FG Sets Up Industrial Processing Zones To Target More Investors

The Federal Government has commenced the setting up of Special Agro- Industrial Processing Zones (SAPZs) as a major strategy in the economic diversification programme of the current administration and repositioning for sustainable economic growth and development.

This according to a press release by Ezeaja Ikemefuna, Director Information ( FMARD),was disclosed by the Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Alhaji Muhammad Sabo Nanono  as he declared open, the Inception Workshop in Abuja, marking the take-off of the project in the 6 (six) geo-political zones of the country.
Nanono stated that the SAPZs aims at helping to develop competitive processing capacity through the promotion of private sector investment, enabled by investment in public goods, policy interventions and the provision of desirable support services and skills development.
The Minister noted that the SAPZs will boost value addition to agriculture, improve competitiveness and in effect, reduce food imports, assure food sufficiency, create jobs for teaming Nigerian youths and in turn grow the nation’s economy by generating revenue.
Nanono said that the plan is to develop the SAPZs within a period of three (3) years across the country in areas where core economic value can be unleashed for the benefit of the rural population.
 The Minister noted that agricultural mechanization will be the main vehicle for strategically implementing the SAPZ program on an intense scale.
The SAPZs which are to be built around Brownfields – areas with developed and existing infrastructure such as rails, roads, power and irrigation systems, is being developed with the support and collaboration of the African Development Bank (AFDB) and financiers like International Finance Corporation (IFC) and African Export-Import Bank (AFREXIMBANK).
The core implementing Agencies including the Nigeria Agricultural Insurance Corporation, the Nigeria Incentive-Based Risk Sharing System for Agricultural Lending (NIRSAL), the Bank of Industry, and Bank of Agriculture among others broke into 4 cluster groups to appraise critical commodities in the value chain and proffer the way forward.
To ensure the immediate take-off of the project, the Minister will on a later date inaugurate an SAPZ technical team that will drive the process.
The Ministers of Federal Capital Territory, Water Resources, Finance, Budget & National Planning and Industry, Trade & Investment and other relevant stakeholders were duly represented at the occasion.

Fake CBN Governor Sentenced To Jail for N4.5m Fraud

Justice Agatha Anulika Okeke of the Federal High Court, Uyo, Akwa Ibom State, has convicted and sentenced one Nwalozie Onyebuchi Julius, alias Dr. Godwin Emefiele, the governor of Central Bank of Nigeria to three years imprisonment without an option of fine.

The convict according to a press release signed by Tony Orlando, Acting Head, Media & Publicity,  was arraigned by the Uyo Zonal Office of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, on a one-count charge, bordering on impersonation and obtaining by false pretence to the tune of N4.5million.

Nwalozie’s journey to jail began on December 6, 2019 when he was arrested by the operatives of Uyo Zonal Office of the Commission, based on reliable intelligence on the activities of internet fraudsters, operating in Owerri, the Imo State capital.

Upon arrest, the convict confessed to the crime and a forensic analysis of the HP laptop recovered from him further implicated him as several incriminating documents of false pretence and fraudulent extortions were printed from his laptop which he also admitted, emanated from him.

Investigation also revealed that the convict’s specialty was Business Email Compromise-BEC and his modus operandi involved searching for email addresses via Google search and sending convincing emails to his victims. He also confessed to have used a particular email address, (emefielegodwin586@yahoo.com) purportedly belonging to the C.B.N governor, Dr. Godwin Emefiele in defrauding one Omar Deep, who thought he was actually dealing with the real C.B.N Governor.

The one-count charge against the convict reads: “That you, Nwalozie Onyebuchi Julius (alias Dr. Godwin Emefiele, the Governor of Central Bank of Nigeria) on or about 26th day of August, 2019 in Nigeria within the jurisdiction of this honourable court, fraudulently impersonated one Dr. Godwin Emefiele, the governor of Central Bank of Nigeria by using email address: emefielegodwin586@yahoo.com, with intent to obtain money, property or any advantage from one Omar Deep and other unsuspecting persons, the pretence you knew to be false and thereby committed an offence contrary to Section 22 (2) (b) (ii) of the Cybercrime (Provision, Prevention Etc) Act, 2015 and punishable under Section 22 (2) (b) (iv) of the same Act.”

He pleaded guilty to the charge, prompting Joshua Abolarin, the prosecuting counsel to pray the court to review the facts of the case through a prosecution witness, Haliru Abubakar Bagudo, an operative of the EFCC.

While reviewing the facts of the case, the prosecution tendered various exhibits through Bagudo, which were admitted in evidence. Consequently, Abolarin prayed the court to invoke Section 274 (2) of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act, ACJA and convict the defendant in view of the evidence adduced and the plea of the defendant.

In his judgment, Justice Okeke said she was satisfied with the evidence before the court thatb then defendant was guilty as charged.

“Prosecution has proven beyond reasonable doubt that the defendant, Nwalozie Onyebuchi Julius, committed the offence as charged. I therefore convict you accordingly. The court equally takes cognisance of the spree with which fraudsters defraud innocent citizens and therefore sentence you Nwalozie Onyebuchi Julius to three years imprisonment with effect from date of your arrest.”

Additionally the convict forfeited his Hp laptop, which was his instruement of crime as well as the N1million recovered from him to the Federal Government.

Insecurity : 696 Killed, 395 Kidnapped In Jan 2020

Experts on security matters have raised fresh concerns over the rate what they described as “alarming”, the rate of violence and deaths in Nigeria with almost 700 killed and 400 kidnapped in January 2020 alone.

This was brought to the fore in Abuja at the weekend during the one-day ‘Brainstorming Session on Designing Advocacy Strategy Towards the Policy on Protection of Civilians organised by the Civil Society Legislative Advocacy Centre (CISLAC) in collaboration with the Centre for Civilians in Conflict (CIVIC) with support from European Union.

They warned that the intolerable level of criminality, armed conflicts and violence across the country have claimed the lives of thousands of Nigerians, while stressing the need for government to take urgent action to stem the tide.

Speaking, the Executive director of CISLAC, Mr. Auwal Ibrahim Musa, said the scale and severity of human suffering in armed conflicts in Nigeria has continued to grow at an alarming pace, explaining that conflicts in the Northeast region alone have killed over 40,000 and displaced millions from their homes, resulting in the population of greatest displacement since the civil war.

Musa said conflict in densely populated areas exacerbate risks to civilians and disrupt livelihoods, education, health systems, and critical infrastructure, creating conditions for severe insecurity and spread of deadly diseases.

To this end, he said the development of legal framework; a national civilian protection policy that would put civilians at the heart of counterterrorism and counterinsurgency operations and to protect Civilians and Civilian Harm Mitigation in Nigeria was important.

Musa added that the draft National policy will provide an opportunity for the state and non-state actors to take into account precautions in the conduct of hostilities.

“It is important we develop legal framework that can deal with human raised disaster we find ourselves. It is important we begin to think of how to protect civilians in conflict”, he said.

He also harped on the need for public participation especially with regards to policy formulation, “As part of Public participation, we don’t have power to make policies, but we are making suggestions, ideas, and recommendations on how to protect our country”.

Also speaking, the Chair National Steering Committee, Partnership Against Violent Extremism (PAVE), Mr. Aye Gaskia, described the number of deaths and crimes in the country was incredible adding that public participation was urgent participation in demanding good governance

According to him, in 2019, the country lost 3, 188 persons by mass atrocities alone in 2019, which is an average of 9 persons per day.

Gaskia said: “In January 2020 alone, 396 have been kidnapped and 695 people killed. This clearly shows the urgency of the situation we are in.

“There is supposed to be a law to guarantee safety of civilians and we need to start thinking governance and local governance”.

The chairman House Committee on Army, Hon. Abdulrazak Namdas, while expressing concerns over crime rate in the country noted that support from the Police is really vital to stem the tide and therefore not necessarily the job of the armed forces alone.

“The issue of crime in Nigeria is alarming, there is no investment with so much return like kidnapping, it is not the armed forces that should be given, we need the police,” Namdas said.


NDA Passes out 281 EFCC Detective Cadets

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission will today February 18, 2020 receive 281 Cadets of its Detective Inspectorate Course Five Cadre, who will be passing out from the Nigerian Defence Academy, NDA, Kaduna.

This was disclosed by the Acting Chairman, EFCC, Ibrahim Magu, during a Press Conference, in Kaduna, as part of activities towards the passing out parade.

“The ceremony is the peak of months of intensive and extensive military training and grooming of the cadets, in preparation of a challenging and exciting career as operatives of the EFCC,” he said.

He noted that President Muhammadu Buhari will be the Reviewing Officer at the Parade, which is scheduled to begin by 8am at the NDA, Afaka, Kaduna, along with other dignitaries that will grace the occasion with their esteemed presence.

The anti-graft czar, stressed the import of its collaboration with the NDA stating that “military training all over the world is known for discipline, perseverance, strength, courage and tenacity”.

“All these are needed in every EFCC operative as physical and psychological grooming imperative in the fight against corruption,” he said.

He further noted that the training was also to build courage for whatever challenge or obstacle that may come in discharging their duties.

He also used the opportunity to reiterate his determination to upgrade the EFCC Academy, Karu Abuja into a law enforcement degree awarding Institute in order to be a reference point for universities across Africa.

Coronavirus : OEQA Calls For precautionary measures in Schools

The Director-General, Lagos State Office of Education Quality Assurance (OEQA), Mrs. Abiola Seriki-Ayeni has re-emphasised the importance of hygiene in schools and homes in the State as a preventive measure against the outbreak of Coronavirus infection.

Seriki-Ayeni said that the Office of Education Quality Assurance is responsible for ensuring and upholding standards in schools below tertiary level and has made the health and safety of students a priority.

While noting that adequate safety measures have been put in place by the Lagos State Government, through the State Ministry of Health, she implored all Heads of Schools and Administrators to promote the culture of thorough washing of hands with running water and soap; installation of hand wash stands at strategic locations and accessible areas within the school premises for staff and students aswell as the provision of alcohol-based hand sanitisers.

Others measures, according to her, include encouraging students to keep fingers away from the nose, eyes and mouth; making tissue papers available to all students; preventing contact with people suspected to be infected and advising students with suspected symptoms or high temperatures to stay at home.

Seriki-Ayeni also implored school leaders, students and families to maintain a high level of personal and environmental hygiene to safeguard pupils, stressing that during routine monitoring exercises, OEQA evaluators will continue to emphasise hygienic practices and also monitor compliance in schools.