Wike Reverses Self Over Normal Easter Service


RIVERS State Government has reversed its earlier concession which it granted churches to hold normal Easter services.

The Information and Communication Commissioner, Paulinus Nsirim, in a statement said the latest decision was taken after consultation with stakeholders

His statement reads: “For the avoidance of doubt, churches should stick to the 50 persons per service to maintain Social Distancing.

”This decision was taken after due consultations with eminent clergy men, well-meaning Nigerians and civil society groups.”

The state government had earlier announced that churches could hold their normal services in celebration of the resurrection of Lord Jesus Christ.

However, the clergy in the state expressed the desire for a continued social distancing in line with the advice by the World Health Organisation and the Nigerian Centre for Disease Control.



Tambuwal In Delta, Commends Okowa


SOKOTO State governor, Rt. Hon. Aminu Tambuwal has commended Governor Ifeanyi Okowa for enhancing the socio-economic life of Deltans through his sustained commitment towards promoting good governance in the state.

Tambuwal, the Chairman of Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) Governors' Forum spoke in Asaba while inaugurating Maryam Babangida dual carriageway constructed by the state government. He said that Okowa had demonstrated strong strength in providing excellent leadership.

He noted that the Okowa-led administration in the state was doing quite more in terms of infrastructural development anchored on the threshold of good governance, pointing out that he was also happy that the dual carriageway was named after Maryam Babangida.

While exuding delight at his invitation to Delta to perform the official inauguration of two roads in the state, Tambuwal stated that the PDP family in the country was impressed at the performance index of Governor Okowa.

"Governor Okowa has done very well in providing good leadership in all aspects of governance," Tambuwal said, noting that Delta State government had, apart from its exploits in roads infrastructural development initiative, done well in the areas of educational development, empowerment and human capital development among other sectors of the state economy.

While, also, performing the inauguration of the 7.5 kilometres Ogwashi-Uku Ubulu-Unor Road in Aniocha South Council of the state equally constructed by the state government, the Sokoto State governor noted that the Road was strategic to the growth of the town, even as he affirmed that the Road would among other benefits, connect to other parts of the state.

Earlier in his remarks during the inauguration of Maryam Babangida Road, Governor Okowa noted that the Road was strategically unique to the people and government of the state as it linked the most important aspect of state capital such as the old and new state secretariat complex, Asaba division of the Appeal Court Complex, Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Asaba branch and the state library complex among others.

“Apart from the fact that road is very important to us, it is named after a dear daughter of Asaba and Delta State, Maryam Babangida; the Road houses the most important aspect of governance in the state.

“First, we have the old secretariats (two of them) and the new secretariat complex that is coming up which, in the next few months, would house all the state government ministries, departments, agencies with the support of the two existing old secretariats. I am sure that we took the right decision to truly dualize the Road,” Okowa added.

At Ubulu-Unor, Okowa noted that the Ogwashi-Uku/Ubulu-Unor Road project became necessary following the inability of people to access the agrarian community in both dry and rainy season, pointing out that the Palace Road in Ubulu-Unor would be looked into when the economy improves.

On the COVID-19 scourge posing a global threat to health, Okowa urged Deltans to observe all precautionary measures, affirming that his administration was doing its best to keep the virus in check should there be any incidence in the state.

The Governor commended people of Aniocha South for their peaceful disposition and support for his administration, just as he pledged to continue programmes and projects which have direct bearing on the lives of the people.

Also speaking in Asaba during the inauguration of Mariam Babangida Road, the Works Commissioner, Chief James Augoye said the drainage on both sides of the dual carriageway was made up of 2.46 kilometres with a shoulder of 1.5 metres, adding that the length of the Road was 1.88 meters.

He disclosed that before 2018, the Road was not motorable, a development, which according to him, made some of the property owners on the Road to sell them as a result of inaccessibility to their property.

On the 7.5 kilometers Ubulu-Unor/Ogwashi-Uku Road project which has 12.8 kilometres drains, the Commissioner said the Road project was executed with high professional acumen because of the terrain to enable it stand the test of time.

In their separate remarks, the Chairman of Oshimili South Council of the state, Comrade Uche Osadebe and his Aniocha South counterpart, Chief Isaac Anwuzia as well as the Obi of Ubulu-Unor, Obi Kikachukwu Afamefune who spoke through Professor Jiff Mokobia, applauded Okowa for executing the road projects, just as they pledged their loyalty to his administration in the realization of the ‘Stronger Delta’ vision.




Complications In Hepatitis C Virus


By Tori Rodriquez, MA, LPC, AHC (SOURCE: Infectious Disease Advisor)

Neuropsychiatric dysfunction occurs in nearly 50% of patients with hepatitis C virus.

Although the care of patients with hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection has radically improved since the US Food and Drug Administration approved the first direct-acting antiviral medication for HCV treatment in 2013, the burden associated with the disease remains high, and the opioid epidemic has led to a surge in new cases.1 Chronic HCV infection is estimated to affect 3.5 million people in the United States and 71 million people worldwide.1,2 In this population, health outcomes and quality of life are greatly affected by a range of common comorbidities, including various types of psychological and cognitive disorders.3,4
Studies have shown that approximately one-third of patients with chronic HCV infection experience depression and anxiety, whereas other findings indicate that neuropsychiatric dysfunction occurs in up to 50% of patients.5 Symptoms of fatigue and “brain fog” are also commonly reported by individuals with chronic HCV infection.5 “Neurocognitive impairment, one of the most common extrahepatic manifestations of HCV, can lead to subtle changes in processing speed, memory, attention, fatigue, and cognitive performance,” according to a review published January 9, 2019, in Frontiers in Psychology.4

In earlier research, approximately 20% of noncirrhotic patients with HCV demonstrated cognitive deficits pertaining to attention and concentration, psychomotor speed, mental flexibility, and visual scanning and tracking, whereas roughly one-half of patients required an excessive amount of time to complete the given task and nearly 30% of patients made a significant number of errors.4 This cognitive impairment observed in patients with HCV may be similar to that seen in patients with other chronic diseases such as HIV.

Subsequent studies have also shown neuropsychiatric and cognitive deficits in patients with chronic HCV infection, and these often occurred “at stages characterized as having a lack of significant liver fibrosis and cirrhosis. These alterations typically occur independently of HCV genotype and in the absence of structural brain damage or signal abnormalities on conventional brain magnetic resonance imaging,” according to Monaco et al in a 2015 review.6 These deficits were observed in the absence of HIV co-infection, substance abuse, or depression.4

Such manifestations have been shown to be independent of the stage of liver disease and the presence of hepatic encephalopathy. Although the underlying mechanisms have yet to be elucidated, the “brain is a suitable site for HCV replication, where the virus may directly exert neurotoxicity,” as stated in a 2015 article published in the World Journal of Gastroenterology.5 Other potential mechanisms that may “explain the pathogenesis of neuropsychiatric disorders in chronic HCV infection include derangement of metabolic pathways of infected cells, alterations in neurotransmitter circuits, autoimmune disorders, and cerebral or systemic inflammation.” 5

In addition to increased rates of psychiatric illness and cognitive impairment, the authors of the 2019 review noted that psychosocial stressors, including uncertainty regarding disease course and treatment, limited social support, and a lack of coping skills affected the mental and overall health of patients with HCV.4 Stigma associated with the disease may further contribute to anxiety, decreased intimacy, social isolation, discrimination, and reduced treatment seeking and adherence.
Whether HCV-associated neurocognitive deficits improve after HCV eradication remains unclear. After HCV clearance, some studies have reported significant improvement in attention and working memory, but other findings showed no improvement in neurocognitive performance.4

In a study published in 2017, a subgroup of patients with sustained virologic response (SVR) after treatment with pegylated alfa interferon and ribavirin showed significant improvement in cognitive function.7 Based on neuroimaging data, these changes were linked to improvements in white matter integrity in the posterior corona radiata and the superior longitudinal fasciculus. “Future research should examine whether any additional improvements in neurocognition and white matter integrity among SVRs occur with longer follow-up periods,” the investigators wrote.7

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However, interferon-based therapies have been associated with high rates of mental and cognitive dysfunction and related disability.8 Emerging results of studies focused on direct-acting antivirals may provide a clearer picture of the effects of HCV eradication on these outcomes. A recent double-blind placebo-controlled trial, involving 750 patients with HCV, compared outcomes among those treated with sofosbuvir/velpatasvir vs patients receiving placebo. Patients in the active treatment group demonstrated improvements in general health, emotional well-being, and fatigue at 4 weeks and at the end of treatment.8

“The pre-vs.-post treatment neurocognitive changes that may occur among SVR patients require further research to understand the impact of neuroanatomical and functional changes in HCV patients before, over the course of treatment, and after successful clearance of the virus,” wrote the authors of the 2019 review.4 In addition, they emphasize the importance of an integrated medical and psychological approach to HCV treatment, as this model is associated with greater adherence and response to treatment.

1. Latt NL. Update on the management of hepatitis C virus infection in the setting of chronic kidney disease and kidney transplantationGastroenterol Hepatol (NY). 2018;14(12):687-705.
2. Hepatitis C. World Health Organization website. https://www.who.int/news-room/fact-sheets/detail/hepatitis-c. July 9, 2019. Accessed January 9, 2020.
3. Louie KS, St Laurent S, Forssen UM, Mundy LM, Pimenta JM. The high comorbidity burden of the hepatitis C virus infected population in the United StatesBMC Infect Dis. 2012;12:86.
4. Barreira DP, Marinho RT, Bicho M, Fialho R, Ouakinin SRS. Psychosocial and neurocognitive factors associated with hepatitis C – Implications for future health and wellbeingFront Psychol. 2019;9:2666.
5. Adinolfi LE, Nevola R, Lus G, et al. Chronic hepatitis C virus infection and neurological and psychiatric disorders: an overviewWorld J Gastroenterol. 2015;21(8):2269-2280.
6. Monaco S, Mariotto S, Ferrari S, et al. Hepatitis C virus-associated neurocognitive and neuropsychiatric disorders: advances in 2015. World J Gastroenterol. 2015;21(42):11974-11983.
7. Kuhn T, Sayegh P, Jones JD, et al. Improvements in brain and behavior following eradication of hepatitis CJ Neurovirol. 2017;23(4):593-602.
8. Huckans M, Fuller B, Wheaton V, et al. A longitudinal study evaluating the effects of interferon-alpha therapy on cognitive and psychiatric function in adults with chronic hepatitis CJ Psychosom Res. 2015;78(2):184-192.




Police Arrest Monarch for Kidnap, Roberry


POLICE in Nasarawa, north central Nigeria, have arrested 45 suspects including a traditional ruler over kidnap and robbery.
The State’s Commissioner of Police, Bola Longe said they acted on “credible information” before arresting the Sarkin Tunga, Alhaji Dalhatu Abubakar described by the police as “a notorious criminal with a long and inglorious reputation of covertly in most clandestine manner…for abetting and aiding kidnapping.”  

Another group of 30 criminal suspects were also said to have been arrested for cult related activities in the state, while some items including weapons were said to have been recovered from them.

While parading the suspects last Friday in Lafia, Longe warned criminals operating in the state to wind off; adding that police in the state would make the year 2020 a terrible year for criminals in the state.

“Acting on credible information available to the command through technical intelligence, coupled with consistent, diligent and real time monitoring of Alhaji Dalhatu Abubakar, the Sarkin Tunga, a notorious criminal with a long and inglorious reputation of covertly, in most clandestine manner, who has been on the wanted list of the state police command for abetting and aiding kidnapping activities in Loko in Nasarawa and Toto Local Government Areas, was arrested on November 11, 2019 at Mangoro Goma of Tunga Village of Nasarawa Local Government Area.”

“Upon a tip off, police personnel on aggressive patrol raided the criminal hideouts within Masaka and environs and a total of 30 suspected cultists were arrested, while the following exhibits were recovered from them: hard drugs, dried leaves suspected to be Indian Hemp, dangerous charms and three knives,” the Nasarawa Police boss said.




Ogba resigns from AFN Board


THE Chairman of Delta State Athletic Association, Solomon Ogba, has resigned his board membership of Athletic Federation of Nigeria.

According to a statement by his Media Adviser, Olukayode Thomas, Ogba’s resignation was attributed to “undue interference” in the affairs of the AFN.

 “Things are now being done without recourse to the law binding the Federation.

“As an elder statesman in Sports and Athletics, in particular, I cannot sit and continue to watch things being done wrongly.

“Though I have withdrawn from the AFN board, I will continue to give my support to the athletics in Delta and Nigeria as a whole,” Ogba said in the statement.
Source: NAN




Edo IDP inmates into varsities, Gov pledges blood


TWENTY eight inmates of Home for the Needy and Internally Displaced Persons Camp at Uhorgua community in Edo State, South-south Nigeria, are studying various courses at the Edo State University, Iyamho.

Coordinator of the centre, Mr. Solomon Folorunsho, made the disclosure in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Benin on Sunday.

According to him, eight of the inmates are studying medicine, seven law, eight nursing and midwifery, one mechanical engineering, one international relations and diplomacy while three others are undertaking some other courses.

Folorunsho said that another set of more than 100 inmates of the camp had been offered admissions to study various courses in universities in parts of the country.

He said that the IDPs were being sponsored in the universities with donations from public-spirited individuals and the International Christian Centre.

The coordinator appealed to the Federal Government and the UN Children’s Education Fund to take over the sponsorship of the inmates.

He named key challenge plaguing the camp as accommodation, feeding, health and education issues, saying that the camp was in dire need of books and writing materials for more than 3,000 young people at the camp.

Folorunsho said that the camp had been approved as centre for external examinations by NECO, WAEC, GCE and NABTEB.
According to him, the IDPs, who consume 10 bags of garri and 15 bags of rice daily are fed twice daily.
He said that a clinic had been built at the centre, appealing to the general public to donate drugs and medical facilities to the camp.

About three years back, health conditions in some of the camps in the state were said to be quite poor. A team of medical experts led by Dr. Nkechi Asogwa who visited some of the camps three years ago reported that over 80 percent of inmates; mostly women and children lacked adequate medical care.

Analysts are of the view that such permanent rehabilitation of the inmates as rebuilding and returning them to their homes is in the best interest of economics and humanity.

However, Governor Godwin Obaseki has said he would continue to make sacrifices in the interest of the state.
“God has helped us to defy all odds; people from every corner are coming to stand by us. We will continue to use every last drop of our blood to work for Edo State. Edo is worth dying for but we don’t pray for blood to drop,” Obaseki said in a thanksgiving service in Benin last Sunday. 

He told his people that truth should be constant despite the circumstances or platform.
 “Truth is not difficult, you can speak truth and still play politics. The world is a tabulator, an empty place but God has helped us to defy all odds,” he said.

The governor exalted God for the success of his administration in the past three years, as he admonished the people for their perseverance.

“God’s hands are upon you for detailed leadership exploits in communities, the state and the country. In three years, you have technically, tactically and proficiently been paying attention to destiny issues, of uncommon fruitfulness, peace and security in the state.

“You are not an ordinary man and that’s why the Christian community said you are God’s servant; you are divinely announced because of the strategic nature of our state as the Heart Beat of the nation,”he said.

Obaseki faces stiff opposition even within his party ahead governorship election coming up early next year.

Sources: NAN and edited reports




P&ID Scam; Two British Nationals Docked In Abuja


NIGERIA’S Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Monday, arraigned two British nationals, James Richard Nolan and Adam Quinn, before a federal high court sitting in Abuja for their alleged complicity in the gas supply contract scam leading to the controversial award of $9.6bn to Process and Industrial Development Limited (P & ID) by a United Kingdom commercial court.

Though Adam Quinn was not in court to take his plea, they were docked on a 16 count-charge bordering on money laundering.
Some individuals were sentenced on the same issue some weeks ago.

Some of the counts last Monday  “That you James Richard Nolan and Adam Quinn(at large), sometime in December 2013 in Abuja, within the jurisdiction of this honorable court, being Directors of Goidel Resources Limited, a Designated Non-Financial Institution (DNFI) aided the said Company in failing to comply in the requirement of submitting to the Federal Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investments a declaration of the activities as specified under Section 5 (1)(a) of the Money Laundering Prohibition Act, 2011 as amended and you thereby committed an offence contrary to Section 18(a) of the Money Laundering Prohibition Act, 2011 as amended and punishable under Section 16 (2b) of the same Act.
“That you Goidel Resources Limited, sometime in February 2014, at Abuja within the jurisdiction of this Federal High Court being a Designated Non-Financial Institution (DNFI) failed to report in writing to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission a single lodgment of the sum of $125,000 (One Hundred and Twenty Five Thousand, Dollar only), in your account number 0154696732 domiciled in Guaranty Trust Bank Plc as specified under Section 10(1b) of the Money Laundering Prohibition Act, 2011 as amended and you thereby committed an offence punishable under Section 16(2b) of the same Act.”

The trial judge, Justice Abang struck out count nine of the charge, saying “a court of law has no jurisdiction to entertain a charge against a non-registered person”.
The judge refused granting an oral application for bail of the defendants while he adjourned substantive trial to November 20 and 21, 2019.

He ordered that the defendants be remanded in prison custody until the consideration of their bail applications.
Federal government of Nigeria has been making spirited effort, through appeal, to cancel the $9.6billion court award to P&ID. It won a phase, but further rejected what the court called a $250,000 security deposit and another $200,000 as cost to PI&D if the appeal succeeded.

Nigeria’s government is alleging that the contract to supply gas to P&ID was fraudulent, as the claimed execution site in Cross River State was non-existence, but officials of P&ID said such allegation was afterthought, describing it as “a red herring.”




Buhari Presents 2020 Budget to NASS


President Mohammadu Buhari, Tuesday, presented a budget proposal of N10.33trilion to a Joint Session of the National Assembly for 2020. 

NAN reports that Ministry of Works and Housing took the highest projected allocation of N262 billion, followed by Transportation with a projected allocation of N123 billion.

“Other of the key capital spending allocations in the 2020 Budget include Universal Basic Education Commission; N112 billion, Defence; N100 billion.

“Zonal Intervention Projects; N100 billion, Agriculture and Rural Development; N83 billion, Water Resources; N82 billion, Niger Delta Development Commission; N81 billion;

“Education; N48 billion, Health; N46 billion, Industry, Trade and Investment; N40 billion, North East Development Commission; N38 billion, Interior; N35 billion, Social Investment Programmes; N30 billion,

“Federal Capital Territory; N28 billion and Niger Delta Affairs Ministry; N24 billion.”

According to the president, the 2020 Appropriation Bill is designed to enhance his administration’s social investment programmes, in order to further deepen their impact on the marginalized and most vulnerable Nigerians.

The Federal Executive Council had proposed N10.007trn for the 2020 financial year. The figure was increased to N10.33trn by the National Assembly.

President Buhari described the 2020 appropriation bill as a budget of “Fiscal consolidation to strengthen our macroeconomic environment; investing in critical infrastructure, human capital development and enabling institutions, especially in key job creating sectors.’’

He added that the budget was meant for “incentivizing private sector investment essential to complementing the government’s development plans, policies and programmes; and enhancing our social investment programmes to further deepen their impact on those marginalised and most vulnerable Nigerians.”

According to him, the projected total Federal Government revenue for 2020 is N8.155trillionn, comprising oil revenue of N2.64trn, non-oil tax revenues of N1.81trn and other revenue of N3.7trn.

“This is seven per cent higher than the 2019 comparative estimate of N7.594 trillion inclusive of the Government Owned Enterprises,’’ he said.

The president said non-debt recurrent expenditure include N3.6 trillion for personnel and pension costs, an increase of N620.28 over the 2019 fiscal year figure.

“This increase reflects the new minimum wage as well as our proposals to improve remuneration and welfare of our police and armed forces,’’ he said.

He disclosed that N2.46 trillion was earmarked for capital projects, inclusive of N318.06 billion in statutory transfers.

Other estimates are N556.7 billion for statutory transfers; N2.45 trillion for debt servicing and provision of N296 billion as sinking fund.

He explained that the sinking fund would be used to “retire maturing bonds to local contractors”.

The 2020 budget is based on an oil production estimate of 2.18 million barrels per day, oil price benchmark of 57 dollars per barrel and an exchange rate of N305 to a dollar.

Other benchmarks are: real Gross Domestic Product (GDP), growth rate of 2.93 per cent while inflation rate “is expected to remain slightly above single digits in 2020’’

He noted with delight the continued recovery of the nation’s economy as well as the increase in the foreign reserve from 23 billion dollars in 2016 to N42.5 billion dollars in August.

“This increase is largely due to favourable prices of crude oil in the international market, minimal disruption of crude oil production given the stable security in the Niger Delta region and our import substitution drive, especially in key commodities,’’ he explained.

President Buhari in the budget proposals anchored all the estimates and projections on parameters earlier proposed and approved by the National Assembly as contained in the 2020 to 2022 Medium Term Expenditure Framework ( MTEF) and Fiscal Strategy Paper ( FSP).

“Distinguished and Honourable Members of the National Assembly, the 2020 to 2022 Medium Term Expenditure Framework (MTEF) and Fiscal Strategy Paper (FSP) set out the parameters for the 2020 Budget.

” We have adopted a conservative oil price benchmark of 57 dollars per barrel, daily oil production estimate of 2.18 mbpd and an exchange rate of N305 per U.S. dollars for 2020.

“We expect enhanced real GDP growth of 2.93 per cent in 2020, driven largely by non-oil output, as economic diversification accelerates, and the enabling business environment improves. However, inflation is expected to remain slightly above single digits in 2020”, he said

However, the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) said the budget was a fraudulent one, designed to further impoverish the people

A statement issued by the party’s spokesman, Kola Ologbondiyan described it as “hazy, showing streaks of padding, fraudulent duplication, replete with false performance indices, deceptive projections and inexplicable expenditure assertions which create openings for continued looting of our national patrimony by leaders of the All Progressives Congress (APC) and persons close to the Presidency.”

The party challenged the president to disclose allocation to the presidency.
The statement reads in part:
“The PDP insists that it is inexcusable that despite the huge natural resources at President Buhari’s reach, he articulated a N10.7 trillion budget that is completely lacking in concrete wealth creation strategy, but relies on further squeezing of Nigerians through excruciating taxes, levies, and agonizing tolls.

“Standing with millions of Nigerian youths and women, our party rejects the paltry budgets of N48 billion for Education and N46 billion for Health and urges the National Assembly to review the allocations in the interest of Nigerians. “Furthermore, the PDP notes, as unacceptable that President Buhari, in his budget speech, could not give an account of his handling of the 2019 budget and had to resort to lame excuses and unsupported figures, particularly on the various unimplemented subheads in critical sectors of the economy.

“Moreover, Mr. President failed to explain why his administration has remained hugely corrupt and how his Presidency depleted our foreign reserves to an all-time low of $41,852 billion; accumulated huge foreign and domestic debts and kept the naira at its knees at about N360 to $1 under his watch.”



Lack of insurance, huge loss to Nigerian farmers

IN spite of the new policy on agriculture in Nigeria, farmers in the country lose over $57.143million (N20 billion) annually due to the inability of the country’s insurance companies to create relevant products for the emerging entrepreneurship in the sector.

Though agric enterprising in the country is springing from the traditional subsistence farming, almost all the insurance products and premiums concentrate on a few mechanised farms whose gross earning at the moment is put below 15 percent of the industry’s productivity.

“The absence of insurance products for small farmers is costing the agricultural sector over N20 billion annually,” said Dr. Kolade Adebayo, the Executive Director, Zynosism Nigeria Ltd. He spoke during the 2018 national insurance brokers’ conference and exhibition in Lagos marking the year’s World Food Day.

He stressed that insurance companies should focus and capture the activities of small scale farmers and cooperative groups. “We need insurance products that will aggregate small farmers cooperatively and provide cover for them. As such, insurance companies need to deal with poultry associations, rice farmers association and so on so that agricultural produce can be enhanced,” Adebayo stressed.

He noted that although African Development Bank approved $10m for capital market operations and energy infrastructure, risk management had been an integral element of the farming industry.

“The challenge we are having is that we don’t have the insurance partnership to cover most of our risks. The association of livestock farmers usually organize annual agric forums where we come together to discuss issues. For years we have always invited stakeholders from other sectors to rob minds together on ways of moving agric business forward. For over 10 years that we have been having this forum, while we have had many representatives from other sectors, we only see one person from the whole of the insurance industry. This is not good for the insurance sector,” Adebayo lamented.

Speaking in a similar vein, Mr. Biodun Oladapo, Chairman, Small and Medium Enterprises Trade Group of the Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry noted that livestock business in the country is stagnated given that there had not been insurance support to the industry.

 “We have seen little growth in livestock business in the country because we have not had adequate insurance support. Any farmer that has any insurance cover today got it because they wanted bank loans,” said Oladipo in his contribution, regretting however that no bank in Nigeria would give loan to any farmer without insurance cover.

Insincerity on the part of the insurers and insecurity are also problems to the small group framers. “For the farmers that have insurance, when cows enter a rice farm and eat up the rice, the insurance companies will tell you that ‘cow eating rice’ was not covered. At the end of the day, no claim will be paid and the farmer is abandoned to his fate. Such incidents have contributed to impoverishing many farmers. The experience is causing apathy between us and insurers,” said Oladipo.

He called on the insurers to introduce products which could cover all risks in farming.

While agreeing with them that there is the need for the insurance industry to partner with the sector to yield the desired growth, president of the Nigerian Insurers Association, Mr. Tope Smart, also noted that even the insurance sector is collapsing perhaps for lack of innovative ideas.  “The insurance sector is under threat of survival; it should re-strategize and innovate to continue to exist.”

In a similar development, the United States African Development Foundation (USADF) noted that it had invested over $24 million in grants to various cooperative societies in Nigeria to boost the growth of local enterprises and rural farming in the country.

This was disclosed by Mr Adamu Garba, the Executive Director of Diamond Development Initiatives, an implementing partner for USADF projects.

“USADF has invested over $24 million in these cooperatives societies over the years. They are still working in Nigeria and we look forward to getting more assistance from them,” Garba said during a conference and fair on Agriculture in Abuja.
“If we make concerted efforts in improving agriculture and backing our words with action, production will increase,” he added.

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