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Senate President lauds Nigerian for inventing cocoa pod breaking machine

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Senate President Bukola Saraki on Tuesday commended a 66-year-old Germany-based Nigerian engineer, Mr Olusegun Arowolo, for inventing a cocoa pod breaking machine, the first ever in the world.

Saraki made the commendation in Abuja at the public demonstration of the machine — “Gideon Cocoa Pod Breaking Machine’’ – which can break 30,000 cocoa pods in one hour.

He challenged the youth to use technological skills in to promote commercial agriculture in the country.

Saraki, who was represented by Sen. Abdullahi Adamu, Chairman, Senate Committee on Agriculture, underscored the need for youths to embrace large-scale farming in efforts to grow the nation’s economy.

He said that government was committed to providing an environment that was conducive to modern agriculture, as part of efforts to boost agricultural production.

Saraki said that this had become imperative as government was bent on reviving the economy through the non-oil sector, particularly through agriculture.

He said that agricultural mechanisation would encourage the youth to participate in crop growing, as it would reduce the stress and drudgery associated with current methods of farming.

He said that technological innovations in agriculture would enhance agricultural productivity, which would consequently lift the nation out of economic recession and provide jobs for the youth.

Saraki applauded Arowolo for inventing the cocoa pod breaking machine.

Sen. Adamu, who spoke on behalf of the Senate and House of Representatives Committees on Agriculture, commended the inventor for thinking about Nigeria in his activities after a 40-year-sojourn in Germany.

He said that the National Assembly had been making concerted efforts to make farmers adopt improved technology in their operations.

He said that adoption of improved technology and increased farm sizes was inevitable and imperative in efforts to increase food production and boost food security in the country.

Adamu said that it is so unfortunate that a large number of Nigerian farmers still relied on the use of crude farming implements, adding that only few farmers engaged in mechanised farming.

He said that the Senate Committee on Agriculture would review the public demonstration of the machine and make appropriate recommendations to the Senate President and Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development.

He, however, challenged local manufacturers to venture into the manufacturing of farm equipment, saying that tangible efforts should be made to increase the availability of state-of-the-art agricultural equipment in the country.

Adamu said that the committee could also encourage local manufacturers of farm equipment by recommending them to banks and the government for loans or tax holidays.

Also speaking, Sen. Heineken Lokpobiri, the Minister of State for Agriculture and Rural Development, underscored the need to develop and fabricate modern technologies in Nigeria, which was one of the largest economies in Africa and world in general.

He said that Nigeria, which had abundant human and material resources, was also blessed with a huge population of young people who should be passionate in efforts to drive the economy through agricultural development.

Lokpobiri said that the innovation was in line with the Federal Government’s plans to revolutionise cocoa production, with the aim of restoring Nigeria’s position as a leader in global cocoa production.

He said that the long and arduous process of breaking cocoa pods manually by farmers had been identified as a serious obstacle facing efforts to increase cocoa production for local consumption and exports.

The minister said that the cocoa pod breaking machine would substantially remove the drudgery associated with cocoa farming.

“The machine will drive changes, encourage high productivity and the process will remove a substantial amount of drudgery from farm labour.

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Nigeria Police law obsolete, existing since 1943 – Senator

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By Sarauniya G Usman, Abuja

Sen. Bala Na’Allah, the Deputy Majority Leader of the Senate on Monday said the nation was operating an obsolete Nigeria Police law, which had been in existence since 1943.

Na’Allah said this at a dialogue session with the National Assembly and Stakeholders on Police Reform and Police Bill organised by the Policy and Legal Advocacy Centre (PLAC) in Abuja.

He said that was why he decided to sponsor the Police Reform Bill to make the police to be abreast with global best practice.

He said that the bill had passed second reading and was currently at the committee level and hopefully, public hearing would be conducted, then senate would consider the report within the next 30 days.

“The Nigeria police force is always critisised for not delivering on their responsibility; as a party that promised to leave Nigeria more secured than it met it, we decided to initiate this reform.

“We are not too comfortable with the situation where only the few get good security while the larger population is left at their own peril.

“So we decided that let us look at what happens around the world and check what is wrong with our own system.

“We discovered that the structure of the Nigerian police will never ever give it the kind of efficiency and effectiveness that it requires to be able to secure the population of Nigeria .’’

Na’Allah said that was the reason for the reforms to bring sufficient funding, and localise the operation of the police in such a manner that every community would be secured based on international best practice.

He said that the reform when passed would enhance the coverage of the police to the grassroots and enable them carry out their duties without boundaries.

“If you are travelling on the road, and you are robbed at the border between one police station and another, the police will proudly tell you that it is not under their jurisdiction.

“Yet we have one Nigerian police, so how can it be that when something is happening somebody will say it is not under our jurisdiction? That is not done anywhere in the civilised world,’’he said.

Na’Allah said that the police reform would ensure that every citizen in need of help got it and there would no more be the issue of bringing police report before treating gunshot patients.

He said that an elaborate provision was being made including constituting a police committee to receive complaints from the public and deal with it decisively.

Mr Lawal Abubakar, the Chairman House Committee on Police Affairs, said that the bill was going for public hearing, adding that it would change the narrative of the activities of the police.

Abubakar called for the input of citizens and the police to enrich the reform process and produce a bill that would stand the taste of time to face the contemporary Nigerian challenges.

The Inspector-General of Police, Ibrahim Idris, who was represented by CP Adat Ududo, CP Admin, Research and Planning Department commended National Assembly for the reform.

Idris advised that the issue of funding and manpower should be taken into consideration.

Mr Clement Nwankwo, the Executive Director, PLAC said that the event was organised to essentially to look at the bill of the reform of the police.

Nwankwo said that Nigeria was operating a 1943 law guiding the operations and the work of the police thus the reason for the review, especially in the light of new circumstances.

“Operating a Nigerian police with 1943 law is certainly unacceptable so we need to bring the legal framework guiding the creation operation and functions of the police in the modern times.

“This will be the first time that the 1943 law will be considered for a reform so certainly it is important for us to get the police law reformed.

“We hope that this is the huge opportunity everybody takes advantage of to ensure that we bring our law into conformity with modern times.’’

Nwankwo said that the law when passed, would create a well funded police that would be accountability to ensure that police respect human lives among other things.

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2019 presidency: How we’ll stop APC from rigging election – Atiku’s camp

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Former Vice President, Atiku Abubakar

Former Vice President, Atiku Abubakar

The Atiku Campaign Organisation has said that the People Democratic Party, PDP, Presidential candidate, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, will defeat President Muhammadu Bubari in the forthcoming general election with a wide margin to make it difficult for the ruling party to attempt rigging.

Spokesman of the campaign team, Segun Sowunmi also revealed on Monday in Abuja that the PDP campaign team will not exercise any form of fear going into the February presidential election.

Speaking at the public presentation of a book, “The man Atiku Abubakar, a square peg in a square hole; 100 reasons to vote,” Sowunmi said the insinuations in some quarters that the ruling party will rig the coming election should be dismissed.

“They say they will rig in 2019 but I tell them, it is only when we don’t beat them with a wide margin. We will beat them with a wide margin and make it impossible for them to rig in 2019.”

According to Sowunmi, Atiku will not spend one day as president wasting time, even as the PDP administration will not bring indolent with him when he emerges the next president.

He urged the Atiku support group to tak the message to the people across the country on the need to rescue the country from the hands of the current handlers.

Meanwhile, the PDP has, however, expressed willingness to sign Peace Accord between major political parties and major contenders as it is being canvassed by the European Union and other countries ahead of 2019 general elections.

Speaking on the need for the Peace Accord, PDP National Publicity Secretary, Kola Ologbodiyan, said, “We will support peace accord between major political parties and between major contenders. The People Democratic Party is open to that because we are a party of peace. We are a democratic party, who believe in the tenets of democracy, rule of law, justice, freedom, these are what make us a democratic party.

“If there is any group or a group of Nations that are canvassing that we should allow peace to reign during the election, surely the PDP will abide by that.”

He called on INEC to allow for a free, fair and credible election.

“I want to assure because Nigerians are sick and tired of the hunger, starvation, denial that the All Progressives Congress has imposed on Nigerians we plead with INEC to allow for a free, fair, credible and transparent elections in 2019.

“We also want them to take a lesson from our National Convention in Pirt Harcourt, which was adjudged as one of the best in the political history of our country. It was civil, it was clean, it was clear, it was transparent and it was generally acceptable by all the aspirants.

“So we look forward to INEC holding Nigeria elections that will generally accepted by the majority of parties and the majority of Nigerians.”

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Sex-for-mark: OAU professor lands in prison

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Disgraced Professor Richard Akindele: now sacked by OAU authorities

Disgraced Professor Richard Akindele: now sacked by OAU authorities

A Federal High Court in Osun has remanded an Obafemi Awolowo University (OAU) Lecturer, Prof. Richard Akindele, in Ilesa prison custody, for allegedly demanding sex for mark from his student.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that Justice Maureen Onyetenu ordered the remand on Monday pending the filing of his formal bail application.

Mr Kehinde Adedoye, the Independent Corrupt Practise and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) Prosecutor, had told the court that the defendant had on Sept. 16, 2017 unlawfully demanded sexual benefits for marks from Monica Osagie.

According to the prosecutor, the defendant is facing a four-count charge.

“The defendant corruptly asked for sexual benefits from Ms Monica Osagie on account of favour to be afterwards shown to her in the discharge of his official duties as a lecturer, to wit: altering her academic grades from fail to pass in the course, MBA 632 – Research Method,” he said.

The offences, he said, contravened Sections 8 (1) (A) (2) and 18 (d) of the corrupt practices and other related offenses Act 2000 and punishable under same sections.

NAN reports that the defendant, however, pleaded not guilty to the charges preferred against him.

The Defense Counsel, Mr Fola Omotoso, thereafter, prayed the court to grant his client bail in the most liberal terms.

The ICPC counsel, however, opposed the bail application, noting that the defendant had refused to appear before the commission since he was granted administrative bail.

Onyetenu, therefore, ordered the defense counsel to file a formal bail application before the next date of adjournment.

The trial judge adjourned the matter till Nov. 27 for definite hearing and ordered the remand of the defendant.

NAN reports that the defendant is a lecturer in the Department of Management and Accounting of the university.

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