Consignments of Colorado concealed in vehicles imported from Montreal, Canada, and packs of cannabis juice flown in from South Africa, meant for distribution ahead of the Christmas festive season, have been intercepted by operatives of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA).
The seizures were made at the Tincan seaport, Apapa, and Murtala Mohammed International Airport, Ikeja, both in Lagos State.
A statement on Sunday by the spokesman of the anti-narcotics agency, Femi Babafemi said at least 12 suspects including two dock workers and a wine shop businessman have so far been arrested in connection with the two seizures as well as the recovery of 152 kilograms of skunk from two dealers in Kano; 100,000 pills of tramadol in Imo state and 520 kilograms of cannabis hidden in soft drinks crates loaded in a truck coming to Abuja.
He disclosed that at the SAHCO import shed of the Lagos airport, the search of a consolidated cargo from South Africa led to the discovery of smuggled bottled cannabis juice with a gross weight of 16.5 kilograms last Wednesday, noting that .investigations by anti-narcotics officers subsequently led to the arrest of four freight agents: Soremekun Olalekan, Olufisayo Dayo; Moruf Olusegun and Imole Moses, whose statements eventually led to the arrest of the consignee, a wine shop business owner, Emebede Chuka, last Thursday.
Babafemi said also an attempt to export quantities of cannabis and ecstasy pills known as MDMA concealed in the beverage drink, Bournvita, in containers to Dubai, UAE, through the NAHCO export shed last Friday was frustrated, with a vulcanizer given the assignment for a fee of N4,000, Iyanda Ogunleye has been arrested.
He said in the same vein, a consignment of 185 parcels of cannabis Indica, popularly called Colorado weighing 61.3 kilograms have been seized during a joint examination of a container at the Tincan seaport, Lagos. The container marked MSCU5206726 from Montreal, Canada was declared as containing three units of used vehicles but upon a 100% examination, it was found to contain two vehicles; a 2009 Toyota Corolla car and a 2009 Ford Econoline bus as well as used car engines, bicycles, shoes and other items including the drugs, adding that two dock workers: Abdulquadri Abdulazeez and Ogbuji Kenneth are already in NDLEA custody in connection with the seizure following their initial arrest by the Port Security and the Police.
Babafemi said in Kano State, two suspects: Nura Zakariya’u and Alkasim Abubakar were arrested along Zaria-Kano road, Kwanar Dangora, with 161 blocks of cannabis weighing 152 kilograms and various quantities of Exol and codeine-based syrup, while a total of 100,000 pills of tramadol were recovered from a suspect, Amaechi Johnson in Imo state on his way to Onitsha, Anambra state, adding that a total of 708 kilograms of cannabis were recovered by operatives from a bus at Ehinogbe, Owo area of Ondo state last Tuesday.
In his reaction to the arrests and seizures, Chairman/Chief Executive Officer of NDLEA, Brig. Gen. Buba Marwa commended the officers and men of the MMIA, Tincan, Kano, Ondo, Imo and FCT commands for their vigilance, professionalism, and robust working relationship with other security agencies in their areas of responsibility but urged them and their compatriots across the country to ensure no gram of illicit substance escapes their checks into the streets during the festive season and beyond. He also wished them and their families a Merry Christmas celebration and a prosperous new year in advance.
Defence Minister Lauds Zulum, Says You’ve Risked Your Life For Nigerian Military
Borno State Governor, Babagana Zulum, has continuously given incredible support to the Nigerian military and in many instances risked his life visiting frontlines to motivate troops, the Minister of Defence, Mohammed Badaru Abubakar has stated.
The minister made the remarks on Tuesday at the council chamber of the Borno State Government House in Maiduguri.
He said: “My brother (Governor Babagana Zulum), the troops here in Borno and indeed the Chief of Defence Staff (CDS) asked me to send their appreciation to you for all the support that you have been rendering to the military. You have been supporting us in all our operations, thank you most sincerely. Sometimes you even risk your life supporting and encouraging our personnel, we appreciate you.”
The minister noted that their visit was at the instance of President Bola Tinubu to assess the security situation in the theatre of operations in Borno State to see the end of over a decade of insurgency.
The minister spoke in the presence of his colleague, the Minister of State for Defence, Dr. Bello Mutawalle, the Chief of Defence Staff, General Christopher Musa, the Chief of Army Staff, Lt General Taoreed Lagbaja, the Chief of Naval Staff, Vice Admiral Emmanuel Ogala and the Chief of Air Staff, Air Marshal Hassan Abubakar, all of whom were on the trip to Borno State.
In his response, Governor Babagana Zulum reiterated his commitment to continue to support the Nigerian military in the fight against the Boko Haram insurgency across the northeast.
He said: “As Governor of Borno State, In Sha Allah, I will continue to support the Nigerian military to achieve our objective of bringing lasting peace and stability to Borno and by extension, Nigeria. I will continue to provide the political will needed to achieve this objective.”
The Governor noted that the security situation in Borno has tremendously improved, but charged the military to root out the remnants of the insurgents from Sambisa forest, Mandara Mountains, and the enclaves in the Lake Chad Basin to completely end the insecurity.
The Governor added that stability in the Lake Chad Basin will allow Governments from all levels to harness the agricultural potential of the Lake towards achieving President Tinubu’s food security initiative.
Zulum expressed gratitude to President Bola Ahmed Tinubu for the leadership he has been providing to address the problem of insurgency in Borno and other security challenges across the country.
Tinubu’s Threat On Our Lagos Lodge, An Insult On Govt, People, Undemocratic – A’Ibom Govt
Akwa Ibom State Government has declaredt he threat by the APC Presidential Candidate, Ahmed Bola Tinubu to send reptiles to invade the Governor’s lodge in Lagos and eventually seize the property, an insult to its government and people.
The state government in a release titled “Tinubu’s insult on Akwa Ibom people unwarranted, uncharitable and anachronistic” signed by the Commissioner for Information and Strategy, Comrade Ini Ememobong and made available to newsmen in Uyo on Wednesday says the threat is taken very seriously, considering Tinubu’s antecedents.
The Akwa Ibom Government declared such unwarranted outburst as immature and totally unexpected of a person of Tinubu’s advanced age, reminding him that Akwa Ibom has been home to all Nigerians (including Yoruba people), who have, over many years, done businesses and even resided in the state, without any threat to them or their business.
“On the scheduled date, the Presidential candidate, Sen. Bola Tinubu, landed at the Victor Attah International Airport, a state-owned and managed airport, without any hitch or hinderance and proceeded to the venue of his campaign, without any negative reaction from the citizens (as witnessed in other states where presidential candidates are stoned by youths in states not controlled by their party).
“At the venue, he, Tinubu, without any provocation, went on to hurl insults and threats at the government and people of our state. Questioning the legitimacy of our Governor and threatening to send reptiles to invade the Governor’s lodge and eventually seizing the property.
“The Government and people of the state did not at any time say or act in any way provocative to the person or campaign of Bola Tinubu. Instead, all the facilities used by his campaign were generously approved for their use, by the government, without any hitch or delay.
“The residence which Bola Ahmed Tinubu has threatened to take over, totally belongs to the Government of our state and his threat is taken very seriously, considering his antecedents. Conversely, Akwa Ibom has been home to all Nigerians (including Yoruba people), who have, over many years, done business and even resided here, without any threat to them or their business.
“”The comments by Sen. Tinubu, to say the least, is immature and totally unexpected of a person of his advanced age. That is an insult to the Government and people of the state, and we demand an apology.
“Mr. Udom Emmanuel was duly elected as Governor of Akwa Ibom State and therefore, it is clearly unpresidential and undemocratic, for Sen. Tinubu to say that he “calls himself Governor”.
“Sen. Tinubu should during his campaigns, concern himself with answering questions about his nebulous history and his amorphous manifestos. The Presidency of our country is a very serious business that must be treated with seriousness and intellectual depth.
“The Government advises all her citizens to ignore the vituperations of Sen. Tinubu and continue to co-exist peacefully with all Nigerians who are living and doing legitimate businesses in our state”. The release stated.
In a related development, Mboho Mkparawa Ibibio, a foremost socio- cultural organization in the state says it consider Tinubu’s distasteful comment as smacking of intolerance, prejudice and ethnic jingoism.
In a release signed by its International President, Akparawa James Edet and made available to our Correspondent in Uyo, the body says such utterance is capable of inciting strife between Ibibios and the Yoruba brethren who have cohabited for decades without any crisis.
“We condemn in very strong terms the veiled threats directed at our son and Governor of our State by Tinubu and charge him to be measured, circumspect and responsible in his utterances as a leader while campaigning”. It charged
Mboho Mkparawa Ibibio however commends Governor Udom Emmanuel for his principled stand to stay on issue based campaign and not join issues with Tinubu despite the provocation.
The Socio-cultural Organization therefore calls on all political parties and politicians to conduct themselves peacefully and responsibly throughout the electioneering processes and avoid actions that will heat up the polity.
Nigeria, France Sign Agreement to Improve Agriculture
Nigeria and France have signed a grant agreement of €1.2 million for the development of a strategy for agriculture and food markets in Nigeria.
The agreement was signed on Thursday by the Government of Nigeria represented by the Federal Minister of Finance (FMoF), the Federal Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development (FMARD), the French Ambassador to Nigeria, the Country Director of the French Development Agency (AFD) and the Director of International Relations of the French company, Semmaris.
According to a statement from the French Embassy in Nigeria, the AFD grant will finance a one-year technical assistance program to assist the FMARD in the design of a national agrifood market development strategy. This one-year study, which will run from Q1 2023 to Q1 2024, will look at the whole value chains market ecosystem from rural to urban areas, with a particular focus on the three largest urban consumption areas in Nigeria: Lagos-Ibadan, Kano-Kaduna and Owerri-Port-Harcourt.
The statement added that the study will result in an inventory of existing agricultural markets, an in-depth analysis of current distribution channels and agrifood logistics, a legal and regulatory framework adapted to market development, and technical recommendations to rehabilitate or build three terminal markets.
The programme will be implemented by the French company, Semmaris with the support of the Federal Project Management Unit (FPMU) of the Rural Access and Agricultural Marketing Project (RAAMP) within the FMARD. Semmaris has been managing for over 50 years the largest wholesale fresh food market worldwide in Rungis, France.
The Rungis Market, according to the statement, brings together over 1,200 companies from various segments of the food value chains. This initiative will build on the 10-year intervention of the World Bank and AFD in the rural development sector in Nigeria through the “Rural Access and Mobility Project” (RAMP) achieved in 2021, and the ongoing “Rural Access and Agricultural Marketing Project” (RAAMP) (2020-2028) co-financed by AFD and World Bank for a total investment of €700 million including $296 million from AFD.
The statement further revealed that these projects will contribute to reducing post-harvest losses through the rehabilitation of over 2 000km of all-season rural roads and the upgrading of 65 collection markets into agro-logistics hubs in 19 States across the country.
In Nigeria, agriculture accounts for 22% of the GDP in 2020 and employs 70% of the formal and informal working population. Nigeria is a major producer of roots and tubers (the world’s leading producer of cassava, a large producer of taro and yam), cereals (maize, rice, and sorghum), cocoa, and palm oil.
Its agriculture is characterised by small, low-productivity family farms, which practice low-mechanised subsistence rain-fed agriculture. 80% of farmers are smallholders and provide a total of 90% of the country’s agricultural production. Despite growing agricultural production, imports of agri-food products are increasing while 30 to 40% of crops are said to be lost on site due to a lack of access to roads and markets.
This study will contribute to structuring a food value chain and strengthen agri-food systems. It will help identify the terminal markets that should be rehabilitated or newly built in the outskirts of cities, linking up Nigeria’s major urban consumption areas to rural areas that are benefitting from AFD and World Bank’s past and ongoing interventions.
Wholesale markets will this way build upon the existing ring of improved infrastructures (rural roads, food markets) and good maintenance practices set up under the RAMP projects. Against the backdrop of fast population growth and rapid urbanization, this study will help strengthen cities’ food supply.