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FG urges cassava stakeholders to facilitate more improved varieties

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The Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (FMARD), Dr Ernest Umakhihe, has urged scientists and other stakeholders in the cassava value chain to improve on more varieties.

Umakhihe made the call at the Annual Meeting of NextGen Cassava Project in Abuja on Tuesday.

He was represented by Dr Raji Bamidele, Deputy Director, Roots and Tuber Division in the ministry.

Umakhihe said there was need for concerted efforts by stakeholders to facilitate how genetic improvement of cassava could realise its potential yield level in the country.

He said the interaction between the national cassava research scientists and specialists from other continents would contribute immensely in addressing the challenges facing the cassava sub-sector.

He said the Buhari administration would continue to drive the economic diversification agenda from crude oil to agriculture.

“The sector has continued to gain prominence as shown in its continuous contribution to the nation’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP).

“Between April and June, agriculture has contributed 23.2 per cent of the total GDP, in spite challenges such as flood, climate change and other natural disasters, insecurity, banditry and kidnapping among others,“he said.

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Prof. Lateef Sanni, Head, National Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA) Abuja Station, said there was  need to improve genetically on cassava varieties to boost food sufficiency.

“We will continue to partner with Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and other partners and stakeholders in the cassava value chain for farmers to get the best seeds,“he said.

He, however, commended the Federal Government for hosting IITA in Abuja since 1991.

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Dr Sunday Aladele, Register, National Variety Release Committee (NVRC), said the committee had registered over 706 varieties of 39 crops with including cassava inclusive.

“Cassava is one of the most important root crops which contribute significantly to the livelihood of millions of people in Sub Saharan Africa.

“It plays important roles for the supply of carbohydrates and vitamins, which in most cases serves as substitute,” he said.

Aladele said the meeting would help envision what is in the pipeline for future cassava improvement for food security and industrial uses.

He, however, appealed to other scientists to take a cue from the modern techniques being deployed by NextGen to fast track crop improvement.

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86-year-old woman set ablaze by daughter over alleged witchcraft

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Gunmen abduct Company MD, three foreigners in Lagos
A 45-year-old woman simply identified as Abiodun and popularly called “Iya Sunday,” has set her mother ablaze in a bid to kill her.

Abiodun was told by a Pastor that she would be free from a spiritual bondage after the death of her 86-year-old mother.

Witnesses said the suspect poured petrol on her mother and set her ablaze on Friday morning around 5am.

The incident happened at Surulere, opposite Anglican Cathedral Church in Ondo West local government area of Ondo State.

Gory picture of the victim showed that she sustained severe burns all over her body and receiving treatment in an undisclosed hospital.

An eyewitness, Sola Oladele, said the suspect came to her mother’s house in the early hours of Friday.

He said she called out her mother before pouring petrol on her and setting her on fire.

According to him: “What happened between them before the incident we don’t know, but the suspect has been arrested by police at the Enu-Owa division for further investigation.”

Abiodun said her action was because she was told that her mother was behind her predicament.

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She said: “I went to my mother’s house around 4 a.m. and sat outside. When it was 5 am, I called out my mother from the house. Immediately after she came out, not knowing what was happening, I poured petrol on her body and set her on fire.

“What started it is that I went to one Pastor for prayers and he told me that my mother is behind what is happening to me. I did not believe it at first. My mother also took me somewhere to see one woman. After my mother left, the woman also said the same thing.

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“I burnt my mother because of what I heard from the pastor and the woman, that I can only be freed from bondage when my mother is dead.”

Police sources said the case would be transferred to the Police headquarters in Akure for further investigation. (The Nation)

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Gunmen abduct Company MD, three foreigners in Lagos, demand $1.5m ransom

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File: Kidnappers
Armed men suspected to be kidnappers have abducted four Lebanese including the Managing Director of Fouani Company, a prominent representative of LG and Hisense.

According to credible sources, the victims were travelling by boat from Apapa to Victoria Island when they were ambushed near Falomo Bridge. The kidnappers, whose identities are unknown, have demanded an astounding $1.5 million ransom.

Police Public Relations Officer of the Lagos State Police, Benjamin Hundeyin, confirmed the incident and stated that an investigation is ongoing.

He said, “Yes, we received the report and are investigating it.”
“We are currently working with their families and the Lebanese community to get them released,” Hundeyin explained.

However, the abduction has sparked outrage in the business community, with many calling for increased security measures to protect citizens.

The incident raises concerns about the safety of Lagos’ waterways and the effectiveness of law enforcement agencies in combating crime.

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SEE ALSO:  Pandemonium in National Assembly as DSS manhandles senior staff
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ICPC grills woman who accused suspended Perm Sec of S*xual harassment

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ICPC grills woman who accused suspended Perm Sec of Sexual harassment
 •Suspended Permanent Secretary of the Federal Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ibrahim Lamuwa
Simisola Fajemirokun-Ajayi, the woman who accused the Permanent Secretary of the Federal Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ibrahim Lamuwa, of s*xual harassment, has been grilled and thereafter released by the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC).

This is in the wake of an ongoing investigation by the Office of the Head of Civil Service of the Federation (OHCSF), following a letter from the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Yusuf Maitama Tuggar, in response to a petition written by Fajemirokun-Ajayi, against the permanent secretary.

In an exclusive interview with Daily Trust Saturday, an official of the ICPC said that Mrs Fajemirokun-Ajayi was quizzed for hours by the crack detectives of the commission over her allegations.

The official, who did not want his name in print, said Fajemirokun-Ajayi arrived at the commission’s headquarters at about 9:40 am, on Friday, alongside her lawyer; responded to various questions posed to her.

“She wasn’t arrested. She was invited and she honoured the invitation to come and substantiate the s*xual harassment allegations against the Permanent Secretary of her ministry, Ibrahim Lamuwa,” the official said.

The official said she was released after the interrogation on Friday, adding that she would still be called upon in future to make further clarifications if there is a need for her to do so.

Ambassador Lamuwa had responded to the query issued him by the head of service, denying all the allegations labelled against him.

The ICPC’s invitation letter inviting Mrs Fajemirokun-Ajayi was addressed to the minister of foreign affairs, requesting him to release her for questioning.

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The ministry received the ICPC letter titled: ‘Investigation Activities: Notice of Invitation’ on Thursday.

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It said: “In view of the above and pursuant to sections 28 and 40 of the said Act, you are kindly requested to release and direct Mrs Simisola Fajemirokun-Ajayi of the Ministry to appear for an interview before the undersigned at the Commission’s Headquarters, Abuja, on Friday, 14 June 2024 at 10:00 hours,” read the invitation letter dated June 11, and signed by Acting Director of Operations, S. Yahaya.

It is not immediately clear whose petition led to the ICPC investigation or what exactly the agency is investigating.

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