An audacious agricultural growth plan that will enhance food sufficiency in Lagos State has been unveiled by Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu.T
The five-year food security road map will see a sustained public and private sectors’ investment in agricultural value chains to give Lagos comparative advantages in the sector and enhance the state’s self-sufficiency in food production from the current 18 per cent up to 40 per cent over the next 60 months.S
Sanwo-Oluon Thursday at a ceremony organised by the Ministry of Agriculture at the Intercontinental Hotels, Victoria Island, rolled out the agric road map which will be achieved through a three-pronged approach.
The adverse impact of Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic on food security in Lagos, the governor said, necessitated an immediate action towards ensuring food security for residents of the state.
Lagos, the smallest state in Nigeria in terms of land size, relies on massive food importation and mutual collaboration on production with other states to ensure food sustenance for its 22 million population.
Sanwo-Olu said the state could no longer rely exclusively on production alliances with other states, stressing that it was time for Lagos to unlock its agricultural potential by implementing the five-year road map.
The plan, he said, would set players in agricultural sector on the path of wealth generation and value creation, thereby improving food security and industrialisation of agricultural sector, while also entrenching inclusive socio-economic growth.
He said: “At the inception of this administration, we identified food security as a major policy thrust and a key component of our T.H.E.M.E.S Agenda. The five-year Agricultural and Food Systems Road Map has been designed in line with our agenda to reform, transform and maximise the potential of Lagos’ agricultural sector.
“The focus of the road map is the development of agricultural value chains where Lagos has competitive and comparative advantages to enhance self-sufficiency in food production from 18 per cent to 40 per cent over the next five years, and achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
“To successfully implement the road map, we will take a cue from other economies that have achieved self-sufficiency in food production. We will also aim to put the private sector at the heart of our vision for food security in Lagos State, with government as enabler and catalyst.”
The strategies to achieve the plan, Sanwo-Olu said, will focus on leveraging technology to grow agric’s upstream sector through interventions capable of lowering the cost of production in identified value chains, including fisheries, poultry, piggery, rice, vegetables and coconut.
The governor said there would be deliberate actions to grow the mid-stream and downstream sectors to enhance value chain in processing, handling, storage, cold chain, packaging, utilisation and commercialisation.
He said the state government would link willing private sector players to business-friendly credit facilities and give incentives to improve private participation, while also formulating enabling policies to encourage return on investment.
Sanwo-Olu said: “The projection is that the total investment in the agricultural sector from the government, private sector, donor agencies and development partners will run into over $10 billion in the next five years. While we expect most of the investment to be private sector-driven, government will continue to provide the needed infrastructure while the private sector will be encouraged to lead the key projects.
“We are revamping the Agricultural Land Holding Authority (ALHA) to drive investment into agriculture. We will strengthen the coconut belt with increased private sector involvement. The next five years will be productive, competitive and transformational as Lagos implements this road map, which will make the state to become the nation’s agricultural powerhouse. I invite you to join us to make history.”
Sanwo-Olu disclosed that Lagos had entered into a partnership agreement with two key states in the North Central for land availability, urging states in the Southwest to key into the objectives due to their proximity.
Commissioner for Agriculture, Ms. Abisola Olusanya, said the development of the road map started with stakeholder’s engagements and workshops around addressing the needs of the agric ecosystem in the state, pointing out that the blueprint provided a market-centric context pertaining to each value chain in Lagos food ecosystem.
She said: “There is great wealth to be mined from the oldest profession on earth (agriculture) if data-driven principles are applied and the right information is made available to the investors.
“I dream of a Lagos where wholesome food is available, where healthy people thrive, where re-organised food system reduces freight congestion, post-harvest losses and increases profits for value chain actors. A Lagos where agriculture will empower millions of people and drive up productivity.”
The Chairman of Chapel Hill Denham Group, Mr. Wale Edun, who analysed the agricultural road map, described the initiative as “laudable”, saying the state government deserved to be supported on the vision.
He said the rollout of the initiative was timely, given the festering insecurity in some parts of the country, which, he said, posed great risk to Lagos food market because of the attendant disruption in the supply chain.
Edun, a former Commissioner for Finance in Lagos, however, urged the government to limit the scope of its investment to infrastructure and environment. Private sector, he said, must be allowed to play a frontline role in the implementation of the road map.
The Commissionerfor Finance, Dr. Rabiu Olowo, said the programme would increase the contribution of agriculture to Lagos GDP from two to five per cent, adding the roadmap would close the gap of wealth inequality.
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The Toyin Falola Interviews: Panel Discussion On Coups In Africa: Geo-Politics, Legitimacies, And Resource Management
By Claire Princess Ayelotan
It is imperative that we acknowledge the need to shift away from Maradona democracy in Africa. The panels have aptly articulated this sentiment. The root of this issue lies in the need for a change in mindset through education. Unfortunately, even education cannot guarantee a change in ignorance, as displayed by some politicians.
The true challenge is the disunity among Africans that external actors routinely exploit. This makes coming together to establish a contextualised democracy challenging, reminiscent of the biblical passage “to your tent, oh Israel (1 Kings 12:16b)”. A house divided against itself cannot stand and will inevitably fall apart under any pressure. This is why thieves will come without hesitation to steal, kill, and eventually destroy. During pre-colonial times, some African leaders participated in the colonisation of their own people. It is also widely acknowledged that many elites were responsible for selling their people to slavery during imperialism. As mentioned above, the elites or their descendants also bear significant responsibility for disrupting and undermining long-standing traditions, religions, and belief systems in Africa. It is of great concern that I note the considerable impact of Western imperialism on Africa’s cultural landscape. Introducing toxic religio-cultural practices has contributed to decades of turmoil and instability of the continent. One such could be deducted from Jean-Marc Ela that “The God of missionary preaching was a God so distant, so foreign to the history of the colonised people (Ela 1986, 29).” They presented a facade of aid and benevolence to the people of Africa, but in reality, their actions were intended to maintain the subjugation of the indigenous population long after the colonialists had departed.
The extent to which these African elites were manipulated remains unclear; however, the same sense of disunity among Africans has once again become apparent. The divided house is crumbling! ECOWAS’s decision to launch an attack on Niger in response to the military coup that occurred raises several questions about the organisation’s motivations and consistency in addressing such events in the region. Specifically, why did ECOWAS choose to act against Niger while other countries, such as Mali, Guinea, and Gabon, have experienced similar military takeovers with no apparent action from the organisation? Whose voices are they listening to or hearing? Could they be concerned that they could be their respective nations that will soon undergo military coups? Niger’s neighbour, Nigeria serves as a compelling illustration of the potential for a severe social or political crisis. Given the persistent poverty and the glaring disparities between the wealthy and disadvantaged segments of the population, it is conceivable that an incident more catastrophic than a military coup may soon occur.
It is crucial to explore these discrepancies to understand ECOWAS’ role in maintaining instability in West Africa. Launching an attack on Niger is an infringement of Niger’s sovereignty and a clear violation of the Rule of Law. First, Niger is a sovereign nation, not a battlefield for mineral resources. It is imperative to consider the financial implications of engaging in armed conflict, including the loss of lives, psychological trauma, exploitation of the vulnerable, and forced displacement. Nigeria, which has long struggled to secure adequate food supplies for its population, would face significant challenges in providing sustenance to Nigerien refugees in the event of a war. Second, according to Sir Tom Bingham (2011, 8), the importance of the rule of law is that regardless of the type of authority represented by persons or organisations, the laws enacted and enforced in public must be binding on them, which requires clear, consistent, fair, and impartial laws, without discrimination or favouritism. In contemporary democracies, the observance of legal precepts is recognised as a fundamental aspect of effective administration, which appears to be absent in the governance of many African countries.
Moreover, the recent declaration by the President of France, Emmanuel Macron, regarding the withdrawal of French troops from Niger before the end of December has raised concerns about the durability of this decision (France24, 2023). The troops in question had been stationed in Mali for nearly a decade but were compelled to leave the country in February of the previous year (Chrisafis and Burke, 2022). Subsequently, they were moved to Niger. This development serves as a distressing reminder of the situation in Afghanistan when the United States and its allies withdrew their forces (Stewart and Ali 2021) and raised spectres of history repeating itself too soon.
However, there were some concerns. It is unclear whether this is a temporary measure to allow for full-scale clashes between military insurgents and the ECOWAS or a permanent one. Additionally, a country’s claim that its ambassador is being held hostage in Niger raises questions about the truthfulness of this statement as there is no evidence to support this claim. No one is holding the ambassador, as he is free to leave Niger. The Nigerien military simply revoked his diplomatic immunity. It is widely known that France initially declined to withdraw, and the reason was well known.
If a military force from an African country invaded France and refused to withdraw, what would France do? The French government would likely take some steps to address the situation. These might include diplomatic efforts to negotiate a resolution, deployment of military forces to defend against further incursions, and implementation of economic or other sanctions against the invading country. Ultimately, the specific actions that France would take in this situation would depend on some factors, including the scale and nature of the invasion, capabilities of the French military, and the situation’s broader political and strategic context. Furthermore, France’s continued presence in the region has been met with criticism regarding its hostile relationship with francophones and has called into question the continuity of disguised colonialism in these regions.
A similar façade to the above is France’s hard-line stance on migrants from Lampedusa, Italy. On Tuesday, the 19th of September, the French interior minister, Gérald Darmanin, was invited and interviewed in the TF1 8 pm news about the sudden arrival of nearly 9000 migrants in Lampedusa. He replied, ‘La France n’accueillera pas de migrants’ meaning France will not welcome migrants (Timsit 2023). It is not being suggested that France should open its borders without restrictions to accommodate all migrants, as such an action would prove overwhelming and untenable. Instead, the issue at hand concerns the question of what steps should be taken concerning migrants who hail from countries that have been or continue to be exploited by nations that refuse to accept them. If the African continent were to experience development, would the current influx of migrants (including oneself) be witnessed? It is universally acknowledged that when one casts stones, they should not be surprised if the projectiles land upon their abode, causing them to crumble and be destroyed.
It is clear that the various perspectives on this issue require further examination. Africa is in crisis because of adopted foreign values that are inadaptable to the continent. Last night, Professor Mary Owusu mentioned the need to return to history and I agreed. This means that Africa must find its voice and necessitates excavating our heritage beyond the pre-colonial period to reclaim our dignity. Otherwise, it will continue running hopelessly in the dark with no hint of light in the tunnel (Ela 1986, 100). Africa must abandon its foreign-style democracy, akin to Maradona’s brand of leadership, in favour of a democratic system that is tailored to our socio-cultural and religious values. Until such a time, the probability of military coups or even more catastrophic events is unavoidable.
Ayelotan, MA, MA, PhD, PDSL, ACIArb, IMI,Theology & Religious Studies, University of Roehampton.
BBNaija All-Stars: Cee-C, Alex In First Fight In Biggie’s House
By Esther Kainebi-Daniel
Signposting the expected drama cum fight in the luxurious Big Brother mansion, housemates Cee-C and Alex have in just 72 hours shown the stars’ inability to accommodate themselves as they fight dirty in the house.
Season 2, Double Wahala participants, Cynthia Nwadiora (Cee-C) and Alexandra Amuchechukwu Asogwa (Alex) could no longer bottle their emotions as they clashed during a bitter quarrel on Wednesday, July 26.
The fight broke out after the housemates had their first wager task during their meeting in the morning. Alex accused Cee-C and Uriel of sabotage following the duo not participating well in the task.
Cee-C and Alex engaged each other in a shouting marathon in a very loud manner, threw caution to the wind, ridiculed, insulted and called each other names over the incident.
Despite other housemates attempt to separate their fight, the duo continued to shout at each other at the top of their voices, throwing inventives up and down. Tired of the situation, other housemates, allowed them to have a field day while they watchd.
Cee-C and Alex are two housemates from the Season 3 Double Wahala Season in the ongoing Season 8 All-Star dubbed the Biggieverse. The duo are always full of drama whenever they meet.
BREAKING: Tribunal Fixes Date To Begin Hearing Of Atiku’s, Obi’s Petitions On Presidential Election
The Presidential Election Petitions Court has fixed Monday May 8 for the hearing of the petitions challenging the declaration of Bola Tinubu of the All Progressives Congress (APC) as the President-elect.
The Tinubu’s legal team disclosed that Monday’s hearing would be a pre-hearing session. The hearing is to clarify if there are any applications before the main hearing will start. The timetable will be set for the hearing of the substantive matters.
The court also stopped receiving replies from the petitioners on April 23.
The Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Mahmood Yakubu, had on March 1 declared Tinubu the President-Elect on the grounds that his party scored the majority of votes cast at the polls.
He had polled 8.8 million to defeat Atiku Abubakar of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) who scored 6.9 million, Peter Obi of the Labour Party (LP) who amassed 6.1 million and 15 others.
Disputing the result, Atiku and Obi filed separate petitions seeking orders to annul the election or declare them the winners of the polls.
The PDP presidential candidate, who anchored his seven prayers on five grounds, asked the Presidential Election Tribunal to declare him the president-elect.
Alternatively, Atiku urged the court to cancel the election and order a fresh election due to alleged irregularities that marred the February 25 polls in thousands of polling units.
In their petition, Atiku and the PDP argued that as of March 1 when Tinubu was declared the winner of the election, the entire results and accreditation data from polling units had not been transmitted and uploaded by INEC.
Obi, who came third in the election, alleged that the election was characterised by various irregularities including the non-qualification of Tinubu and his running mate, Kashim Shettima to contest the election.
He also alleged that Tinubu failed to win the majority of the lawful votes cast in the election, and just as he could not secure one-quarter of the lawful votes cast in the FCT.
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