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Returnee IDPs get seeds to kick start farming in Borno



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About 10,000 returnee IDPs have been given various agricultural products to kickstart farming activities in their resettled communities across the 25 LGAs as a way of providing food and economic security to them after spending so many years depending on handouts from donors in the IDP camps.

The various agricultural products which include cassava, maize seedlings, cashew nuts, sorghum among many other seedlings are meant to serve as stabilising factors for the former IDPs as they prepare to start life afresh.

Speaking to The PUNCH on Monday in Maiduguri, the chairman Borno Agric Village, Amb. Allamin Lawan, said the agricultural produce were donated by various ministries, agencies and donors after the state government ordered the stoppage of food distribution to the former IDPs.

“When the state government announced that NGOs should stop giving food aid to returning communities, we in agric village immediately mobilised and reached out to agencies and donors on the how to make these vulnerable people secured in terms of food. We came up with the idea of providing seedlings to them so they can farm and sustain themselves.

“To the glory of God, we were able to distribute 13 trucks of cassava tubers to one thousand farmers, beans, okro, onions, maize and rice seedlings to eight thousand villagers including widows and young adults. We distributed these items across the 25 LGAs where people are occupying with the exception of Abadam and Guzamala LGAs which have no human existence there,” Allamin disclosed.

He said animals like cows, chicks, fingerlings were also distributed to two hundred and fifty persons to boost their socioeconomic life in the communities.

“All these items were sources from agencies like FOA, ICRC higher institutions and agencies operating agricultural activities. We pleaded with them to assist the poor rural dwellers to resettle in their communities since the government ordered the stoppage of food distribution to them.
With what we have distributed, they can now begin to engage in both irrigation farming as well as rainy season farming which will provide food supply as well as generate source of income to them,” Allamin Lawan concluded.



NIPOST growth thwarted by 28 years exclusion from capital projects – Postmaster General



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From Adanna Nnamani, Abuja

...master General/CEO of the Nigerian Postal Service (NIPOST), Dr Ismail Adebayo Adewusi, on Tuesday lamented exclusion from capital projects and absence of budget that has grossly impeded the growth and development of the Nigerian postal service.

Mr Adewusi spoke at a media parley to mark the 2nd anniversary of his appointment held in Utako, Abuja.

According to the PMG, the negligence of Service has slowed its evolution and is responsible for its dilapidated structures across the nation.

He, however, praised President Muhammadu Buhari for the initiative to unbundle NIPOST. This, he explained would enable Service to fully utilise all its assets scattered all over the country to maximise revenue generation.

He said the restructuring would see to the emergence of a NIPOST Property Company which would be highly commercialised and would oversee the massive renovation of the structures.

“NIPOST has not had a budget or benefited from capital projects in the past 28 years. This is why our infrastructure across the country is dilapidated. It has not been easy at all. But we have to appreciate the President or the policy to unbundle NIPOST. It is an initiative that will commercialise most of our processes. Our new NIPOST Property Company will be saddled with the responsibility of renovating the NIPOST facilities across the nation. Most of the facilities that you see that are dilapidated will then be taken over by the new NIPOST Property company,” he stated.

Speaking on the issue of unauthorised courier operators parading the nation, the NIPOST boss disclosed that information reaching him showed that some of the bikes across the major cities were being used to transport and sell hard drugs. He assured that the organisation will not rest until it had eliminated unlicensed operators and people who do illegal businesses through Courier.

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“I wish to inform you today, that after nineteen (19) years, a new Courier Regulations, more in tune with the new order and way of doing business, was presented, and approved for the regulation of the courier industry. The last such review of the Regulations was in 2001.

The new Regulations empowers NIPOST to regulate the courier and logistics industry, checkmate the activities of illegal and nefarious logistics and courier companies in the country. The new Regulations would sanitize the logistics ecosystem and put in check dubious activities of the criminal-minded operators.” He announced.

The PMG recounted the various giant strides undertaken by NIPOST in the last two years even in the face of insufficient funding challenges. Part of these he mentioned were the efforts to digitalise NIPOST’s processes and services. He further reiterated his commitment to achieving full digitisation for the organisation.

He said, “In a bid to expand the frontiers of NIPOST products and services, a B2B agreement was signed with eGATE of Egypt on digital transformation. With this agreement, job opportunities will be created. It will also help to address the infrastructure gap in the organization, as well as reposition NIPOST on the path of full digitalisation. It would interest you to note that the new addressing system, that is, the Digital Addressing system, is being developed as a strategic infrastructure for national development. It will facilitate mail handling, identify locations precisely, ensure consistency in address related databases and enable efficient services in government agencies, financial institutions, and businesses in a consistent manner.

He listed others to include: Western Union Money Transfer which commenced pilot operations in Lagos in 2020; reconciliation of account with Cameroon Post (Campost), culminating in the resumption of international remittance transactions which, has accrued over N10 million in revenue;

Others are; joining of UPU Clearing House, to facilitate the expansion of remittance transaction beyond the Cameroon Nigeria corridor; roll out of co-branded credit/debit card with Data Mining; payment services partnership, with System Specs, which allows NIPOST to carry out bill payment using Remita on its counters and promotion of NIPOST card for seamless IFS transactions with more UPU member countries, among others.

“Given the modest achievements we have recorded in the last two years of my administration; it is my candid belief that we are on the right track and determined to reposition NIPOST to an enviable height for effective service delivery to the citizenry. As we braced up to confront emerging challenges in the digital world, NIPOST is working assiduously to remain a veritable force, one to reckon with in the courier and logistics industry. We will be available to work in partnership with other related agencies, both government and private sector, to ensure we provide reliable and efficient services for the socio-economic development of our country.” Adewusi said.


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Traffic violation: Why I phoned Canadian police chief – Suspended Nigerian-born minister, Madu



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Suspended Nigerian-born Minister of Justice and Solicitor-General of the Government of Alberta, Canada, Kelechi Madu, has explained that he didn’t phone Edmonton Police Chief, Dale McFee, to seek the cancellation of a fine imposed on him for a traffic violation.

Madu, in a string of tweets on his verified Twitter handle on Wednesday, said he contacted the police chief only to share his experience.

had earlier reported that the Premier of Alberta, Jason Kenney, on Tuesday, said it was important for Madu to step aside pending the outcome of an independent investigation into a March 10, 2021 incident.

Madu, who assumed the role in August 2020 and is reportedly the first Black person to serve as a minister of justice in Canada, got fined for using his phone while driving in March 2021.

He was accused of calling the province’s police chief after being slammed a $300 fine he received for violating one of Canada’s traffic and safety regulations.

“I conveyed to him my profound disappointment in his decision to contact the Edmonton Police Chief after receiving a ticket for a traffic violation,” Kenney had stated, adding that Minister Sonya Savage would act as Minister of Justice and Solicitor General during Madu’s leave of absence.

But in his defence, Madu explained that he was pulled over by an officer of the Edmonton Police Service on the said date while he was driving to a media function.

He said, “The officer indicated that he had observed me driving while distracted, alleging that I was on my phone.

“I disagreed, stating that I was not on my phone, as it was in an inside pocket. To be absolutely clear my phone was inside the left hand side pocket of my suit and I was wearing a winter jacket. I identified myself and drove away.

“Later, I spoke to Chief McFee to share the experience I have just had, and specifically for two reasons.

“First, due to the timing of the incident, I wanted to ensure that I was not being unlawfully surveilled following the Lethbridge Police Service controversy, and on my way to Legislature on a day I was meeting with the media to answer questions on Lethbridge Police Service.

“Second, I also raised concerns around profiling of racial minorities that was in the media at the time and wanted the Chief to hear about my own experience. As Minister, these are concerns that were constantly being brought to my attention.

“The reason why I was proceeding in the Legislature with Bill 63 to ban carding which I tabled for first reading on April 7, 2021. I wanted to share this personal experience and encounter with the Chief of Police.

“Chief McFee assured me that that was most definitely not the case, and I accepted him at his word.”

Madu stressed that at no point did he request that the ticket be rescinded. “I can assure that in my life I would never do any such thing,” he said, adding that he “paid the ticket fully and promptly”.

“I am one that always hold myself accountable for my actions. I respect the Premier’s direction for me to take a temporary leave of absence pending the outcome of the independent investigation,” he concluded.

had earlier reported that Madu, in July 2021, had a spat with the Nigerian Minister of Justice and Attorney-General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami, over the re-arrest of the leader of the proscribed Indigenous People of Biafra, Nnamdi Kanu.


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Why I quit PGF: Salihu Lukman speaks on resignation



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By Emmanuel Mogbede

Dr Salihu Lukman, the Director-General, Progressive Governors Forum (PGF), has confirmed his resignation from the position, saying it is in the best interest of the APC.

Lukman, who was rumoured to have tendered his resignation on Monday, confirmed this in a statement in Abuja on Wednesday.

He said that he resigned to enable him continue his campaign to return the APC to its founding vision adding that his sudden resignation will not affect the campaign.

“My decision to resign my position is to enable me continue with the campaign to return APC to its founding vision, which is to build a party that is not only democratic, but oriented based on social democratic principles.

“Since the news filtered out on Monday, Jan. 17, about my resignation as Director-General of PGF, many party leaders, friends, family members and well wishers have reached out to me with words of support and encouragement.

“Many people, especially journalists wanted confirmation. I can confirm that it is true; I have given my resignation to forum chairman, Gov. Atiku Bagudu.

“I restrained myself from making any public statement on the matter because I am still awaiting acceptance,” he said.

Lukman said he had however privately confirmed his resignation to party leaders, friends and family members who called him to enquire.

He noted that since the buildup to 2019 general elections, internal contest in the APC began to degenerate as some of its leaders became intolerant.

He said every campaign to get the party’s leadership to commence the process of internal reform was resisted.

This, he said, was especially as some party leaders in the bid to emerge as its candidates for offices, became hostile while party campaigns drifted to almost war situations in many instances.

“Organs of the party stopped meetings as required by the Constitution, views of party leaders became decisions of the party.

“Thank God, we have a leader in President Muhammadu Buhari who disagreed with what is going on in the party and support the campaign for reform.

“Without going into all the details, the inspiration to setup the current Caretaker and Extra-ordinary Convention Planning Committee (CECPC) came from Buhari based on the expectation of ensuring that the drift in the party is arrested.

“This is expected to produce a new leadership, which should emerge at the party’s National Convention,” Lukman said.

He added that once the CECPC began to show signs of reluctance to organise the convention, it should be a source of concern to all party members desirous of reform.

He said following the news of his resignation, many of the party’s leaders and members, including Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu called to express worries.

“One of the party leaders who honoured me with an invitation to meet him late on Tuesday, Jan. 17, was Asiwaju Bola Tinubu.

“He commended me for championing the campaigns to reform the party and expressed shock that some members of forum were intolerant to criticism.

“He encouraged me to continue with my campaign, which is what the party need,” Lukman said.

He added that while it was good that the party’s CECPC had announced Feb.26 as date for the convention, party leaders should ensure that those who emerged from the exercise were tolerant to criticism.

“The next task before all party leaders is to ensure the new leadership of the party to emerge from the National Convention will be tolerant to criticism, democratic and more importantly share the commitments of the founding leaders to build a truly progressive party,” he said.

The PGF is an umbrella body of serving governors elected on the platform of the APC.


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