Category Archives: Agriculture

BREAKING: Dangote Petitions Trade Ministry To Shut BUA Sugar Refinery Down

A major war has been raging in the Nigeria sugar industry for some time now and the bubbles seemed to have burst with Dangote’s decision to petition the Federal Government asking the Ministry of Trade to shut down BUA Group’s Sugar Refinery located in Port Harcourt.

In the letter dated 28th January 2021 signed by Aliko Dangote himself as the Chairman Dangote Industries Limited, the billionaire claimed that when the BUA Sugar refinery was opened, he warned the Government and they told him that no new refinery would be allowed to operate in Nigeria’. Dangote accused BUA of operating with impunity by contravening the laws as laid down in the National sugar policy by selling its products locally instead of producing for export alone.

BUA in its own defense sent to the Honourable Minister of Trade however clarified issues by stating that the law allows it to sell inside Nigeria. Attaching the enabling permits and approval BUA stated that because of the connivance of the two major sugar manufacturers to hike the price of Sugar during the Ramadan period, the law allows it to sell locally.

BUA also warned that the DANGOTE group and the other major player have not been involved in any backward integration project, rather they depend on 80% raw sugar allocation which is detrimental to the Nigerian economy in long-term analysis. BUA on the other hand has been involved in a backward integration project with BUA’s Lafiagi Sugar BIP set to be completed in 2022.

Over a 250million dollars is believed to have been spent on the export-focused BUA sugar refinery already and it is also employing over 1,000 Nigerians.

Meanwhile, BUA also noted that at the center of this fight to force FG to close the BUA Sugar refinery down is the price war.

Last year, before Ramadan, sugar sold for around 18,000 Naira per bag. But as Ramadan fasting started the price jumped to 30,000 per bag. The people had no choice but to buy it because they needed a lot of it during the period. So the manufacturers were smiling at the bank. BUA group noticed the trend and decided that it had to change. There was no reason to increase the price during Ramadan simply because the demand is high.

Usually, the increase happens about one month to commencement of fasting

When the other manufacturers got across to BUA, Samad Rabiu refused. They put pressure on him, saying it was the right time to make good money but he put his feet down.

After failing to do that, they petitioned the Federal Government that he was breaking the law by selling sugar locally instead of for export.

A source however claimed that already, BUA group has dragged the Trade Minister to court to ensure that the operations of the sugar refinery are not tampered with all because of the desperate attempt by Dangote Group to monopolize the sugar trade in Nigeria.

We are open to collaboration with French investors – Gov Ikpeazu

The Abia State Governor, Dr Okezie Ikpeazu has sought the collaboration of the Government of France in attracting French companies to invest in the state, especially the Enyimba Economic City.

Governor Ikpeazu made the request recently when he received the French Ambassador to Nigeria, Mr Jerome Pasquier courtesy visit.

He assured that his government will provide the necessary support needed by such French companies to invest in the state.

Governor Ikpeazu said he expects great collaboration from the French Government in the areas of Agriculture and Technical Education.

He disclosed that his government plans to build a Youth Eco-System where Abia Children could acquire skills and be citizens who can fit into the technological demands of the 21st century.

He appealed to the Ambassador to partner with the state in that regard.

The State Chief Executive who described Education as key to success in every other venture said the focus of the state is on Technical Education and solicited the French Government to do more in that regard.

Earlier, the French Ambassador to Nigeria Mr Jerome Pasquier said his country is open to any possibility of working with Abia State in the area of Education and Agriculture

He described Abia as one of the best places in Nigeria for investment and promised to make the French presence felt in the State.

Governor Ikpeazu also presented some Made in Aba items as commemorative gifts to the Ambassador.

The French Ambassador had earlier arrived at the Government House Umuahia and was received by the Chief of Staff to the Governor, Dr. ACB Agbazuere.

He was also later conducted round the National War Museum Umuahia.

Senator Mao Ohuabunwa and the Coordinator of the Education For Employment (E4E) program of the State Government, Mr. Endi Ezengwa were present at the event.

Northern farmers, cattle dealers call off strike, resume lifting of food to south

The leadership of the northern cattle and foodstuff dealers under the aegis of Amalgamated Union of Foodstuff and Cattle Dealers of Nigeria (AUFCDN), has agreed to end the blockade of food supplies to the south.

The association commenced its strike on Thursday, February 25, 2021, asking for N475 billion in compensation from the federal government for the destruction of their businesses and property in Ondo and Oyo States in January and February.

While the strike lasted, the prices of foodstuff, including beef and vegetables, soared in Lagos, Nigeria’s most populous city and economic capital.

Baskets of tomatoes, pepper and onions were also left to rot in the north as food-laden trucks were impounded and sometimes burnt around the Ilorin, Benue and Niger corridors.

However, northern farmers and traders have now agreed that trucks of cattle and food supplies heading south will no longer be impounded.

The agreement was reached after the group’s meeting with some state governors in Abuja, the nation’s capital, on Wednesday, March 3, 2021.

Abdullahi Tom, a youth leader of the cattle dealers in Lagos, said Kogi State Governor Yahaya Bello was one of the leaders who appealed to them to end the food blockade.

FG bans open grazing in Abuja, establishes 3 RUGA settlements

The Federal Capital Territory Administration has prohibited open grazing of cattle in Abuja, the nation’s capital.

The Administration said it had communicated the directive to the leadership of the Fulani herdsmen in the FCT.

Disclosing this in an interview with our correspondent on Wednesday, the Director, Abuja Environmental Protection Agency, Dr Hassan Abubakar, stated that the one-month ultimatum issued to the pastoralists had expired, adding that violators would be sanctioned henceforth.

The decision of the FCTA is coming against the ban on open grazing by the Northern Governors’ Forum, which described the practice as outdated.

The AEPB director said over 100 cattle earlier confiscated were returned after their owners were fined by courts, adding that any herdsman found grazing his animals on Abuja streets would be penalised heavily.

A special team, he said, had been constituted to enforce the directive.

Abubakar further revealed that the FCT Minister, Muhammad Bello, had earmarked five locations for cattle grazing in Abaji, Kwali and Kuje Area Councils.

He said, “We held meetings with the leadership of Fulani herdsmen in the FCT and they have agreed on so many issues. We have given them time, which they asked for, and when the time lapses, we will strike. They are not allowed to graze inside the city; that’s prohibited.

Embattled herdsmen from Oyo, Enugu, Niger, others heading to Kano RUGA Settlement – Miyetti Allah

Amid rising tension over herders/farmers clashes in Nigeria, Governor Abdullahi Ganduje of Kano State recently proposed the stoppage of the movement of cattle from North to South, leading to an ongoing debate on whether the proposal is capable of ending the crisis.

The message resonated so much as if the governor was making such a call for the first time.

Long before the latest tension in the country over the matter, Ganduje had made a similar proposal.

He even went ahead to suggest that foreign herders be banned from entering Nigeria.

In his recent call, the governor, a Fulani, restated his earlier position that the North/South movement of cows is responsible for the rising tension associated with the activities of herdsmen.

The Kano State helmsman revealed that he has built a Rural Grazing Area, RUGA, settlement in Kano where herders are being resettled.

Meanwhile, the leader of Fulani herdsmen and Secretary of Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association of Nigeria, MACBAN, in Kano State Zubairu Ibrahim, told Sunday Vanguard, at the weekend, that herdsmen from many parts of the country have indicated interest to relocate to the Kano RUGA settlement.

Ibrahim said some of them are from states such as Nasarawa, Niger, Enugu and Oyo states, among others.

He said herdsmen willing to relocate to its RUGA settlement provided by the state government are welcome so long as they would abide by the law.

Ibrahim added that herdsmen from five states have already relocated to the state.

According to him, “we have some Fulani herdsmen from Kebbi, Zamfara, Kaduna, Sokoto, and Jigawa who are now in Kano. The governor has invited anyone willing to stay in the RUGA settlement to come. If they come and they are good people, nothing will stop us from receiving them.

“All they need to do is to follow the rules and regulations of government. They should go for grazing in the afternoon and not at night. Nothing can stop them from coming if they are interested.

“Since the governor of Ondo State has gone to the media to say that they (herdsmen) should vacate the area, instead of staying there they should leave. they should leave so that something bad does not happen to them and their property. They should just vacate the area for their safety.”

He commended Ganduje for fulfilling his promises and making history by resettling them in the RUGA settlement.

Fulani herdsmen have, for some time now, been in the eye of the storm over killing of residents, especially in the southern part of the country, after allegedly causing their cattle to graze recklessly in farms of farmers and, in the process, destroying valuable crops.

Mid last month, Ondo State government ordered herdsmen operating from the state’s forest reserves out of the place following kidnappings and ransom taking linked to them.
In Oyo, Yoruba activist Sunday Adeyemo, aka Sunday Igboho, led a group to give herders operating in Ibarapa area of the state one week ultimate to vacate the area.

An attack was subsequently launched on the Sarkin Fulani in the Ibarapa area, leading to the burning of some of his property and forcing him to relocate to Kwara State.

For several days last week, there were protests against herders in parts of Edo and Delta states by women against alleged criminal activities of herders.

Vanguard

37 herdsmen, 5000 cattle sent packing from Ondo, heading to Osun, Edo and Kogi States

No fewer than 37 herdsmen and 5,000 cattle were, yesterday, sacked by the Ondo State Security outfit, codenamed Amotekun, for violating the quit notice of forest reserves by the state government.

The herdsmen and their cattle, Jungle Journalist Media Limited has learnt, are currently on their way to Osun, Edo and Kogi States.

They were dismissed from the government forest reserves located at Ala, Oda and Ofosu.
Governor Rotimi Akeredolu had issued a seven day quit notice to the herdsmen in the government forest reserves across the state.

Commander of the state Amotekun Corps, Chief Adetunji Adeleye confirmed the arrest of the herders adding that other herdsmen have met with the Corps and had peacefully moved out of the state.

Adeleye said: “Some of them have opted to leave the state because they couldn’t meet with our terms and conditions.

“They came through the Chairman of Miyetti Allah in the state. Some opted to go to Osun, Edo and Kogi States.
“So our men escorted them to the boundaries of those states.

We have to monitor their movements out of the state so that they would not destroy farms on their way out.
“About 37 herders have been arrested with about 5, 000 cows. The majority of the herders have been coming to us through their chairman and the Special Adviser to the Governor on Hausa Matters.

Vanguard

We Are Not Interested In Profiling Hausas Or Fulanis But Criminal Elements, Says Abia Gov

Abia State governor Okezie Ikpeazu says the state government is not interested in profiling any tribe but clamping down on criminal elements violating open grazing law in the state.

Ikpeazu disclosed this on Wednesday during an interview on Channels Television breakfast programme, Sunrise Daily. He also explained why open grazing is banned in the state.

“Abia State was one of the first states that came out with legislation banning open grazing and our argument is that Abia State is perhaps the smallest state apart from Lagos in land area in Nigeria and we have a lot of minerals and crude oil beneath the soil.

“God did not endow us with sufficient land to permit open grazing and leaving our land for cattle grazing.
“Our interest is not to generally profile the Hausas or the Fulanis, we are interested in the criminal elements,” Ikpeazu said.

According to the governor, the problem of farmer-herders clashes can be solved after proper diagnosis and when the Federal, State and local governments come up with a joint policy to tackle the problem.

“Nigeria is supposed to do a proper diagnosis of the problem and treat it accordingly. We are not diagnosing the problem properly; we are just diverting the attention of serious-minded people in this country.

“We have people who are interested in creating anarchy and confusion so that opportunist anarchists like ISIS who are interested in destabilising the country will come in.

“The Federal government down to the local government should come on one page and have a policy dealing with criminal elements wherever they may be found irrespective of the state of origin or background.”

It will be recalled that Southeast governors recently announced that they have banned open grazing and the movement of cows by foot in the region in a bid to tackle the security challenges confronting the zone.

Chairman of the Southeast Governors’ Forum and Ebonyi State Governor, Dave Umahi disclosed this on Monday during the inauguration of the All Progressives Congress in Abakaliki.

South-East Governors ban open grazing, says anyone hiding in forests to be treated as a criminal

The Governor of the Ebonyi State and Chairman Southeast Governors’ Forum, Engineer David Umahi says the zone had banned open grazing of cattle in the zone.

Governor announced this during an APC stakeholder meeting at the Christian Ecumenical Centre Abakaliki.

Governor Umahi who said the Southeast Governors’ Forum had also banned the movement of cows by foot into the zone enjoined leaders to exhibit patriotism in their conduct to guarantee the unity of the country.

“We are living in a dangerous time, without patriotism to our nation Nigeria, it is very difficult to have a peaceful time”

He called on leaders and stakeholders of the zone to speak up and desist from playing politics with the Security of the zone and nation.

“Governors of South East have been calling on our leaders to speak out on the security of the zone and unity of Nigeria, I read on paper where someone said he was giving Governors of South East 7-days to ban open grazing, the governors of South-East had banned open grazing and movement of cows by foot into South East, in each of states of the South East, we are managing ourselves well, what we discuss with the herdsmen is the system in place for a long time”

The Chairman of the Southeast Governors’ Forum cautioned people of the zone against instigating crises in the country through the dissemination of fake videos alleging killing of Fulanis by IPOB in the South East.

“What our people must know is that security is not political, what is demanded of the leaders is to put up programs that favors the people and foster national unity”.

Gov. Umahi announced his support for the call to flush out criminal elements from forests across the nation to boost the security of the country.

“In our forests today, we have the kidnappers, herdsmen, cultists, all sorts of criminals, anybody staying in the forest is taking a risk, when we say that people should move out of the forests, it is for their safety and security, so I support that kidnappers, herdsmen, cultists, and bandits should be flushed out of our forests”

The Governor used the occasion to officially flag off the APC Revalidation and Registration Committee and charged the Caretaker Committees to ensure the successful conduct of the exercise.

He thanked stakeholders of the party for attending the meeting and observing the COVID19 protocol, insisting that the State remains APC.

“Let me thank our leaders for their commitment to the welfare of our party; Ebonyi State is complete and Ebonyi State is APC”.

Earlier, the Acting Chairman of APC in the State, Chief Stanley Emegha said the meeting was convened to find a way of upgrading the membership of the party in the State and called on the stakeholders to support the exercise to fully reintegrate the State to the next level.

“We have made it clear that Ebonyi is APC and the National will be expecting us to prove it, proving it is by us coming out and participating in the exercise massively, make whatever sacrifice to the betterment of the State because we must use the exercise to prove a point that Ebonyi State is APC and APC is Ebonyi State”.

Nigerian Governors, Miyetti Allah agree open grazing must end    

Nigerian Governors’ Forum (NGF) and the Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association (MACBAN) on Monday agreed that “free-range grazing must be stopped. ”The NGF and MACBAN also resolved that night grazing should be banned henceforth, and that a standing committee be constituted in each state to ensure a harmonious relationship between herders and farmers.

These are part of the decision taken at a meeting of governors with MACBAN leadership and security agencies on “the emerging security challenges in the Southwest”. The meeting was held in Ondo, Akure, the state capital.

The meeting came after the expiration on Monday of the order given by Ondo State Governor Rotimi Akeredolu for herders to register or vacate the state’s forest reserves.

Chairman of the NGF Dr. Kayode Fayemi presided over the meeting attended also by the Chairman of the Progressives Governors’ Forum (PGF), Alhaji Atiku Bagudu (Kebbi State), Adegboyega Oyetola (Osun), Seyi Makinde (Oyo) and Alhaji Abdulkadir Badaru (Jigawa).

The MACBAN team was led by the National President, Alhaji Muhammadu Kirowa. Security chiefs at the meeting were led by the Assistant Inspector-General of Police, Zone 11, Olufemi Agunbiade.

A part of the communiqué reads: “That free-range grazing must be stopped to avoid conflicts between farmers and herders.

“Strengthening alternative security arrangements and making them complementary to the mainstream security agencies in Nigeria should be encouraged.

“MACBAN should embrace and be committed to modern breeding process by creating grazing reserves and practicing ranching to prevent cattle roaming about.

“Standing committee comprising of farmers, MACBAN and the government should be set up in each state (where they don’t exist) to ensure synergy and result.

“We must create economic opportunities for our people and reduce opportunities for criminalities in our country.”

“The order of the Ondo State governor was misconstrued and misrepresented by a section of the media. He only ordered those occupying the forest reserves in Ondo State illegally to quit.

“The meeting agreed that criminals should be apprehended and punished, no matter their origin, class, or status, and that security agencies … must step up their efforts in the fight.

“There is the need to build a partnership for peace and security with MACBAN and jointly wage war against criminality.

“No one had sent anyone away from any state or region but all hands must be on deck to fight criminality.

“MACBAN is a peace-loving, law-abiding organisation which does not habour or condone criminals.”

The governors and the association pledged commitment to the unity and indivisibility of Nigeria. They described insecurity as a national challenge that it is not peculiar to any tribe or region.

The meeting also agreed that “underage herding be banned” because it “is inimical to security.” It agreed that occupation of the Ondo State forest reserves is illegal and condemnable.

It was learnt that the extension of the deadline given to the herders to quit the Forest Reserves, was not discussed at the meeting.

Many of the herders staying in the forest are already leaving in droves.

Although the meeting was called by Southwest governors, the Nigeria Governors Forum (NGF) showed interest because of the sensitivity of the matter.

“That was why governors Bagudu and Badaru came to attend and Fayemi, the NGF chairman, presided over the meeting, instead of Akeredolu, who is the Southwest governors forum chairman.

The meeting noted that “MACBAN also suffers insecurity and kidnapping and thus desire peaceful coexistence.”

It assured that the association was ready for any peaceful move by the states to engender security.

Fayemi had during the meeting urged MACBAN members not to have any fears of doing their legal business in any part of the country.

He reminded them that there were laws that must be obeyed and called for partnership in providing security for peace, progress and development of the country.

He said there was the need for all stakeholders to be tough on crimes and criminality which, according to him, members of MACBAN were also victims.

The governor reiterated that there was no eviction order for Fulani herdsmen in Ondo State or any part of the Southwest.

He said Akeredolu only directed that herders at government forest reserves must register or quit such areas.

Akeredolu explained that he never gave herdsmen ultimatum to leave the state.

He said it was the duty of herders to provide information to security agencies.

He said: “We have a duty to our people and everybody in the state. Can any governor ask anybody to leave the state? This is Nigeria. We have registered over 70, 000 farmers and they pay every year. If you are going to go there(forest reserves), then register.

“You owe a duty to pass information. Criminals should not be able to fester. We must protect our people. We will not play to the gallery. We can fight the security challenges together if we are prepared.

“Let us work together and flush out criminals. I have been under serious pressure. When the pressure is on us, it is as if we are doing nothing. Let us help ourselves. It is your duty to point them out.”

Governor Bagudu, who backed Governor Akeredolu’s order, said: “You cannot go and occupy somebody’s house without permission from him.”

He blamed the tension generated by the Ondo State governor’s order on improper communication and stressed the need for herders and security agencies to work together to check the activities of criminals.

The PGF chairman also called for Federal Government’s support for herdsmen to enable them embrace modern ranching.

He said: “Some of the tension we saw in the last week would have been needless. Media is a partner in progress. If we continue to cause agitation in our land, we compound our problems. The Fulani are pastoralists. Criminals, bandits, and other forms of crimes are visited on these hapless people who just want to live in peace.

“A lot of the complains that come from the DPOs (Divisional Police Officers) are from the Fulani either whose child has been kidnapped or cattle rustled.

“A criminal is a criminal. They have agreed to work with security agencies to fish out kidnappers and drug peddlers so that we can defeat the enemies of progress.”

Governor Makinde who advised that security should not be politicised, said those escalating the issues could not even run their families.

He said: “When people talk you wonder if they had done any kind of comparison with what has happened elsewhere in the world. We will not use criminality to solve another criminality.

“The intended consequences of such an action cannot be predicted. We will continue to encourage our people to work together to face the common enemy—the criminals, bandits and kidnappers.

“We will ensure we go after criminals. We will continue to promote good neighbourliness among our people.

The governor called on all stakeholders to work together to chase criminals out of Kisi area in Oyo State.

The MACBAN boss, Alhaji Kirowa, who pledged his members readiness to expose criminals, said herders were also victims of crimes

He specifically mentioned the latest incidents in Igangan (Oyo State) and the alleged kidnap of the son of one Alhaji Giye who resides in Gose, Akure North Local Government of Ondo State.

Kirowa also claimed that 10,000 pastoralists had been killed due to clashes with farmers and over five million cows lost by their members to criminals.

He called on governments at all levels to sanction the perpetrators of such acts against MACBAN members and provide immediate palliatives to the families that lost their loved ones and properties.

Kirowa clarified that Serikis- Fulani were appointed by traditional rulers in their respective states to make it necessary for them to work together.

He said a traditional ruler could remove any Seriki Fulani and direct Fulani herders to stop night and underage grazing.

The MACBAN leader added: “We are against the senseless acts of banditry and kidnapping across the country. We are directing members of our state executives to work with constituted security outfits.

“The security outfits must be designed to work with, all stakeholders as this will engender inclusiveness and peace.

“We are open to working with the forum (NGF) in designing what we think can work in solving these problems. We condemn all sorts of criminality, extrajudicial killings, and the impunity that is associated with it.

“Security agencies can testify how we work with them to arrest criminals.”

The Nation

State governors should enforce 1969 law that banned open grazing in Nigeria – Activist Eholor

A crusader of social justice and equality, Chief Patrick Eholor has stated that it’s high time the law and justice system of the country enforce the ban on open grazing which was done in 1969 by the renown Justice Adewale Thompson. He said state governors should as a matter of necessity enforce this law and arrest offenders, to protect their citizens and communities.

Eholor in his argument stated that it was becoming increasingly dangerous to ignore the ban, while gun wielding, killer herdsmen go about raiding communities and destroying farm products, lives and property, and even raping women and girls in order to establish fear and dread across the country.

He decried the spate of insecurity raging across the northern part of the country due to the menace of Fulani cattle grazers, which has continued to increase down in the southern part, despite the ban by the late judge.

He stated ” It is time for Nigerians to be aware that there is a ban on open grazing in this country. As far back as 1969, the renown Justice Adewale Thompson delivered a judgment which placed a ban on open grazing, and thereby made it a crime to enter farms and cause havoc to people’s crops.

“We all must be aware of our rights over this impunity, and get the Justice System to reaffirm that ban. Herdsmen must be arrested and jailed for violating that ban, and this must be done within the ambit of the law, to end the growing terrorism imposed by Fulanis upon our communities.

“For the benefit of those who do not know it, Justice Thompson on 17th April 1979, in Suit no AB/26/66 at Abeokuta Division of the High Court, made the ban and warned of unprovoked killing by Fulani herdsmen.

“His words ‘I do not accept the contention of Defendants that a custom exists which imposes an obligation on the owner of farm to fence his farm whilst the owner of cattle allows his cattle to wander like pests and cause damage. Such a custom if it exists, is unreasonable and I hold that it is repugnant to natural justice, equity and good conscience and therefore unenforceable…in that it is highly unreasonable to impose the burden of fencing a farm on the farmer without the corresponding obligation on the cattle owner to fence in his cattle.

‘Sequel to this,I ban open grazing for it is inimical to peace and tranquility and the cattle owners must fence or ranch their animals for peace to reign in these communities.’

According to Eholor, “It is high time states put this law into practice and end unprovoked killings by Fulani herdsmen. This information should be shared widely so that state governors should be aware of it. It is not known that anybody appealed against this decision, so in law any open grazing is a violation of the law. State governors should setup task forces that will enforce this law and arrest offenders”.