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BUSINESS & ECONOMY

Nigeria Approves Commercial Release Of GM Maize Varieties

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A maize farm

* Urges States To Provide Credible Farmers’ Data

 

The Federal government of Nigeria has approved the commercial release of transgenic insect-resistant and drought-tolerant maize varieties, known as TELA maize.

The approval was granted by the National Committee on Naming, Registration and Release of Crop Varieties, Livestock Breeds/Fisheries (NCNRRCVLF) headed by Prof Olusoji Olufajo at its 37th meeting at the National Centre for Genetic Resources and Biotechnology (NACGRAB), Ibadan on January 11, 2024.

A statement on Friday explained that the four varieties approved by the NVRC are, SAMMAZ 72T, SAMMAZ 73T, SAMMAZ 74T, and SAMMAZ 75T.

The new maize varieties are drought tolerant and are resistant to stem-borer and fall armyworm resulting in a yield advantage of up to 10 tonnes per hectare under good agronomic practices.

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The national average for similar hybrids is 6 tonnes per hectare. The varieties are suitable for Rain Forest, Guinea, and Sudan Savannas.

Stem borers reduce maize production in several countries in Africa, while fall armyworms can destroy up to 20 million metric tons of maize in Africa each year, enough to feed 100 million people.

The release and registration of the four varieties followed environmental release approval in October 2021 granted by the National Biosafety Management Agency (NBMA).

Development of the improved varieties was led by the Institute for Agricultural Research (IAR) Samaru, Ahmadu Bello University Zaria through the TELA Maize Public-Private Partnership coordinated by AATF.

The TELA Maize Project is currently being implemented in 5 countries – Ethiopia, Kenya, Mozambique, Nigeria, and South Africa.

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Prof Ado Yusuf, Executive Director, IAR expressed satisfaction with the release of the new four maize varieties saying, “IAR is very proud of our scientists who are addressing the maize productivity challenges in the country and beyond.

“These varieties have undergone thorough research and have been developed using the tools of biotechnology over several years of continuous testing and revalidation.”

Dr Canisius Kanangire, Executive Director of the African Agricultural Technology Foundation(AATF) said, “the release of TELA Maize in Nigeria will contribute to food and nutrition security in line with the Federal Government’s Agricultural Transformation agenda.

“AATF reaffirms unwavering commitment to addressing challenges faced by farmers across the continent.”

Professor Garba Sharubutu, the Executive Secretary, of the Agricultural Research Council of Nigeria (ARCN), said the approval of the TELA Maize variety in Nigeria is a critical milestone that confirms the potential of biotechnology in ensuring food and nutrition security, and improved livelihood of farming households in Africa.

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Prof. Mustapha Abdullahi, Director-General, of the National Biotechnology Development Agency (NABDA) celebrated the release saying that, with the advent of TELA Maize, farmers will reduce the use of pesticides on maize to the bare minimum which is beneficial to humans, livestock, and the environment.

Dr Sylvester Oikeh, the TELA Maize Project Manager celebrated the decision by Nigeria by calling on other countries in Africa to act for farmers.

“I am encouraged by this decision by the Federal Government of Nigeria that reflects their commitment to the needs of farmers.

“I congratulate the scientists for their hard work and dedication that has seen the product getting closer to farmers and look forward to other countries making similar decisions for the good of the farmer,” he said.

The other partners in the TELA Maize project include National Agricultural Research Institutes in Kenya, Mozambique, Ethiopia, and South Africa, the International Maize, and Wheat Improvement Center (CIMMYT), Bayer, with funding from Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, and USAID.

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Meanwhile, the Federal Government has urged States participating in the second phase of the Dry/Wet Season Farming that will involve the cultivation of rice, maize, and cassava to make available credible farmers’ data and accurate geo-referenced farmlands.

Senator Abubakar Kyari, Minister of Agriculture and Food Security, stated this when the Governor of Kebbi State, Dr. Mohammed Nasir Idris, paid him a courtesy visit at the headquarters of the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Food Security in Abuja.

Kyari explained that credible farmers data and accurate geo-referenced farmlands would be critical success factors in the Federal Government’s intervention to “ensure that agro-inputs get to real farmers who have the requisite hectarage to cultivate and are, therefore, not at the mercy of portfolio farmers who hijack agro-inputs and later round-trip to the economic detriment of genuine farmers.”

He noted that there is currently an ongoing broad-based stakeholders’ review of the implementation so far of the 2023/2024 Wheat Dry Season Farming, under the National Agricultural Growth Scheme Agro-Pocket (NAGS-AP) project.

Recalled that the Federal Government had in November 2023, flagged off the Wheat Dry Season Farming across 15 States that are in the wheat-producing belt of the country.

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The 15 States involved in wheat production are Adamawa, Bauchi, Borno, Gombe, Jigawa, Kaduna, Kano, Kebbi, Katsina, Niger, Plateau, Sokoto, Taraba, Yobe, and Zamfara.

The minister explained that the flag-off of dry-season wheat farming was intended to ensure that “we rely less on rain-fed agricultural production during the Wet Season, and instead have all-year-round farming.”

In addition to boosting the volumes of crops cultivated, he said, taking advantage of both Dry and Wet Season Farming would increase job opportunities, reduce poverty, de-escalate food inflation, and enhance inclusivity, which are goals highlighted in President Bola Ahmed Tinubu’s Renewed Hope Agenda.

He, therefore, observed that the collective steps “we are taking to boost food production, reduce food inflation, and more assuredly guarantee our national food security, are matters of urgent engagement that require increased inter-governmental interactions.”

Kyari expressed optimism that with adequate readiness, Kebbi State would benefit from the second phase of the Dry/Wet Season farming that is slated to commence in a couple of weeks, adding that more than two-thirds of the Local Government Areas of Kebbi State are suitable for rice cultivation.

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In his remarks, the Governor of Kebbi State, Dr. Mohammed Nasir Idris, described Kebbi as an agrarian State with fertile land to grow rice, wheat, maize, millet, and guinea corn.

Idris revealed that the State Government had last year purchased fertilizer worth N2.8 billion, which was distributed to farmers in the State free of charge.

He expressed joy that farmers in the State had witnessed bumper harvests as a result of the provision of fertilizer to them.

The Governor said 300 trucks of assorted grains were also purchased by his administration last year, adding that they were distributed to farmers to encourage them to go back to the farm.

As part of measures to boost dry season farming, Idris stated that 6,000 solar pumps worth N5 billion had been purchased by the State Government, which would be distributed to farmers free of charge by next week.

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He therefore, sought partnership with the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Food Security to bolster food production, adding that “there is no way we can move forward without addressing the issue of food security.”

 

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BUSINESS & ECONOMY

Bank Of Industry, Imo Partner To Enhance Citizen’s Businesses

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Gov. Uzodimma

The Bank of Industry (BOI) has expressed an interest in working with Sen. Hope Uzodimma’s government in Imo State to improve citizens’ economic well-being and businesses.

 

The Bank committed on Thursday in Owerri, the capital of Imo State, during a working visit to Governor Uzodimma in Government House by BOI Managing Director/CEO Dr. Olasupo Olusi and his key officials.

 

While receiving Dr Olusi and his team, Governor Uzodimma assessed the role of the Bank of Industry in reviving the country’s economy, particularly the challenge posed by unemployment and a lack of jobs among the country’s teeming young men and women, noting that he could not help but accept the Bank’s offer to partner with him.

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The Governor stated that the BOI’s various policies help to stimulate the country’s economy, create jobs, and provide an enabling environment for lowering the cost of goods.

 

He commended the Bank’s management for their excellent work and urged them to ensure that Imo State benefits from the Bank’s diligent contribution to the national economy.

 

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Governor Uzodimma stated that he is confident they are “willing partners,” and that the state will cooperate with them.

 

“The State can never say no to the initiative that you have launched, which appears to be the solution to the country’s cancer of unemployment, to lower the crime rate and all other forms of criminality.”

 

He stated that the Bank’s visit will be a new partnership, and Imo State will gladly accept it, but only based on which they will operate.

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Governor Uzodimma specifically told Dr Olusi that “Imo State wants to benefit from the empowerment programmes,” given that “manufacturers are crying over the high cost of production, just as middle and low-income earners are crying.”

 

“So, anything that acts as an incentive to lower the cost of accessing money will be a very welcome addition.”

 

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The Governor emphasised the Bank’s role in boosting the local economy. He stated that the government will provide guarantees and indemnities to help private-sector business owners access funds.

 

“What the people need is encouragement, guidance, and proper documentation, like the artisans,” he exclaimed, adding that “BOI is like the password to open the business system in the State,” which he described as being teeming with human and material traffic, including boisterous tourism potential.

 

As a demonstration of his commitment to the partnership proposal, the Governor directed Dr Chika Abazu, Commissioner for Commerce, Trade, and Investment, to work with the team to ensure that some of the Bank’s available and affordable requests are addressed immediately.

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Earlier, Dr Olusi informed Governor Uzodimma that he had come with his management team to “explore the opportunities in Imo State and help drive the State’s economic growth.”

 

He stated that there are mutual areas of collaboration that he believes they should identify, as well as discuss opportunities for future engagements with the state.

 

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According to him, the BOI wants to be a strong development partner for Imo State.

 

He stated that doing so requires the Bank’s strong base in Imo, hence the visit to discuss and be assured of where they can position their operation in Owerri, having seen and recognised Governor Uzodimma as a strong ally.

 

He thanked the Governor for making Imo State an ideal environment for private businesses to thrive, as well as his promise to provide reasonable marching funds to willing genuine businesses.

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Barr Nnamdi Anyaehie, Chief of Staff, was joined by Dr. Chika Abazu, Commissioner for Commerce, Trade, and Investment, and other government officials during the visit.

 

 

 

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BUSINESS & ECONOMY

Over 5,000 Benefit From Gov. Oborevwori’s ‘MORE Grant Scheme.’

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Delta State Governor Rt. Hon. Sheriff Oborevwori has launched the MORE Grant Scheme for petty traders, artisans, and female entrepreneurs with 5,426 people from the state’s poorest and most vulnerable households benefiting.

Governor Oborevwori spoke at the formal launch of the M.O.R.E Grant Scheme at Asaba’s Event Centre, describing the initiative as a comprehensive support system that would empower 5,426 Deltans, including 1,600 petty traders, 1,826 artisans, and 2000 female entrepreneurs across the state.

He described Delta State as being rich in talent and ambition and praised the artisans, traders, and entrepreneurs for being the unsung heroes of the state’s local economies.

He stated, “Your hard work, creativity, and perseverance are the driving forces behind the vitality and resilience of our local communities. As we recognise your invaluable contributions, I want to reiterate the state government’s commitment and willingness to support your efforts.

“The MORE Grant Scheme is a beacon of hope and a catalyst for positive change, as it provides critical resources to help you grow your businesses and improve your livelihoods.

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“To our petty traders from low-income and vulnerable households, despite the daily challenges of life, you have continued to work for a better future for your families and communities through your small businesses.”

“As a demonstration of faith, the MORE Grant Scheme will continue to provide you with the financial assistance you require to improve your businesses, as we remain committed to transforming small businesses into thriving enterprises, thereby improving our people’s quality of life and contributing to the state’s economic growth.”

He challenged artisans to use their skills, craftsmanship, and dedication to preserve the state’s cultural heritage and promote sustainable living.

The Governor went on to say, “The grant being given out today will help you acquire better tools, access quality materials, and reach wider markets, which will, in turn, propel our people’s rich traditions to new heights.

“To our female entrepreneurs, you represent strength and innovation. Despite facing numerous challenges with courage and determination, you have continued to break down barriers and establish new standards. I am very proud of you.

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“This grant programme is designed to provide you and other young women with the resources and mentorship they need to grow their businesses and inspire other women to follow in your footsteps.

“Your success is critical to our state’s progress, and we are committed to supporting your entrepreneurial journey every step of the way.”

Governor Oborevwori assured the beneficiaries that the state would provide workshops, training sessions, and mentorship programmes to help them gain the knowledge and skills required to succeed in today’s competitive market.

“We want to build a community of empowered individuals who collaborate, innovate, and support one another,” the governor stated.

In her welcome remarks, the Commissioner for Humanitarian Affairs, Community Support Services, and Girl-Child Development, Orode Uduaghan, stated that the project was divided into three phases, each carefully designed to empower specific segments of the state and benefit over 5,000 people.

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Uduaghan revealed that the first phase of the project ‘targets the heartbeat’ of the state’s local economy, the petty traders, who, she claims, contribute immeasurably to the state’s tapestry of communities.

According to her, the state government’s MORE Grant Scheme aimed to revitalise their businesses, saying, “We are aware of how impactful even a small additional capital can be for these petty traders who work tirelessly to make a living.”

Weyinmi Eribo and Nneka Okekearu, the event’s keynote speakers, affirmed that human capital development was a platform for breaking the cycle of poverty and praised the governor for providing resources to grow small and medium-sized businesses.

They pledged to work with the state government through their agencies to mentor young entrepreneurs from the MORE grant scheme on how to grow their businesses into large-scale enterprises.

Some of the beneficiaries, including Mr Paul Onwochei (Delta North), Ogemuno Endurance (Delta Central), and Shodipe Gbubemi Sarah (Delta South), thanked Governor Oborevwori for providing funds to help them expand their businesses and urged him to continue the programme so that more Deltans could benefit.

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The symbolic presentation of cheques to some of the more than 5,000 beneficiaries was the event’s high point.

 

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BUSINESS & ECONOMY

How To Verify Certificate Of Occupancy In Lagos By Dennis Isong

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Lagos metropolise

In Lagos, Nigeria, a Certificate of Occupancy (C of O) is a crucial document for landowners. It proves legal ownership of land under the Land Use Act of 1978. With the rising cases of land fraud, verifying the authenticity of a C of O has become essential. Below is a comprehensive guide on how to verify a Certificate of Occupancy in Lagos.

Understanding Certificate of Occupancy

A Certificate of Occupancy is a legal document issued by the Lagos State Government to landowners and property buyers as a legitimate proof of ownership. This document specifies the rights of the individual or entity to the property and land.

Steps to Verify a Certificate of Occupancy

Step 1: Visit the Lagos State Lands Bureau

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Physical Verification: The first step in verifying a C of O is to visit the Lagos State Lands Bureau. This agency is responsible for land administration and registry in Lagos State. They have the complete database and records of all issued Certificates of Occupancy.

Step 2: Submit a Verification Request

Request Submission: At the Lands Bureau, submit a request for the verification of a C of O. You will be required to provide details such as the plot number, block number, survey plan number, and the C of O number. It’s essential to have all these details accurate to facilitate the verification process.

Step 3: Pay the Verification Fee

Payment of Fees: Verification of a C of O comes with a fee. Ensure you inquire about the current fee and make the payment accordingly. Receipt of payment will be required as part of the verification process.

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Step 4: Verification Process

Processing Time: After submission and payment, the Lands Bureau will conduct a thorough verification of the C of O against their records. This process may take some time, ranging from a few days to weeks, depending on the volume of requests being processed.

Step 5: Collect Verification Report

Collection of Report: Once the verification process is complete, you will be issued a verification report. This report will indicate the authenticity of the C of O. If the document is verified to be authentic, the report will serve as added proof of the legality of your property’s ownership.

Why Verify a Certificate of Occupancy?

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The importance of verifying a C of O cannot be overstated. Here are some reasons why it’s essential:

Prevents Fraud: Verification helps to prevent falling victim to land scams and purchasing properties with forged documents.

Confirms Authenticity: It assures the buyer or current owner of the land’s authenticity and legal standing.

Facilitates Transactions: A verified C of O is often required by financial institutions for loan approvals against land or property.

Common Certificate of Occupancy Frauds in Lagos

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While the Certificate of Occupancy is a critical document for property owners in Lagos, it is also a focal point for various fraudulent activities. Being aware of these common frauds can help property buyers and owners stay vigilant and protect their investments.

Forged Documents

Counterfeit C of O: There are instances where fraudsters create counterfeit Certificates of Occupancy. These documents may look remarkably similar to the original but lack the legal backing and verification from the Lagos State Lands Bureau.

Double Allocation Fraud

Multiple Owners: This occurs when a single plot of land is sold to multiple buyers, each provided with a seemingly legitimate C of O. This fraudulent practice not only leads to legal battles but also questions the authenticity of the C of O issued.

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Land Grabbing

Illegal Seizure: Land grabbers, also known as “Omo Onile” in local parlance, might forge a C of O to claim ownership of lands they do not legally own. They exploit unsuspecting buyers by selling these lands and providing fake certificates as proof of ownership.

Bribery and Corruption

Inside Job: Some fraudulent activities involve insiders within the land administration system. Unscrupulous officials might collude with fraudsters to issue or endorse fake Certificates of Occupancy for personal gain.

How to Protect Yourself from C of O Frauds

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To safeguard against these frauds, consider the following precautions:

Verify Before Purchase

Always verify the C of O through the Lagos State Lands Bureau before proceeding with any land purchase. This step cannot be overstated in its importance.

Legal Counsel

Engage a reputable legal practitioner or a property verification expert to conduct due diligence on the property and its documents.

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Research the Seller

Conduct thorough research on the seller or property developer. Check their reputation, past projects, and reviews from previous buyers.

Insist on Transparency

Demand transparency in every step of the buying process. Any reluctance to provide detailed information or rush the process should raise red flags.

Report Suspicious Activities

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If you encounter any suspicious activities or individuals during your property transaction, report them to the authorities. The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) and the Special Fraud Unit (SFU) of the Nigeria Police are competent authorities to handle such cases.

I hope you learned something new. Kindly scroll down to save my number and send a message.

*Isong is a TOP REALTOR IN LAGOS. He Helps Nigerians in the Diaspora to Own Property In Lagos Nigeria STRESS-FREE. For Questions WhatsApp/Call 2348164741041

 

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