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Ovia, Visafone boss donates N1 bn to flood victims he Chainnan of Visafone

TTelecommurucatlon, Jun

Ovia has donated N 1 billion to the flood relief fund launched last week by PrCSldent Goodluck Jonathan. Besides, the former Managing Director

of Zeruth Bank prolUJsed L~at

Visafone would set up

emergency call centers across the country to curtail futurenatural dlaaster like 800ding.

The huge commitments made by Viaafone ....-as pan of the on-gemg efforts at generating funds for the rehabwtation of VICtimS of the recent flood disaster across the country, The Ovia's N I

billion donation has effectively put the telecoms company at a vantage position

lUI

a corporate

orgarusauon that understands the concept of given back to the soc:u:ty and make Nigeria a better platt (or all.

While implonng other corpoTate Organizauons not to be left out in the Jomt task of proYlding relief for the \;ctJms, Ovia &ald. -We have made our bumble donanoe

and .-e are still looking at other areas of assistance we can render. ptans are afoot tov."&J"ds setting up emergency call centres to mitigate the effect of future occurTellCC.

Smce it"s a natural occurrence, ma," not be able to stop It but at "least, lessen the effect on both the people and our enVU"Onmcnt through umely action ..111ch the call centers can facilitate.· It would be recalled that an reapon~ to the disaster, the FedClll Govcnmcnt, as a atop-gap measure, announced the dlsbUTSement of NSOO million to the highly Lmpacted atates, N300 milbon to the moderately impacted ones and H200 million to the least impacted states, to enable them cushion the effects of the flooding Thereafter, It ~t up a 34-man Presldenual Committee on flood Rd.i.ef and Rehabilitauon co-cluured by Aliko Dangote and Obsa Agbakoba which organized III AbuJa, a dInner to I"B.l!le fund for the \-;ctims of the ftooding during which over NIl billion 'Uo"8S reahzed. Dangote v.'lUI however the highest donor With a donauon of N2.5 bilhon Ch,a amd hiS donauon was informed b)' the need to suppon government m the onerous task of resettling the affected ciuzen who arc currently sheltered an different camps in the states. He explained that the vicums haVIng ba:n dtsplaced ,,"'Ould be psycbolDglca1Jy traumatized as a rHwt of the untold mlSCf)' and that 1t Iwa the responsibility of fcUow 'A'C

Nigerians to hdp them in this orne ofnced According to bim, millions of our compatriots are C\lJTmtly grappling with the rea.lJty of havmg lost thor homes, farmlands and sources of livelihood to the Hood and ow- narural lDSunct IS for all to rally round them for succour and to alleviate thor suffering. The Visafone founder pomted out that sance the Federal GO\'C:nUDent had led the path towards the victims' n:mteg:rauon, It beho\'cs on other weU-mearung Nigerians to follow swt and contribute to the fund to help thelT kmsmen at this moment of discomfort. Meanwhile, the labour and the Orgaruzed Private Sector have commended the gesture of Visafone 10 partakmg In the relld efforu describmg It as a good development which should be emulated by other tdecommurucauon companies Henry Okechun'U of the cement sector of the Manufacturer Associauon of Nigeria (MAN) said the donauon by Visafone ..-ould go a long way Ul assisting the F100d Relief Committee reahze Its mandate of proVIding succor to the Vlcums. In his own comment, TaJudeen Abegunde of the lron and Sted Union lauded Visafone as the only visible telecommunicauon company during the fund raising saying it only goes to show that Visafone has displayed unparalld patriotism as an indigenous company that IS ready to poslUvdy affect the people and environment withm which it operates. -It will be good If other telecom companies can follow Vlsafone's example and donate generously to aJll:viate the pams of the victims of the ftood disaster", he stated,

Agric agency engages 610,000 farmers for dry season farming

T

he Sokoto Rima Rh'C:f Basm Development

AuthOrity (SRRBDAI has engaged 610,000 farmen at its Talala Mafara irrigauon slle m Zamfara to boost dry season farming The Man&glng Director of SRRBDA. Halidu Yusuf, stated this at the Talata Mafara ungation SJte last v..-eek dunng the launch of wheat production and the 2012/2013 dry season ope:Tations for the year He said the launch lII.'BS the outcome of a two-year transforTllauon programme of the authont)' towards the eradication of poverty and mcreased food producuon for the .-dlbctng of the people,

Yusuf recalled that the proJCC1 culuvated 11,000 hectares in 20 I I and produced a large quanuty of rice and wheat through double farming, which had encouraged the project to invest more for the year. He said other food crops, such as cowpea, sweet potato, maize and beans would be culuv&ted on the land In the current season through tnple cropping by farming commumues m Mafara, Maradun and Bakura local government areas He 5a1d the authonty had acocpted to tnlin 50 youths, sent by the FedCflll O(J\'er'D1Dent, m unproved wheat production during the

""son He appealed to the Federal Government to conunue to buy more (amung cqwpment, herb lodes and other implements to ensure sustamability of the scheme and ensure mcreased agnculrural production. Sunilarly, the Federal Muusuy of Water Resources has said that II, 000 hectares of land ",-ould be utilised at the &kolon Irrigabon prOJect in Zam!ara for dry season operation. It was learnt that the irrigauon scheme has the potential of irrigating 23,000 hectares while only 4,000 hectares wc:n:: utilised In 20 I 1. The Minister or Water Resources, Sarah Ochekpe, made thiS knov."Tl at the launching or wheat production and the flag of 2012/2013 dry season farmmg on Thursday 10 Talala Mafara, Zamrara State Ochekpe S8Jd that the ObJective of the event v.'8S to encourage farmers to take ad\'anLage of ungauon projects to boosl food produclJon in the country ·We still have 12,000 hectares still left to be developed; many more can come on board, the launching p of the project shows that Nlgcna has a lot of potential to create JObs

through UTigation, ·We want to suswn this development for some couple of years until we ~ able to put the whole 23,000 hectares mto use, ~ a lot of youths out there thmking thc:n:: are no Jobs, can take the opporturuty or the UTlgaUon schemes to go IIllO farming and empower themselves. According to her, the Federal Government IS giving emphasis to 'Uo'heat and rice production to reduce the unpon&oon or such crops. The minister said: -I am aware that one or the major complaints of the wheat fanners IS market for their produce .• I would like to assure them that government has machmef), that the)' are encouraged to produce mon: by ensunng there will not be glut. ·Government In conJunction .,th the pnvate enterpnses m the IPlnt of Public Pnvate Partnersh1p will be invoilled in unprmmg the value cham of these crops" The event, she said was part of the Federal GO\'erruDent's eIron to boost food production in order to mitigate some of the food shortage that might occur due to the recenl floodmg m parts

of the country, In his address, Gov Abdul-Az1z Abubakar of Zamfara said that as pan of agricultural mitiatlVes, his admmlstrauon mtroduced a special irrigation scheme in 2011 Under the programme, the governor S8Jd that 1,000 tube wells and wash bores as 'Uo'ell as 1,000 v.'Bter pumps for irrigation fanning had been prOVIded He S8Jd the programme bad been specially designed to target \"8St array of peasant rannmg communities across the state 'Uo,th a VIew to malcing dry season rarmmg re~:arding, -Based on the report we hBVt': rec;c:Jvcd 110 far, the pilot PfUJcct5 has been oveT\\'he1mingly succcufw. !he lkauty of thiS programme IS that all the required Inputs, seeds, seedlings, fertihsen and agro chemicals were given to farmers on loan. ·Repayment 'Uo-ould be made through rajsing of improved seedlIngs of economic trees that ....,ould be planted to address the menace of desert encroachment and genctate mcome to the farmers" he added. The governor t.hanked the Federal Government for alIOCBUng three nee mills to the state, noung that the state government had indenufied three sites of live hectarn; each for the proJttl. Also speaking. Halidu YUM, the Managmg DlTector, Sakoto Rima Ri\'cr Development Authont)o'. said the office ...."8S expected to revitai1!1e and culbllate tv.1ce or thrice the SIZC presently cultivated. "WIth the re-mtroducuon of wheat producuon. m&.1ZC, l\I.ut potatoes, CO\\'})C8 and other vegetables. \\'e an: putung a road map to'A1lrds doubling and m some cases tnpling cropping in the project. !hc:n::by, engaging Oller 610,000 people m the three local governments hosting the


pr'OJecL He, however, solidted more suppon on seeds and other farms mputs wch as f~, insecoades, herbicides and additional fann madunc::ry. The rughlight of the event _ the distnbution of wheat seeds to .ame selected (ann . . .

Ochekpe tasks farmers on dry season farming

S

arah Ochckpe, the Mlfllster

of Water Resources, hat urged fanners to ea::abrace dry season fanrung to boost food production in the country Ocbdcpc ga..-e the adVK:e In an mt.crV1ew With the News Agency of Nigena (NAN) In Ilonn. She aaJd that the governmenl had set aside sufficent funds to boost agncultU1"lll production fOf" the dry .eason_ ··Nigerians should not only rdy on farming during the l1W1y season but explore other opporturuties. ~e are domg famun& on a amaIl scale but __-e _'ant more people to be Invoh-ed in thiS dry aeason fartllUl£. lbat way, we IlI"e also creating more JObs, getting many people busy," abc said. The minister also Uld that the government would soon launch dry season farmma m Katatna, MlUdugwi and Bakolan, Zamfara. ·We arc workinC on that becaux Prea1dent Goodluc::k Jonathan had mformed NigerianS that we wouJd embark on the transformation of the Agncu1rural sector, " she Ia1d _ The mmister also SlUd that. reservOtra built in vanous pans of the country 'A'en auned at boosting fish productJon and lITigation farmmg

OANA Steel workers protest mass sack, exploitation o rkers of DANA Sled Company, KataU'la, last .-eck protested what thev called .. -mass saclc:in& and explollatJon- by management

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The spokesman for the workers, PI:tcr Obi, told Dew.lDen in Kat.atna that the union and management or the company had met In Lagos the previous week and agreed 00 issues rdaung to staff retrenchment and reW'ement age Obi UJd dunna the meeting, the management promacd that it wouJd not retrench any worker. ·But to our surprise, just WIthin fow days, man: than 30 worken _-ere aacked for unknown reasons, and they ~-e families to take CIlI'e of" He IUJd that some of the sacked workcn were later given contract appomtment, and placed on fiat salary Kale, irrespective of their qualifications and worIang expcnence.· "We want OUT head office and the world to know that th,. IS what IS happerung in the company ~cy don' recogrllae ceruficate and they treat us like slaves; tlus onty happens to Nigerians working in the company," Obi alleged that recently, machines of the company cut off the hands of two workers and mJured five othen, but the managea::acnt I'ailcd to cater for thcu- medical tTeatmcnL "We will oot resume normal work until the company recalls all the sacked worken and tTcat us like human beings. - Rcacuna to the a1lcgauoos, the company's Human Resources Manaaer, AIhaji Abdusaalam KablT, IUJd the organisation did not victimize any worker. ·There must be reason for saclang • worker and I don' need to c:xp1am tlus.· KabtT also said that the management had nC'YC:r" VIOlated any agreement and would di.cuss Wlth the tuuon's reprcsentauves to solve the maner amlCSibJy,

Aganga urges Nigeria, S.Africa to strengthen economic growth in Africa IUsegun Aganga, the Mmistcr of Trade and InvestmCllt, has urged Nigena

O

and South Afnca to take advantagc or tht: wmdO".\' of opporturuties available In thcu economies to strengthen economic growth on the continenL Aganga who stated this at a dtnner dialogue organised by the Nigeria Consulate m South Africa and co· hosted by Financial Times and Brand South Africa in Johannesburg. said that the t'il"O countnes must not allow the opponuruccs to pa... WIthout being exploited for the benefit of thcu- CtlZenS and for the people in the COntlnenL Nigena and South Africa have the fastest economic growth In the coounent, If Africa must take advantage of the current global economic meltdown to boost ~ tn the afriCSi, then the t1iIo"O couotncs need to work togeth.. -'The two countnes have to complement each other m area of compllTAtJVe advantage. There IS no countnes that can develop its economy without industriahsalion, South Africa is the leader In Africa in that "'<A-

But N~ has the ad"antage in area of markrt and raw matenal over many countnal, Nigena has the largest populatJon m Afnca, an Investment m Niseria IS a ga~..y into the ECOWAS WIth about 300 millioo populatJon, Nigcna IS a market nobody can Ignore, Aganga ....d. He SlUd that Nigeria IS no longer interested in investorl coming into the country to apon raw matcnal out of the country. What ",oe "'-ant are lI1ve5lOn Kluna up mdusuy and manuCactunn8 plants in the counuy, to help pnMde employment for our youths and ever If'OWlng population . .. Nigeria IS diecuuing .'tth South AfnCSi OD ways to coUaborate in aetuog up automobile plants m NlgenL Then: are opporturuues m minlng. not for exportation alone, but for muung of the mtnenli for proceasinC and production," Aganga UJd. He II8ld that then: we-e untapped potentials in the agncu1rural sector, ....ymg, Nigeria IS blessed Wlth 84 million of acre of land, when: everything and anythIng can grow. But the agncuJture scctoT of OUT economy is not fuIJy tapped We .'&11t In\utOri m the agnculrun: sector not only m the area of planung and harvesung of agncultuN' product, but also in area of food proccsllllla and storage , thiS IS an area whCTC South Africa can come in, becaux they are weU ahead of other Afnca countnes m food processina and st~ ."Then: are also busmeas

opponunuit:t; in oil and gas, Nlgcna ,. the l~t PToduCC:T of oil and gas m the conunent and invc:stment opportunities 111 that St:CtOT IS open, " Agolnga

.....

He said NIgc:nB can also learn from South ACne. in service and mfrastructure devdopmenL Aganga II8ld the Nigerian government has put in place economy policies to encourage foTCign mvcstmenL ··Nigc:na government as provided mcenuves to fOTC:lgn 1I1veston to come and Invesl in the counuy. ··Part of the new pobcy is 48 houn company regastrauon, 100 per cent fOreign owneratup, generous corpomte tu: holiday and repatriation of profit and dividend through legal means. ··Also stabihty of exchange Tate for a long time is pan of government economic polices to encourage fOTC:lgn investment, .. Aganp ....d Amb. Olugbcnp Asturu, Nigc:nan FOTC:Ign AIrau-a muuster represented by Amb. Sonni Yusuf, Nigerian High Commissioner in South Afnca, Ia1d South African bUSlncu commuruty should take advantage of liberalisauon of VISA ~ent to VISIt Nigeria. ' Then: have bt:t:n • dd.ibcrate policy to libcrabse Visa reqwrements mlO Nigeria. m this regard, u policy of three years muluple cnuy Visa has been approved , while in extreme caaes, visa can could be ISSUed at pomlS of enuy to genume bustness people. Also all our foreign miSSIon are mandated to streamhne In uance of visas 9.'lthtn 48 hours, to businessmen and ."Omen ," AsIuru ... d He, however, call on South Afnca government to rcaprocate the Nigeria government visa pobcy to encourage fnendJy business relationship betwcc:n the two couotncs .

Nigerian Consul..Qeneral, Okey £muchay II8ld the dialogue was a follow up to the agreement reached between Nigeria and South Afnca dunng the BI·Nauonal CommJUlon held In Cape Town in May. Nlgena is a huge country Wlth lot of opportunices; I call on South A!nca investors to tap into the incenUvcs gI'IeD by Nl£Cf18ZI government to foreign investors and ll1vest 111 the NIgerian economy " There IS need fot regular dialogue ~ the two countnes to engage each other and strengthen the much needed trus t and coUaboratlon towards building stronger economic rcJalionatup, .. Emuchay saJd Chief E::Itccuuvc OffiCC:T of N18cna. South Afnca Chamber of Commerce, Dianne Gamcs, m her remarks, ....d Nigena and

South Africa have lot to gam from each other She, however, empbaSlsed the need fot trust, cordial econOmiC and pohtical relationship between the two countries

Govt urged to make port operations less expensive takeholders in the Mantlme sectOT have urged the Federal Government 10 formulate polices that __-auld make operauons III Nigerian pons leu cxpcnSlVC The stakeholders, who made the call m xpanlte mtCfV1ev... WIth the News Agency of Nigeria CHAN) m Lagos, said that the measure would rank Nlgcna among the best 20 nauons in the world by

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2020 Emcka Apan., DtreCtor of Pubbcity, National Council of Manag:ma Dtrcctor of ucenacd CUstoms Agents. SBld that It ...s not about malana polices but ensunng that the polle es ""-ere Implemented inlde is • thing that has to do WIth cost and thai IS why compama aJl over the world are looiang for when they can get the Icnr.ut costs and _-hen they set It, they tend 10 patronix that place.


NATIONAL MIRROR, 19 NOVEMBER, 2012  

Agric agency engages 610,000 farmers for dry season farming

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