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US Secretary of State Blinken To Meet President Buhari On Tuesday

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United States Secretary of State, Antony Blinken, will meet with Nigerian President, Muhammadu Buhari, on Tuesday, during his first virtual trip to Africa since US President Joe Biden came into office.

Strengthening democratic governance, building lasting security, and promoting economic ties and diversification, will top agenda at the meeting, according to Blinken’s spokesman, Ned Price.

From Boko Haram insurgency to banditry, kidnapping, militancy, farmers-herders clashes, the security situation in Nigeria has worsened, especially in the last few months.

Price in a statement on Monday said his principal will meet with Buhari and his Foreign Affairs Minister, Geoffrey Onyeama, over some of the challenges confronting the West African nation.

The statement partly read, “Secretary Blinken will begin his virtual travel to Africa meeting with Young African Leadership Initiative (YALI) alumni. In a “Ten Questions with Tony” event, YALI alumni will have an opportunity to engage with the Secretary on a range of topics, including the role of youth in the future of Africa, economic development, democracy and good governance, climate change, and health.

“Through YALI, the United States works with public, private sector, and civil society partners across the continent to develop initiatives and economic opportunities to support the creativity, innovativeness, and energy of Africa’s youth.

“Secretary Blinken will then travel virtually to Nigeria, where he will underscore our shared goals of strengthening democratic governance, building lasting security, and promoting economic ties and diversification.

“People-to-people connections, underpinned by the dynamic Nigerian diaspora in the United States, amplify and strengthen our relationship. During his visit, Secretary Blinken will meet with President Buhari and Foreign Minister (Geoffrey Onyeama) to reiterate the value of our bilateral relationship and discuss issues of shared importance.

“Secretary Blinken will also participate in a health partnership event to underscore our collaboration to combat the pandemic as well as long-term US investments in combatting infectious diseases. He will meet with a beneficiary of a PEPFAR program and a Nigerian health care worker.”

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NLC Alleged That El-Rufai Reverted Minimum Wage to N18,000 

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El-Rufai

The Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) yesterday alleged that the Kaduna State government plans to infiltrate its protest with thugs.

It said it was misled in praising the Nasir El-Rufai administration for being the first to pay the new N30,000 minimum wage.

NLC, in a statement by its Kaduna State Council Chairman, Ayuba Suleiman, said the state had since reverted to the old wage of N18, 000 for council workers. It said 20,000 civil servants have been receiving half salary of less than N18, 000.

The workers union said the state owed its members several allowances. It condemned threats to arrest NLC President Ayuba Wabba.

“We are calling the attention of the general public to the planned mobilisation of thugs by the state government to discredit our peaceful protest. We urge the people of Kaduna State to be vigilant and stand against this plan.

“We implore the general public to remain calm and peaceful throughout the five-day warning strike.

“We are assuring the Kaduna State workers and the general public of our commitment to maintaining peaceful strike action in their interest,” Suleiman said.

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FACAN Seeks Partnership With Lagos on Ranching

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Ranching - Investorsking

The Federation of Agricultural Commodities Association of Nigeria (FACAN) is seeking partnership with the Lagos State government on the operation of ranches as part of a road map with investment plans that seek to improve animal productivity and production, as well as increase the value addition of key livestock value chains.

Its President, Dr Victor Iyama told the media that the association is examining various aspects of agricultural development such as investment, demand, consumption, gender and social inclusion and is ready to partner with Lagos in driving out livestock-sector investment interventions, to help the state meet its targets by improving productivity and total production in the key livestock value chains of sheep and cow

According to him, the absence of a roadmap to develop the livestock sector had hindered the successful implementation of previous investment plans for the sector.

He said the creation of the master plan would guide livestock-sector investment interventions in improving feed and water resources, health services, industry and factory and promote private sector investment and business environment.

Urging the Lagos government to pursue the establishment of ranches for hire, Iyama reiterated that investors were convinced the efforts would foster public-private partnerships for livestock development.

According to him, private operators will be ready to rent ranches for meat cattle, indicating that the state remains one of the safest places for increasing industries for meat production and milk processing.

Recently, the Lagos State Butchers Association has requested the provision of about 50 hectares of land from the Lagos State Government for ranching and rearing herds of cattle in the state.

Meantime, the Lagos State Commissioner for Agriculture, Ms Absiola Olusanya, said well over 1.8 million herds of cattle and over 1.4 million herds of sheep and goats, were being consumed in Lagos yearly.

Olusanya called on the private sector to partner with it to establish feedlots in the state for cattle rearing and fattening in furtherance of its reforms and sanitization of the red meat value chain, stressing that partnership becomes necessary as it would ensure better production and supply of cattle for consumption in the state.

According to her, the feedlots when operational would help revive and resuscitate cows that might have travelled from far cities such as Sokoto, Jalingo, Bauchi and Jigawa among others where they may have come to Lagos before slaughtering them.

Olusanya added that the feedlot system would also help in fattening the cows before taking them to the slaughter slabs which would improve the quality of beef as well as help butchers and meat sellers to make more profit. “We have been having discussions around the transformation agenda centred on abattoirs, transportation and markets but there is a revised plan to have a more holistic approach to the red meat value chain.

“We are not just focusing on abattoirs alone which are a processing angle, we are starting right from the animal identification and traceability systems, meaning right from the source or point of origination of the cattle.

“That is why we want to establish feedlots in the state so that we can have cattle fattening centres. Having feedlot centres means that the cattle can rest, they can be fattening.”

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INEC Official Prepares Ahead of Continuous Voter Registration

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INEC-PVC

Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) says it’s working within its timelines for the nationwide resumption of continuous voter registration (CVR) on June 28.

Mr. Festus Okoye, INEC National Commissioner and Chairman, Information and Voter Education Committee, stated this in an interview with the Newsmen in Abuja on Sunday.

Okoye said that the commission was on course, especially with the development of an online portal to be deployed for the exercise.

“The online registration portal is almost ready and will be rolled out for the continuous voter registration slated to commence on June 28.

“The online portal has been demonstrated and adjustments made. It will have an online locator of registration areas and polling units. The commission is progressing and working within the framework of its timelines,” Okoye said.

Reports state that INEC had fixed June 28 for the resumption of its suspended CVR, with new technology. The commissioner also outlined some critical activities within the timelines, leading to the restarting of the exercise.

INEC Chairman, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, had earlier announced that the exercise would continue until the third quarter of 2022.

Yakubu also announced that the commission would replace its Direct Data Capture (DDC) machine, introduced in 2011, for voter registration, with a new technology called INEC Voter Enrolment Device (IVED).

These, according to him, include expansion of voter access to polling units by May 11, building and testing the online registration portal by May 15 and arrival of the new IVED by May 31.

He listed other activities like recruitment and training of voter enrolment staff, June 14, and restart of CVR, June 28.

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