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14022018 - Workers flee as herdsmen overrun LG offices in Ondo

Vanguard Newspaper 14 February 2018

22 — Vanguard,

22 — Vanguard, WEDNESDAY, FEBRUARY 14, 2018 Cashew farmers want FG to re-evaluate port activities T heNational C a s h e w Association of Nigeria (NCAN) has appealed to the Federal Government to take measures to instill efficiency in the country’s ports to facilitate export with emphasis on agricultural perishable produce. The President of the association, Mr Tola Faseru, who made the appeal in Abuja during the week, said that present chaos and duplication of efforts at the ports were slowing down export, noting that the country was losing huge foreign exchange as a result of the delay. He also appealed to the government to give all necessary support to c o m p a n i e s constructing roads at the ports to engender speed. The president said that more equipment should also be deployed at the ports for loading and off-loading of goods to hasten operations. “There should be better efficiency at the ports, so the process at the ports should be reevaluated. “The key actors like terminal operators at the ports are the major service providers, they need to be more efficient to be able to handle the chaos there at the moment. “Our ports should be smarter to help agencies do their work.” Faseru said that slow operations at the ports had resulted to increase in transaction costs for exporters, adding that this has implications on the cost of agricultural produce at the international market. He explained that cargo forwarding which previously cost N5, 000 per tonne was presently being sold for about N15, 000 per tonne. “Transaction cost has NANTs host workshop on CAADP The National Association of Nigerian Traders (NANTS) will be hold a capacity-building workshop on Agricultural Policy Instruments in Abuja tomorrow for media practitioners. Speaking on the one day workshop, Godswill Aguiyi said the increased tremendously, a transaction that should take 45 days now takes between 90 and 120 days. “Goods are getting spoilt in warehouses, goods that are meant to be in the warehouse for one week, take longer time and most of them are perishable agricultural goods. “When a company gives you an order and they are expecting you to deliver in February and you are bringing it in June, they will have •Farmers with their millet harvest in Yobe State Kogi woos agric investors By Michael Eboh & Gabriel Ewepu ABUJA- Governor of Kogi State, Yahaya Bello, has called on private sector investors to join hands with his government for the transformation and modernisation of the agricultural sector. Speaking at the Kogi State Agricultural Summit in conjunction with Nigeria Investment P r o m o t i o n Commission, NIPC, weekend, he said government alone cannot do it but will provide the enabling environment, while the private sector becomes the engine of growth. Bello who was represented by the Speaker of the State workshop is for journalists to understand the Comprehensive African Agricultural Programme (CAADP). He said “for a g r i c u l t u r a l stakeholders, the media has been identified as a major stakeholder in the implementation of the Comprehensive African Agricultural Programme. a rethink. “There are huge losses for exporters and the economy, I am sure that within the last eight months, there is no way we would not have lost nothing less than $2 billion,” he said. The president also solicited the support of the Federal Government to procure no fewer than 2.5 million jute bags needed for the packaging of cashew. House of Assembly, Kolawole Matthew, also highlighted major achievements in the state’s agricultural sector, which include N1 billion investment on production of cassava, rice, cashew and other staple crops across 21 local government areas of the state. He also noted the purchase of agricultural machinery and equipment, massive investment on land clearing, investment in rural network of roads to assist in evacuation of agricultural produce among other achievements. “In fact, in Kogi State, there is no processing at any significant level; hence, whatever we do to provide market for our finished products will go a long way. Backward Integration leads to efficiency in sourcing and economic viability as it leads to reduction in cost of importation. The Kogi State Commissioner for Agriculture, Oloruntoba Kehinde, said investors should take advantage of the youth population and vast arable land for investment following the governor’s political will to meet their needs. •A member of Aviation Unions Grand Alliance (AUGA) fainted during the Peaceful rally over refusal by the Ministry of Finance to pay the entitlement of ex-workers/ pensioners of Nigeria Airways that was approved eight months ago by the Federal Government in Lagos recently. Over 900 Ex-Nigeria Airways workers die awaiting severance pay By Victor Ahiuma-Young NO fewer than 900 pensioners of the defunct Nigerian Airways, have died while waiting for payment of their terminal benefits. Chairman of Nigerian Airways’ branch of the Nigerian Union of Pensioners (NUP), Mr Sam Ezene, who disclosed this to Pension and You, lamented that one other Airways pensioner died in the morning of February 6, before the commencement of the pensioners’ protest against unpaid N45 billion approved by the Federal Government to pay their severance benefits. According to him: “Over 900 of our members have unfortunately died since the battle started. In fact, one person died in Lagos in the morning before we started the protest. The 900 we are talking about are those that were reported to us. There were reports of two deaths on February 2. We are not talking about those in the villages that we do not have report on. So, it has been so bad. Most of them died for lack of money to take care of their health and other necessities.” 7 die in one week It will be recalled that in October 2017, it was disclosed that about seven of the former employees had died in one week as they continued to await the release of the N45 billion approved by the Federal Government for the payment of their entitlements. The Chairman of the Nigeria Airways Elders Forum, Godwin Jibodu, while speaking with journalists in Lagos, lamented that they have lost seven colleagues within the last one week because they could not afford proper treatment for their ailments. "This is very sad because the government has approved N45 billion since June for payment of our pensions and gratuities.” Mr. Jibodu named the dead former Airways workers as Capt. Asuquo, Capt. Akintaju, M. K. Amah, Bose Oladumiye, Onyebuchi Anunobi, Adebayo Awoyinka, T. Bellgam and Ebenezer Akinbode. According to him, another former worker of the defunct airline, Charles Ntanyi, had been missing since August this year after boarding a commercial bus at night in Ogba, Lagos. Mr. Jibodu lamented that the pensioners were wallowing in abject poverty after serving the nation meritoriously at the Nigeria Airways. Block Lagos Airport road Recall that on February 6, the pensioners blocked the Lagos Airport road for hours, protesting continued delay in the release of N45 billion approved by the Federal Executive Council, FEC, for the payment of their accumulated benefits. The protest which started with a rally at the open field opposite the Skypower Catering Service premises at about 9.30am, caused unprecedented gridlock for hours on the airport road and its environs even after the protest ended. FEC had in September 2017 approved the payment of N45 billion that the exworkers have been fighting for since former President Olusegun Obasanjo liquidated the national carrier in 2004. Displaying several placards with inscriptions such as “President Buhari, save us from Kemi Adeosun now,” ”Mrs Adeosun, your action and inaction are man’s inhumanity to man,” “Madam Minister of Finance, where is our pension and entitlements, pay us now,” the aggrieved pensioners blamed the Minister of Finance, Mrs Kemi Adeosun for the delay. They chanted solidarity songs and demanded explanation from the minister on the cause of the delay in the payment. According to them, the N45 billion is out of the N78 billion pensions owed them by government. Addressing the protesters, Mr Ezene appealed to President Muhammedu Buhari to direct Adeosun to release the pension entitlements. Ezene noted that the affected pensioners had earlier pleaded with the Ministry of Finance to release the N45 billion without response, saying “The Federal Executive Council in September 2017 approved the payment of N45 billion which was part of pension entitlements of the defunct Nigerian Airways workers. In spite of our peaceful protests at the Ministry of Finance and the National Assembly in December, our entitlements have not been paid. Hopelessness and depression are killing our members and this is why we want the public to know that we are going through a lot of pains and anger.” C M Y K

Vanguard, WEDNESDAY, FEBRUARY 14, 2018—23