of dichlorvos pesticide. The acceptable maximum residue limit is 0.01mg/kg.The excess chemical in the produce are said to be harmful to health.
Fapohunda, who is the dean, School of Basic and Applied Sciences, Babcock University, Ilishan, Ogun State, said it was imperative for the government to resolve the issue before the deadline given by the EU to correct the anomaly.
His words: “2019 is the one of great expectations for Nigeria and the European countries. The second leg of the back to back ban on the export of dried beans from Nigeria will be due for a review. It will be recalled that a one year ban was slammed on Nigeria for repeatedly sending beans that were laden with a pesticide called dichlorvos at levels alarmingly higher than the EU and global limits. Not comfortable with any sign of progress aimed at addressing the contaminant issue, Nigeria received a second and heavier penalty of three years that will now terminate in 2019.”
He urged the government to take significant steps to tackle issues involved as serious gaps remain and require urgent action.
According to him, there must be a comprehensive system to ensure regulatory compliance to protect consumers from food safety hazards.
These include surveillance, education, monitoring and regulating use of pesticides in agro exports preparation.
He observed: “The zero reject initiative is laudable effort but one hopes that all factors that could contribute to the presence of contaminants in agricultural produce will have been taken care of. The storage time and delay at point of exit, vis-a-vis the extant viability of such crops are a few non-regulated factors that may account for possible failure in achieving delivery of wholesome crop.
The present interventions will be test- run over time before ascertaining that Nigeria has complied and now ready to be trusted with her exports.
It will be a disaster if, after all the resources in time , funds and effort over the last three years, Nigeria still finds herself unqualified for clean bill of health. It is hoped that at the point of review of the penalty next year, Nigeria will be eligible once more to embrace international agricultural trade, particularly dried beans.”
He called on the government to make sustained commitment across all sectors to strengthen services essential to help all stakeholders contribute to controlling the threat posed by herbicides and pesticides.
Since then many interventions involving the Federal Ministry of agriculture, Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the EU, UNIDO and other partners have come on board to see to the enhancement of the quality of exported crops, all in an attempt to attain a fair intercontinental trade.
BUA, Kainos Exploration to Drag Each Other to Court Over $20 Million Scandal
BUA Group on Monday threatened to drag Mr James Onyejekwe, the Managing Director of Kainos Exploration to court over a publication that claimed the Group was involved in a $20 million scandal.
BUA stated in a statement issued on Monday.
It stated that the publication engineered by Mr Onyejekwe was a “clear intent to impugn the integrity and reputation of BUA Group and its Chairman, Mr Abdul Samad Rabiu.”
“BUA takes its reputation seriously and we will continue to do everything to protect it from anyone and any entity who obstructs our mandate to conduct business in a proper, legal and socially-responsible manner.
“BUA will, therefore, utilise its legal and human resources to resist every campaign of defamation and distraction,” the statement further said.
The leading cement manufacturing company said its independent investigation showed Mr. Onyejekwe was behind the false story that went viral online.
“We have, therefore, instructed our legal team to immediately commence criminal defamation proceedings against the person of Mr James Onyejekwe who is the said originator of the malicious letter fraudulently attributed to Cavendish Petroleum against our person, with damages,” the statement seen by Investors King noted.
BUA explained that “We deem these actions necessary, in order to protect the name and reputation of BUA Group.”
“We see no reason why Mr James Onyejekwe of Kainos Exploration and Processing would single out BUA in a supposed business dispute which had no link to the BUA Group in its entirety.
“Therefore, BUA finds it absurd that Mr Onyejekwe or anyone else will decide to drag BUA into their issues and/or put out such a malicious and defamatory statement, fraudulently using the name of Cavendish/Mr Mai Deribe without recourse to the truth, facts, decorum or decency,” it added.
BUA Group described the story bordering on allegations of corruption as “false, malicious and spurious.”
Dangote Cement Emerges Best Performing Firm In Africa
The Kogi State Chamber of Commerce, Industry, Mines and Agriculture (KOCCIMA) has named the Dangote Cement Plc, Obajana Plant, as the best performing company in Africa.
The award was presented to the company in Lokoja at the weekend by the Deputy Governor of Kogi State, Chief Edward Onoja, who represented the State Governor, Alhaji Yahyah Adoza Bello, at the Annual General Meeting(AGM) of KOCCIMA.
Speaking at the occasion, the President of KOCCIMA, Mr. Victor Ibrahim, said the Dangote Cement emerged through a thorough screening process that involved 20 companies.
He said: “Our screening committee considered many criteria before Dangote Cement Plc was selected”.
According to him, the Chamber put into consideration Dangote Cement’s contributions to the state’s economy through Internally Generated Revenue(IGR), as well as its good relationship with KOCCIMA.
Mr. Ibrahim said another criterion that placed the Dangote Cement in good stead is that the company has been environmentally friendly.
“We’ve visited DCP Obajana Plant and we found it complying with global best practices when it comes to the environment. Your parking lot does not constitute any environmental danger. We also considered returns to investors, the welfare of staff, the 43km Obajana-Kabba concrete road, your good relationship with the host community and your positive image”.
He announced that the Chamber of Commerce was planning to host its Trade Fair by year-end and looking forward to collaborating with the Dangote Cement Plc.
The Deputy Governor Mr. Edward Onoja expressed the appreciation of the Kogi State Government, saying the contributions of KOCCIMA and the private sector were crucial to the development of the state.
Speaking to newsmen on the sideline of the event, representative of the Dangote Cement Plc Mr. Ademola Adeyemi said the company was elated and that the award will further spur it to continue its support to the state’s economy, KOCCIMA and Corporate Social Responsibility schemes.
MTN Appoints Chika Ekeji as Executive Lead for Strategy and Transformation
MTN Appoints Chika Ekeji, A Nigerian-American as Executive Lead for Strategy and Transformation
MTN Group has announced the appointment of Chika Ekeji, a Nigerian-American national as an executive to lead the strategy and transformation unit of the mobile network operator.
Chika has a Master of Engineering in Computer Science from Cornell University and an MBA from MIT.
He will be leaving from McKinsey & Company, where he led the West Africa Digital Practice and served telco, financial services, and public sector clients across Africa.
His appointment with Africa’s leading mobile operator will be effective on, 15th of March. In his new role, he will be based in SA.
“We are very pleased that Chika is joining us as we work to accelerate our strategic repositioning,” says MTN Group chief operating officer Jens Schulte-Bockum.
To support the execution of the repositioned strategy, Ekeji joins a group of other recent appointees, including the new group chief financial officer, Tsholofelo Molefe.
In recent weeks, MTN also made changes to the group’s regional structure and the executive committee.
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