- Ranches: FG to Use Own Land as States Resist
The Federal Government has decided to use some of its own land in various parts of the country for the establishment of ranches in order to put an end to clashes between herders and farmers across the nation.
It was learnt that the Federal Government’s decision was prompted by the continued delay of state governments in providing land for ranches.
Our correspondent gathered that the Federal Government would use its land as well as some identified grazing reserves for the establishment of ranches.
On July 14, 2018, it was exclusively reported that with the refusal of some state governors to give land for ranching, the Federal Government had decided to reactivate and convert about 177 out of the 415 grazing reserves across the country to ranches.
It was also reported that aside from Kogi State that had officially agreed to provide about 5,000 hectares of land, no other state had publicly announced willingness to provide land for ranches or cattle colonies, which the Federal Government favours.
Governors of the South-East states in July rose from a meeting in Enugu with a decision that no land would be made available for the establishment of cattle ranches in the zone, while other states have deliberately been delaying in acceding to the request of the Federal Government.
Officials of the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, however, stated that the Federal Government was still making plans to establish ranches across the country despite the delay by state governments.
They told our correspondent in Abuja that the government recently realised that it had more than enough land for this purpose.
The Director, FMARD, Tolu Makinde, said, “The latest decision is that the government has more land than required, even as far as ranching is concerned. There are various pieces of land in different locations across the country that have been documented and gazetted, the Federal Government has decided that it is better to use them than ask state governments to donate land.
“So, the decision has been taken and the issue now is funding, but as soon as the release from the 2018 budget starts to come in, the government will come up directly with what it intends to do. So many options are being considered.”
Makinde noted that with the latest development, the government would not compel any state to donate land for the establishment of ranches or grazing reserves.
He, however, observed that a lot of people had encroached on some of the Federal Government’s grazing reserves, adding that the remaining ones and the available land were more than enough for the establishment of cattle ranches.
Makinde added, “The fact now is that the government has discovered that it has more land and it is not compelling any state to donate land for grazing reserves or for ranches.
“It may interest you to know that the number of grazing reserves that the government has; some of them have been encroached upon. However, the remaining available ones are more than enough.”
When asked to state where the Federal Government’s pieces of land were located, he replied, “Before Nigeria got independence, the colonial masters actually had land scattered from Maiduguri to Sokoto, up to Oyo. These were large expanses of land that were mainly left for only grazing.
“And so, when the herders are migrating with their cattle, they go to these pieces of land; they don’t go to the land of other people. But problem started when we now decided to create states, as some of the land fell within some states. And some state governments decided to take them over.
“However, the ones that are documented and gazetted right now are more than enough for the Federal Government to use, instead of asking state governments to donate. So, it is the gazetted land that the government is trying to do something about as well as the identified grazing reserves.”
Another official of the ministry stated that the government would use the gazetted land as demonstration grazing centres.
“The government is going to use the gazetted land as demonstration centres, because it will have security there. There will be dams in these grazing centres to ensure adequate water supply,” the official, who pleaded to remain anonymous, said.
“This is because three things are required in these centres. There must be security, water and fodder, which is grass for the cattle to feed on. So, anybody who wants to make use of the place will bring his livestock there and pay some token. This is against the earlier claim that the government is trying to take the land of citizens,” the official stated.
The ministry said it would commence public enlightenment campaigns to educate Nigerians on the need to create ranches and why the Federal Government would use its own land for the purpose.
“It is becoming clear now that we don’t have any vibrant alternative to addressing the clashes than the establishment of ranches. And this is because it is going to benefit the farmers and herdsmen. Also, the minister (of agriculture) recently revealed that there is going to be a programme for artificial insemination in some of these centres,” Makinde stated.
He noted that a number of state governments gave indication that they would provide land for ranches, but only Kogi State had fulfilled its part.
It was also learnt that about 15 other states had volunteered to provide land for the establishment of cattle ranches.
They include Adamawa, Kano, Kaduna, Katsina, Zamfara, Kebbi, Nasarawa and Plateau.
Others are Bauchi, Gombe, Borno, Jigawa, Yobe, Niger and Kwara states.
Findings from the headquarters of the FMARD in Abuja showed that while there were dissenting voices in some of the documented states that had volunteered to provide land, the 15 states had agreed to provide 5,000 hectares of land each for the establishment of ranches.
Earlier this year, the Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Audu Ogbeh, announced that the establishment of cattle colonies in the states that had volunteered land would commence within weeks.
This, however, has not happened.
Senior officials at the agriculture ministry re-echoed what Ogbeh said, as they stressed that the Federal Government would not force any state to volunteer land for the initiative.
The officials, however, stated that the 16 northern states had been documented as locations where the initiative would start, adding that the government was canvassing support from more states, particularly from the southern part of the country.
Ogbeh’s Special Assistant on Media, Olukayode Oyeleye, and Makinde provided our correspondent with various speeches by the minister, which extensively explained how the Federal Government planned to go about the initiative.
Nigeria’s Main Refineries Record N406.62bn Loss in Two Years
Port Harcourt, Kaduna, Warri Refinery posts N406.62bn Deficit in Two Years
Nigeria’s three main refineries recorded N406.62 billion loss in two years, according to the audited financial statements from the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC).
The three refineries located in Port Harcourt, Kaduna and Warri have a combined installed capacity of 445,000 barrels per day, however, the refineries have continued to function below the installed capacity.
The audited report showed the Kaduna refinery posted N64.34 billion loss in 2018, better than the N111.89 billion loss reported in 2017.
While Warri refinery filed N44.44 billion loss for 2018, also better than the N81.60 billion loss posted in 2017.
Port Harcourt refinery reported N45.59 billion loss in 2018, down from N55.76 billion loss posted in 2017.
The Nigerian government has spent billions of US dollars in maintaining and trying to improve the dilapidated refineries over the years. However, because of the inability of the three refineries to meet daily petrol demands of the Nigerian people, the Federal Government resulted to importation that has eroded the nation’s foreign reserves.
A recent report from the NNPC showed that Nigeria spent N2.37 trillion on petrol importation between May 2019 and May 2020 despite the nation struggling with falling foreign reserves due to low oil prices.
The weak foreign reserves has disrupted the nation’s economic outlook and weighed on the Nigerian Naira. The Naira has been devalued by 15 percent this year and was recently adjusted from N360 per US dollar exchange rate to N380/US$ for importers and investors to ease pressure on the nation’s foreign reserves.
Last week, at a summit organised by Seplat, Mallam Mele Kyari, the Group Managing Director, NNPC, said the three refineries were all idle despite the money being spent on them.
“In Nigeria today, we are importing practically every petroleum product that we consume in this country.
“We are working to make sure that we are able to fix our refineries,” Kyari stated.
All hopes are now on Dangote’s refinery.
Aliko Dangote, Africa’s richest man and the world’s richest black man, is presently constructing a 650,000 barrels per day refinery.
Osinbajo Says FG Plans to Create 5 Million Jobs
FG to Create 5m Jobs from Strategic Investments in Manufacturing, Agriculture
Vice President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, has said the Federal Government plans to create at least 5 million jobs in the next few years.
Osinbajo, who spoke at the Virtual Presidential Policy Dialogue Session organised by the Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI), said the Buhari-led administration is focused on job creation.
He, therefore, stated that this would be achieved with strategic investments in key sectors like the manufacturing and agriculture sectors.
The Vice President said, “We are to create jobs and boost our national housing programme. We would be intentional in the support of manufacturers in using our local raw materials. We are seriously engaging the use of cement in building our roads, as it will be cheaper for us and more durable.
“We are targeting electrification of five million households with solar power, and we are supporting SMEs, especially in the pharmaceuticals to enhance the production of personal protective equipment.”
Mrs. Toki Mabogunje, the President of LCCI, who also spoke at the event, expressed concerns over the failure of the Nigerian Customs Service to adhere to the Executive Order which forbids Customs checkpoints around the ports and within given geographical delimitations in the country.
She also noted the slow pace of reforms in the oil and gas sector, one of the nation’s main sectors. According to her, the oil and gas sector was another cause for worry, saying up till now the PIB passed has not been signed by President Muhammadu Buhari.
According to her, “Closure of the land borders has enormous implications for cross border economic activities around the country. The indications are now that the closure is indefinite. While we share the concern of government on issues of security and smuggling, we believe that the indefinite closure of land borders is not the solution to the problem.
“We are excited about the signing of the AFCTA. But we need to get ourselves ready for the pressure of competition inherent in the continental economic integration agenda. A number of commitments were made about the creation of an environment that would enable the private sector to be competition ready. But not much has happened in this regard so far.
“We are aware of the efforts of government to fix our infrastructure, including roads and railways, but funding has remained a major challenge. We would like to see a new funding model with much bigger focus on private sector capital within a Public Private Partnership [PPP] framework for infrastructure development in the country.”
Fuel Scarcity: NUPENG to Commence Strike on Monday
Lagosians Should Brace for Fuel Scarcity as NUPENG Embarks on Strike
Nigerians should brace for fuel scarcity as the national leadership of the Nigeria Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas (NUPENG) directed all petroleum tanker drivers to withdraw their services from Lagos State starting from Monday, 10 August 2020.
In a statement released by NUPENG on Friday, the union said the directive followed the failure of various authorities in Lagos State to address three major issues that had impacted the operations of petroleum tanker drivers in the state for several months.
The statement signed by the National President, Williams Akporeha and the General Secretary, Olawale Afolabi, NUPENG and titled title ‘NUPENG leadership directs withdrawal of services by petroleum tanker drivers in Lagos State with effect from Monday, August 10, 2020,’ noted that members of the union are frustrated and pained by the barrage of challenges faced while carrying out their activities in Lagos State.
NUPENG said, “The entire rank and file members of the union are deeply pained, frustrated and agonised by the barrage of these challenges being consistently faced by petroleum tanker drivers in Lagos State and are left with no other option but to direct the withdrawal of their services in Lagos State until the Lagos State Government and other relevant stakeholders address these critical challenges.
“It is sad and disheartening to note here that we had made several appeals and reports to the Lagos State Government and the Presidential Task Force for the decongestion of Apapa on these challenges but all to no avail.”
NUPENG listed the major challenges faced by petroleum tanker drivers in Lagos State as extortion and harassment by various security agents and, area boys’ (miscreants).
“This menace must stop and the leadership of these security operatives in Lagos State must go all out to call their men to order with immediate effect.”
The Union added that it is sad that the security agents who were expected to ensure the free flow of traffic and protection of road users were the same people using their uniforms and arms to intimidate, harass and extort money from petroleum drivers in Lagos State.
Therefore, it said it had embarked on an indefinite strike to force the Lagos State Government to address the situation.
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