Sokoto Customs Confirms Death of 35-Year Old Rice Smuggler

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By ‎Abdallah el-Kurebe 

The Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) has confirmed the death of a 35-year old smuggler, Shuaibu Lawal as a result of a clash between a group of smugglers and men of the Service. 

Briefing news men in Sokoto on Monday, the Customs Area Comptroller (CAC) in charge of Sokoto, Kebbi and Zamfara states, Sani Madugu said that the ugly incident happened around Gwadabawa on Sokoto – Illela road.

“A life was lost during clash between rice smugglers and men of the Customs,” he confirmed adding that “the Command immediately mobilised the Operations Unit and all those on duty were handed over to the Police for investigation.”

Madugu, who disclosed that one of the officers of the Command was machetted  ‎and lying at the Trauma section of Usmanu Danfodiyo University Teaching Hospital (UDUTH), Sokoto also said that four Customs formations were burnt down by some unidentified people.

“We are not happy with this ugly development‎ and the Comptroller General of Customs will not accept what happened. We will rely on the investigation of the Police and if found wanting, officers involved will be dealt with accordingly,” he said.

He appealed to the people of the state to remain calm because “whatever the Police investigation reveals will be relied upon on the matter.‎

Posted by Abdallah el-kurebe

Measles: Sokoto Immunizes One Million Children in Three Months

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‎By Abdallah el-Kurebe ‎

‎During the past three months, one million children have been immunized against measles and other child-killer diseases in Sokoto state. 

‎A statement signed by the Special Adviser to Governor Aminu Waziri Tambuwal on Media, Imam Imam stated that the Commissioner of Health, Shehu Kakale briefed governor Aminu Waziri on progress of the ongoing immunisation efforts in the state where he explained that the renewed commitment by the government had resulted in reaching many remote locations for the administering of vaccines on children.‎

According to the statement, efforts to improve quality, efficacy and storage of vaccines included the provision of cold stores in rural areas by the state government to ensure that children at the grassroots level got vaccinated on time.‎

Kakale further told Tambuwal that stakeholders in the health sector had adopted the ‘Tambuwal Initiative,’ which aims to enhance the work of health field officers in their localities.

“The Tambuwal Initiative came about after the Governor introduced new measures to boost immunisation and healthcare activities. These measures include setting aside two hours of his time every month to chair the meeting of the steering committee on immunisation in the state, directing top government functionaries, led by the Deputy Governor, to chair the bi-monthly meeting on polio.

“Also, the initiative ensures that the Governor, through the ministry for local government, takes charge of the payment of entitlements of officials for Routine Immunisation (RI) and Immunisation Plus Day (IPDs), personally taking charge of engagement with all non-compliant communities and assigning all local government areas to cabinet members to ensure hands-on approach in dealing with immunisation and other health issues,” Kakale added.

The Commissioner said even though there are cases of parents skeptical about having their children immunised, the number has reduced drastically, due to enlightenment campaigns and community dialogue embarked upon by the state government in collaboration with religious and traditional leaders.      ‎

Posted by Abdallah el-kurebe

Polio: Sokoto Records Improved Compliance

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By ‎Abdallah el-Kurebe 

As Nigeria strategies for a final kick-out of poliomyelitis from its domain, Sokoto South local government  of Sokoto state has recorded an improvement on targeted children to be immunized against the first round, which took place in January.

On the first day of the ‎Immunisation Plus Days (IPDs), which began on Saturday, the local government immunized 14,619 of the total target population (TP) of 17,268 children.

Reports of Focal Persons from ‎the 11 wards indicated appreciable improvement from what obtained during the January round.

Of a total of 411 households (HHs), 611 children were initially recorded as absent. However, before the end of the day, 307 households with 462 children were ‎resolved, leaving 104 households with 149 to be resolved.

Relatively, although 320 households with 633 children were initially recorded as non compliant (NC), 101 households with 194 children were resolved, leaving 219 with 439 children to be resolved.

‎Similarly, Sokoto South local government has set up ‘Ardo teams’ aimed at capturing the children of the nomadic Fulani people at‎ various fulani settlements in the eleven wards of the local government.‎
Of interest is that local government had set up seven Non Compliance Resolution Committees to resolve cases of rejection and non compliance during the four-day exercise. Each team is comprised of one health worker, one religious leader and a traditional ruler.

Posted by Abdallah el-kurebe

Gov. Atiku Bagudu: Championing Smallholders’ Landholding in Nigeria

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     Gov. Atiku Bagudu of Kebbi state

By ‎Abdallah el-Kurebe ‎

All countries that depend on agriculture hold smallholder farmers in high esteem. When this group of farmers, who are mostly on subsistence scale, are protected enough by government policies on Agriculture, food security is guaranteed.

It is on this note that Atiku Bagudu, governor of Kebbi state is advocating for immeasurable support for this group of farmers in order to achieve the food security target of the federal government. ‎

The governor harped on this need when he hosted the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ) Zone A meeting, which is composed of Northwestern states of the country, recently in Birnin Kebbi.

In a frank and unambiguous manner, Bagudu posited that in spite of an imaginative thinking that Nigeria’s land mass is wide, the fact is that there is no land for farming. “We do not have land. We are only imagining that we have, land,” he said.

One will tend to understanding the position of the governor considering the fact that Kebbi state is one of the eleven front-line states that are threatened by desertification. Most parts of the land has covered by intruding sand dunes, thereby reducing the land mass.

Bagudu’s prayer is for the federal government to create enabling environment for farmers by making agriculture so attractive to them so that he would take advantage of that to sweep all youths off the streets of towns and villages to the farm. ‎

His take is that “more technical methods are not known to farmers, modern methods of planting, including spacing are not known to them,” adding that “you don’t have the luxury of farming the way you are used to, if you need higher yields.” 

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The governor is passionate about ensuring a “realisable value from smallholder farms by which way we will protect their landholding.” he sees no reason that would make farmers be stripped of their landholding. 

Bagudu is targeting mass rice production and the government aims at providing N1.68 billion for 1,000 farmers. Recently, each of the 70,000 rice farmers got N210,000 even as he projects a 4.5 tonnes per hectare and an approximate 700 tonnes, annually. In the next two years, he aims at one million tonnes.

For this reason, Bagudu needs a level-playing field by the federal government so that, in the first instance, 250,000 youths would be mopped into rice farming, because for him, government should make farming environment conducive to be able to produce food for Nigerians, thereby reducing over-dependence on imported farm produce. ‎

Kebbi state was recently chosen for the launching of the Presidential Initiative on Rice and Wheat Production. As one who is passionate about rice farming, the governor is not in ‎support of the importation of foreign rice, because according to him, it is not safe. “Most of the rice that is imported is seven years old. How is that preserved? There is imperialism in the food system. Local production should be encouraged,” he stressed adding, “we are among the producers of high quality rice, which does not come from Thailand, etc.

Bagudu sees agriculture as a viable business for the youths. “Is agriculture an option for our youths? Let’s think of what can work for them. Agriculture can be a business for our young ones because there are many things in our agriculture value chain that can benefit the society.”

To qualify the meeting, a paper titled: “Revitalising ‎Agriculture as a Tool for Economic Growth and Food Security: The Case of Kebbi State Initiative on Rice Production” was presented by the Director of Centre for Agricultural and Pastoral Research (CAPAR) of Usmanu Danfodiyo University Sokoto (UDUS), Prof. Lawali Abubakar.

Posted by Abdallah el-kurebe

British Council, UDUS Organise Active National Study Visit in Sokoto

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By Abdallah el-Kurebe 

The British Council in partnership with Usmanu Danfodiyo University Sokoto is organising the 1st Active Citizens National Study Visit in Sokoto, Nigeria. 

According to a statement signed and made available to newsmen by the Communications Manager of British Council, Desmond Omovie, the week long programme will attract “a group of 60 Active Citizens from Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria; Bayero University, Kano; Federal University, Dutse; Global Youth Leadership and Girl Child Foundation; Kudirat Initiative for Democracy, Sule Lamido University, Kafin-Hausa; Young Men’s Christian Association and the Youth Empowerment and Development Initiative.”

He added that those would join their hosts from the Usmanu Danfodiyo University, Sokoto to learn how they had created projects that have improved the lives of communities in Sokoto.

Omovie explained that the programme works with young people, educators and civil society organisations to run social action projects that have positive impact on their communities.

The statement quoted the Director Society of the Council, Mohammed Ahmed as saying, “The National Study Visit is an opportunity for the great network of partners we have in Nigeria to share their experience of leading change in communities across different parts of the country, learn about the incredible cultural diversity of Nigeria and inspire each other to develop new collaborative projects.”

An Active Citizen from Lagos State Polytechnic, Modinat Adetoro: “With the Active Citizens project, I can impact the lives of female students around me to make them see leadership as what females can also embark upon instead of just being bookworms.”

During the National Study Visit, Omovie further explained, the Chief Host, Vice Chancellor of Usmanu Danfodiyo University, Professor Abdullahi Zuru  and Chief Executive of the British Council, Sir Ciaran Devane will present Sultan Muhammad Sa’ad Abubakar with an award as the Royal Patron of the Active Citizens programme in Nigeria.

Posted by Abdallah el-kurebe

Enrolling the GGWSSI in the Fight Against Desertification in Nigeria

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‎By Abdallah el-Kurebe 

Facts

> The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) says that degradation of about two billion of hectares of arable land is due to population pressures in 64 of 105 countries.

‎> The United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA) says 11 states in Northern Nigeria -Adamawa, Bauchi, Borno, Gombe and Yobe state in the northeast Nigeria and Jigawa, Kano, Katsina, Kebbi, Sokoto and Zamfara ‎in the northwest, are threatened by desertification.

> Studies by the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA), Ibadan show that the rate of deforestation in Nigeria is about 3.5 percent, translating to a loss of between 350,000 and 400,000 hectares of forest land per year.

One of the greatest challenges in human history is before us. It is desertification, which has brought decline in biodiversity, with consequences on economic productivity of the affected lands. 

The statistics of desertification in Africa is alarming, especially in the Sahara/Sahel regions where the sand has become an enemy that is being feared.‎ The creeping desertification is causing droughts. Food security is threatened by the intruding sands. 

It is on record that about 43 percent of Nigeria’s total land area is under the threat of desertification with the resultant deleterious effect on food security, sustainable livelihoods and social security of the affected communities of over 40 million people.

Of the total of 19 states that compose northern Nigeria, 11 are hit by desertification. This reason gave vent for Nigeria to propose the Great Green Wall for the Sahara and the Sahel Initiative (GGWSSI).

It is a pan-African adopted by the African Union in 2007 when it also adopted Declaration 137 VIII, which approved the decision on the implementation of the Green Wall for the Sahara Initiative.

In Nigeria, the National Agency for the Great Green Wall (NAGGW) is the domestication of the ‎GGWSSI, a Multilateral Environmental Agreements (MEAs) signed by Burkina Faso, Chad, Djibouti, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Mali, Mauritania, Niger, Nigeria, Senegal and Sudan at a convention in Ndjamena, Chad in June 2010 to create the Great Green Wall (GGW) agency.

‎Nigeria’s GGW strengthens the need for the country’s enrollment of all MEAs in the fight against desertification. Only this will lead to on-the-hand delivery that would control desert encroachment and other climate-related challenges.

The vision of the GGW is to combat ecological degradation, which in turn would tackle poverty. Over the years, climate variability, frequent droughts, poor management of land and water resources have caused rivers and lakes to dry up and contribute to degradation of soils in the Sahel-Saharan region.

Victor Ndoma-Egba, a former Senate leader, who sponsored the bill that became a law establishing the NAGGW to implement the Great Green Wall programme in Nigeria said, “‎the specific goal of the Initiative is to address land degradation and desertification in the Sahara and Sahel region, enhance food security and support communities to adapt to climate change.”

One of the human causes of desertification is deforestation. And, according to FAO, Nigeria has the highest rate of deforestation in the world. Between 1990 and 2005, Nigeria lost a total of 35.7 percent of its forest cover, translating to 6,145,000 hectares. 

Nigeria must therefore use all available MEAs in the fight against desertification. This is especially because funding for most projects that are based on international conventions on the environment, are available.

According to the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Global Enrivonment Facility) GEF), Monique Barbut, GEF is determined to fund specific projects that bear on international conventions on the environment. “The projects funded by the GEF fall within the purview of strategies that reflect the thrust of international conventions on the environment.”

In addition, Nigeria should lead all African countries that have the problems of desertification in the fight against this challenge. The country should implement all other international protocols bordering on environment, to check the menace of desertification. 

Posted by Abdallah el-kurebe

Electricity Outage: KAEDCO Apologies to Customers in Kebbi, Sokoto, Zamfara

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               A power station

By Abdallah el-Kurebe

Following the electricity outage being experienced in Kebbi, Sokoto and Zamfara states, the Management of Kaduna Electricity Distribution Company (KAEDCO) has apologised to its customers in these states.

According to a statement signed and issued by the Head of Corporate Communications of the company, Abdulazeez Abdullahi in Sokoto on Thursday, the fault was identified to have occurred ‎on Wednesday on the Kainji – Kebbi transmission line.

“We sincerely apologise to our teeming customers in Kebbi, Sokoto and Zamfara states for the electricity outage. This is as a result of fault which occurred yesterday at about 2:00pm on the Kainji-Birnin Kebbi 330KV transmission power line,” the statement read in parts.

The statement explained that already, a  team of Engineers from the Transmission Company of Nigeria (TCN) Birnin Kebbi works centre was trying to identify the problem for rectification. 

“A team of engineers from the Birnin Kebbi Works Centre of Transmission Company of Nigeria (TCN) has commenced patrol of the line with the view to identifying and rectifying the fault. We are hoping that they will overcome the situation in due course,” the statement further read, adding, “We sincerely regret the inconveniences and hardship this is causing our customers in the above named states. This is not a deliberate act.”

Punish Parents Who Fail to Send Their Wards to School, Sultan Advocates

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           Sultan Sa’ad Abubakar III

By Abdallah el-Kurebe

Sultan of Sokoto and President of the Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs (SCIA) has advocated for the introduction of penal laws that would punish parents in northern Nigeria, who refused to send their wards to school.

The Sultan was speaking during the project launch of the Northern Education Initiative Plus (NEI-P) by Sokoto state government in collaboration with the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), which held at the Presidential Lodge in Sokoto on Tuesday.

According to him, “There should be laws to punish any parent who fails to send his children to school so that anyone who refuses to send his ward would be penalised,” he emphasised.

He commended Sokoto state government for introducing compulsory education. “We are much pleased when we see our leaders given priority to education,” adding that government’s declaration of state of emergency in education was a welcome idea “because it is our responsibility to ensure that our children go to school at all cost.”

The Sultan assured of the Sultanate’s preparedness to partner with government and other organisation in the provision of quality education for the children.

He stressed that aside from Qur’anic education, northerners should also learn western education, which according to him, “is equally important.”

Sultan Sa’ad queried that although he pioneered the introduction of Almajiri integrated system, he worries that the tempo had gone down.

“We advocated for the introduction of the Almajiri integrated system and donated my personal property for the construction of the school, which former president Jonathan commissioned. We however notice that the tempo has gone down. One does not know what is happening there now,” he lamented.

The Monarch also disclosed that he was spearheading the establishment of a medical university for female students. “All paperwork has been concluded. We are collaborating with various national and international organisations and individuals, including Bill Gates. It may take long but we are determined to do it,” he said.

Also speaking, the USAID Nigeria Mission Director, Michael Harvey said that through substantial increase of funding for education, the Agency was there to re-calibrate education in the two states.

Emphasising the importance of school feeding, the Mission Director observed that “families will easily allow their children to go to school in the global initiative that is supported by the US in a seamless partnership with state governments.”

Sokoto state governor, Aminu Tambuwal who was represented by his deputy, Ahmed Aliyu assured that every child in the state would receive quality education. “To achieve this, we have declared state of emergency on and appropriated 27 percent of the state’s budget to education.”

Funded by USAID, the five-year NEI-P program is aimed at strengthening the ability of Bauchi and Sokoto states to provide access to quality education, especially for girls, orphans and children enrolled in non traditional schools and improve children’s reading skills for more than two million school-aged children and youth.

Posted by Abdallah el-kurebe

Over 6,000 Needy Get N41.5m Zakat in Sokoto

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Chairman of Sokoto State Zakat and Endowment committee, Alhaji Lawal Maidoki

By Abdallah el-Kurebe 

The Sokoto State Zakat and Endowment Committee has began disbursement of N41.5 million to 6,384 needy persons across the state.
Inaugurating the disbursement at Amanawa Leprosy hospital in Dange Shuni local government of Sokoto state on Tuesday, the Chairman of the committee, Alhaji Lawal Maidoki said that the exercise was for the month of January 2016.

According to him, “The state government provides the money to the committee every month for disbursement to the beneficiaries. Every beneficiary gets N6,500 with the gesture being extended to the physically-challenged persons across the state since 2007.”

Commending the state government for making such provision, Maidoki explained that the exercise was aimed at discouraging street begging, adding that “the gesture has been assisting the needy.”

Posted by Abdallah el-kurebe

DPR Seals Eight Petrol Stations in Kebbi, Sokoto

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             A typical petrol station

By Abdallah el-Kurebe

‎The Sokoto Zonal Operations Controller of the Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR), Muhammad Makera has said that his office had sealed eight independent petroleum stations in Sokoto and Kebbi States for selling the product above the approved pump price of N86.50 per litre.
Giving an update of the supply situation of fuel in Sokoto on Tuesday,‎ Makera disclosed that the five sealed stations in Sokoto state and three in Kebbi, were selling the product at N105 per liter and above.

According to him, while each of the affected filling stations was fined N100,000, the product was sold to general public N86.50.

He added that the Department was collaborating with the Department of State Services (DSS) to stop filling stations from operating at night. “Some of them were in the habit of dispensing products from 6pm after our officials had closed from work.‎ DSS operatives will be assisting us by surveiling on all the 609 filling stations currently licensed in the two states,” Makera said.

Posted by Abdallah el-kurebe