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Federal Govt To Put Wheat On Import Restriction List

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WHEAT used to produce many staple food items, including bread and biscuit, will soon join the list of items restricted from official forex allocation by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), it was learnt at the weekend.

The implication of this is that any firm that requires imported wheat for its operation will seek alternative source of forex after the imposition of the restriction by the apex bank.

The CBN said at the weekend that $2 billion is spent annually to import wheat, thereby depleting the country’s foreign reserves.

According to the apex bank, only one per cent (about 63,000 metric tonnes) of wheat out of the five to six million metric tonnes (MT) of wheat consumed in Nigeria is produced locally.

To fill the gap, the CBN plans to jump start a massive local production of wheat.

A CBN source said: “Any moment from now, wheat will be added to the forex restriction list”.

The government, the source explained, has imported hybrid wheat seeds for dry season farming as part of efforts to boost local production.

He said the CBN’s arrangement is to put wheat farmers in a position to meet the high demand for the item.

Wheat’s flour is used to make bread, noodles, pasta, biscuits (cookies), semolina and some beverages like wheat beer and Malted milk.

Director, Development Finance Department at the CBN, Mr. Philip Yila Yusuf, told a wheat conference and stakeholders’ engagement in Abuja at the weekend.

“Wheat is the second highest contributor to the country’s food import bill putting pressure on the country’s foreign reserve”.

Rice, which is now on the restriction list, is the highest.

Yusuf said the apex bank’s intervention had become critical due to rising local demand for wheat and the inability to meet that demand.

He said: “The CBN plans to address key problems in the value chain through financing massive production of wheat in Nigeria and seeks to facilitate sustained availability of high yield seed variety in the country and to improve general productivity.

“There was enormous challenge before the CBN, which would require concerted efforts to address.”

He said there was enormous potential in wheat value chain enough to make significant impact in the agricultural sector.

The CBN will focus attention on the wheat value chain for 2021/2022 dry season planting, after sustainable progress made across the rice and maize value chain”.

Other imported agricultural items that gulp a lot of foreign exchange but are on CBN’s Forex restriction list are rice, poultry products and fish.

At the conference, Kano State Governor Abdullahi Ganduje, urged the CBN to expedite action on releasing funds, stressing that partnership among stakeholders in wheat production value chains remained critical to boosting Nigeria’s quest to be self-sufficient in wheat production.

Ganduje, who was represented by his deputy, Dr. Nasiru Yusuf Gawuna, appealed to stakeholders to be transparent in their dealings and to commence preparation for both farming and production of wheat.

Agriculture and Rural Development Minister Mohammed Abubakar, who was represented by Abdullahi Garba, expressed dismay that the country’s wheat import bills had continued to increase in recent years.

He urged stakeholders to collaborate to reverse the trend by investing more in the value chain.

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EndSARS: CNN, Amnesty International Must Apologise To FG -Lai Mohammed

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The Federal Government has demanded an apology from Amnesty International, CNN and DJ Switch for misleading the world that there was a massacre at the Lekki Toll Gate on Oct. 20, 2020.

The Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed made this demand on the occasion of the first year anniversary of the famous #EndSARS protests in Nigeria.

According to the Minister who spoke during a press conference in Abuja on Wednesday, CNN, Amnesty, and DJ Switch are all guilty of spreading fake news.

Mohammed maintained that there was no massacre of Nigerian youths at the Lekki Toll Gate incident during the protest last year and the trio mentioned only gave false and misleading reports.

The Minister insisted a professional analysis of what transpired at the Lekki Toll Gate revealed that the military didn’t massacre anyone while if truly there was any killing as widely reported, the families of the victims and those affected would have appeared with evidence before the Judicial Panel of Inquiry.

Not done, Lai Mohammed further accused the trio of spreading ‘tales by moonlight’ about what he described as the phantom killings at the Lekki Toll Gate during the EndSARS protests last year.

He said: “…During the sitting, CNN was summoned but it never showed up, thus missing a great opportunity to prove its allegation of massacre at the toll gate. Also, Amnesty International had a golden opportunity to convince the world, but it rather opted for issuing meaningless press releases.”

“In its latest attempt to grasp at straws and redeem whatever is left of its battered credibility on this issue, CNN has continued with its baseless report that soldiers shot at protesters. In a report currently running on the network, CNN brazenly and unashamedly held on to its flawed narrative, relying on an unidentified mother whose son was reportedly shot dead at Lekki, but without convincing evidence of who shot him dead. The same CNN that tweeted on Oct. 23rd 2020 that 38 people were shot dead at Lekki is now struggling to convince the world that one boy was killed at Lekki. What a shame!”

“The testimony of ballistic experts before the Judicial Panel of Inquiry in Lagos contradicts the tales by the moonlight by Amnesty International, CNN, a runaway DJ, and their ilk.”

 

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BREAKING: Police Arrest #EndSARSMemorial Protesters At Lekki Tollgate

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Operatives of the Lagos State Police Command have arrested two protesters at the Lekki tollgate where the #EndSARS Memorial Protest is scheduled to hold in the state today.

One of those arrested claimed to be a journalist while the other was seen carrying a placard.

The police had reportedly warned that anyone seen at the tollgate without an ID card will be arrested.

The arrested journalist told newsmen that he works with LegitTV and that his phone, driver’s license and other documents were taken away from him.

Speaking from a Lagos State Task Force van where he was kept by the police, the journalist who identified himself as Abisola stated that he lost his ID card in transit.

About 30 police trucks and armed personnel are currently at the tollgate to enforce a ban on protests issued by the police command.

A car procession in honour of those believed to have lost their lives at the tollgate when soldiers dispersed #EndSARS protesters on October 20, 2020, is scheduled to hold at the tollgate today.

What #EndSARS protests were about

The #EndSARS protests which were held in October 2020 were against the activities of the now-disbanded Special Anti-Robbery Squad, a unit of the Nigeria Police Force which was accused of police brutality.

The epicentre of the protests was the Lekki tollgate in Lagos where many youths gathered day and night to air their grievances against police brutality and bad governance.

They were dispersed from the location by gun-wielding soldiers on October 20, 2020, an action which some quarters believe led to the loss of lives.

This was followed by the destruction of private and public properties by hoodlums in Lagos, an incident that informed the latest warning issued by the police in the state.

PUNCH

 

 

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Police Threaten To Punish Inspector For Voting At APC Congress

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The Zone 1 Command of the Nigeria Police Force, Kano, on Tuesday said its attention had been drawn to a trending picture on the social media, of a police inspector casting his vote at the Kano State congress of the All Progressives Congress alongside his principal, the state party chairman, Alhaji Abdullahi Abbas.

A statement by the Zonal Public Relations Officer, DSP Abubakar Ambursa, added that the inspector had been identified as Bashir Mohammed of the Special Protection Unit, Base 1, Kano.

According to the statement, the Inspector is attached to the Government House, Kano, from where he was deployed to work with Abbas as a security aide.

“In view of this seemingly unprofessional conduct of the inspector, the AIG (Assistant Inspector General of Police) has referred the matter to the Zonal X-Squad for investigation.

“If the inspector is found to have committed the offence, appropriate disciplinary action will be taken against him,” the statement said.

The police assured members of the public that further development on the matter would be communicated.

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