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Bread bakers decry increasing cost of flour, seek government’s intervention

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Nasiru Yusuf

Bread bakers in Kano state, under the auspices of Association of Master Bakers and Caterers of Nigeria, Kano chapter said that the increase in the price of flour has left them with no option than to increase the price of bread for their business to survive in the state. 

KANO FOCUS reports that the Secretary of the association, Kabiru Hassan-Abdullahi revealed this on Friday, while briefing journalists.

He said the decision was due to increase in the price of flour and other ingredients used in making the bread.

According to him, the association could have take both decision to shutdown business and subsequently increase the price, but in order not to render thousands of youths jobless which could be a threat to peaceful coexistence of the state, they decided to increase the price in the near future.

Hassan Abdullahi blamed the federal government for its failure to respond to their appeals to bring lasting solution to the challenge.

He said the association provides jobs to thousands of youths in the state and contributes tremendously to food security, but there are problems that pose danger to the business but the government has not done anything to save it.

The Secretary pointed out that after painstaking efforts to continue with the business without increasing the price of bread, despite the hike in the price of flour, the market forces have compelled the association to take the decision, otherwise its members would always be at a loss.

He disclosed that the association had tried several time to meet with the management of the flour companies in a bid to bring down the price, but their efforts were unsuccessful as the mills cited COVID-19 as the reason why the meeting could not hold.

The Secretary wondered why the price of flour was N9, 000 from late 2019 and early 2020 when the dollar exchange rate was N400 or above, but it has now reached over N16,000 while the dollar rate is still not more than N500.

He said IRS flour, made by BUA, which had been scarced at market, is the most expensive product among other brands.

While calling on Abdulsamad Isyaku Rabiu, the Chairman of BUA Group of Companies to reduce the price of his flour product, the Secretary also called on him to improve the supply of his product in order to be available at market.

He said ” I have many appeals to Abdulsamad. First, he should improve his production in order to make his product available in the markets.

“Secondly, i call on Abdussamad to ensure that the price of flour is reduced. The issue of flour price increase goes hand in hand with exchange rate. The price of flour was N9, 000 from late 2019 and early 2020 when the dollar exchange rate was N400 or above, but it has now reached over N16,000 while the dollar rate is still not more than N500. If you look at the increment, it is about 50 percent.

” I want to draw the attention of Abdussamad to consider the plight of the masses and reduce the price of the flour. He should also open door for us, the bread bakers to be doing business directly with his company.

“The reason why i said this, I have been in this business for many years, but I have never seen a Product Support or sells representative from BUA in my bakery. No sells representative ever came to sensitize me on BUA products or show me the easier ways to her the BUA products,” the Secretary complained.

The Secretary however disclosed that after holding a general meeting on Wednesday, the association had directed its members to meet with the grassroot bakers in ten days time in a bid to come up with a unified price increment that would not have negative impact on the populace in the state.

“After our general meeting, we directed our members to intimate the grassroot bread bakers in a bid to come up with a unified price increment that would not affect the masses negatively. We asked the members not to shutdown their businesses, they should continue production until 10th of July,” he said.

Abdullahi appealed to the government to look into the flour milling industry because, according to him, Nigeria exports wheat more than rice, noting that the employment opportunity created in the sector is much just higher.

He cautioned the government not to allow the business to collapse as it is a source of income to thousands of youths in the state, saying “in this security challenges, allowing our business to collapse is dangerous.”

In his part, a baker, Abubakar Bello Ja’en, who is the manager of ABJ Bread said the business is encountering a number of problems, majorly the increase in the price of flour.

He disclosed that the association had informed them that there would be no strike, but they must increase the price of the bread in order to save their businesses.

He said the decision to increase the price is not the preferred choice of the association, adding that the bakers wanted the price of flour to reduce than to increase the price of bread.

He revealed that his bakery and others are using IRS of BUA company more than other products, saying “but it is the most expensive. It has now reached up to N16, 700.”

“Let me use this opportunity to call of Abdussamad to consider the plight of people to reverse the price of the flour. People are suffering. We don’t want to increase the price of the bread. It’s against our wish,” he said.

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Kano is the biggest sesame market in Nigeria – Ganduje

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Nasiru Yusuf Gawuna

Nasiru Yusuf

Governor Dr.Abdullahi Umar Ganduje has said that Kano with its commercial potentials being the biggest agricultural commodity hub in Africa is also the biggest Sesame market in Nigeria.

KANO FOCUS reports that the Governor represented by his Deputy Nasiru Yusuf Gawuna stated this on thursday in Kano while declaring open a Sesame seed conference with the theme “Developing the Sesame seed value chain for sustainable growth” organised by the National Sesame Seed Association in collaboration with Kano State Government.

Nasiru Yusuf Gawuna

According to him the conference will create an avenue for stakeholders in the industry to identify the most effective ways to promote value chain development in the Sesame seed sector and to also discuss mutually beneficial trade opportunity so as to improve economic development and livelihood of smallholder farmers.

The Governor described sesame seed as the most sought cash crop in terms of export value in Nigeria, being one of the fastest growing sectors due to its foreign exchange earning and as a main source of income for about 5 million smallholder farmers.

He however assured that his administration is committed to towards enhancing the production of sesame both in terms of quantity and quality through financing,improved techniques and productivity.

The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Muhammad Sabo Nanono in his remarks highlighted the interventions given to the National Sesame Seed Association in the development of the sub-sector include the distribution of high yielding black,white and brown variety sesame seeds to boost productivity.

Alhaji Sabo Nanono

Similarly, he said 20 sesame cleaning machines were also distributed, in addition 2 model sesame processing centres were established in Nassarawa and Kano States respectively.

On her part, the Minister of state for Industries,Trade and Investment Maryam Katagum represented by a Deputy Director Irimiya Kaura explained that the ministry is committed towards providing enabling environment that will enhance the competitiveness of Nigerian agricultural commodities in the global trade.

She also revealed that in continuation of developing sesame seed,the ministry is implementing a robust agribusiness and industry development initiative to draw investment to the non oil sector in the country.

Speaking earlier the President of the National Sesame Seed Association of Nigeria, Sherif Balogun stated that for the past 5years they have been working assiduously to promote the sesame seed value chain as well as increasing the production from 300,000 metric tons to over 500,000 tons.

He therefore called on the public to engage in massive sesame production and processing in order to benefit from government policies like the Anchor Borrowers Programme.

While appreciating the Kano State Government for partnering with them in organising the conference,he also commended Governor Ganduje for his support and effort towards making Kano a destination for agribusiness investment.

Munir Babba Dan’agundi

The event was attended by the Jigawa State Commissioner of Agriculture Muhammad Alhassan who represented Governor Badaru Abubakar, Chaiman House of Representatives Committee on Agricultural Institutions Mannir Babba Dan’ agundi and other stakeholders.

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Kano refutes trending story on women driving ban

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Governor Abdullahi Umar Ganduje

Nasiru Yusuf

Kano state government has described as fallacious a trending story on social media platforms on a purported plan to officially disallow women regardless of any faith from getting behind the wheel.

KANO FOCUS reports that the state commissioner for Information, Muhammad Garba who made the clarification in a statement issued on Thursday, said government had at no time contemplate on the matter.

He said the story, which could not be traced to any credible source, was nothing but the imaginary thinking of the authors.

“The trending story lacks any credibility and that is why it is wholly attributed to a source that cannot be substantiated,’’ it added.

Mr Garba pointed out that if at all there was such plan, the state government does not have to be involved in any secretive meeting to decide on a critical issue that has to do its teeming populace.

The commissioner stated further that even Saudi Arabia which for decades had laws that sanctioned women from driving has, after all, lifted the ban in 2018.

He said it was interesting that some of the scholars quoted to have supported the alleged ban have already dissociated themselves from the story.

Clerics denied the story

Earlie on Wednesday, some clerics alleged to have floated the ban Salisu Shehu, Abdallah Gadonkaya and Sani Rijiyar Lemo have all refuted the story.

In a text message sent to KANO FOCUS Shehu described the story as ‘completely false and mischief.’

“It is completely false. It is a mischief. I think some wicked people are desperate about causing unnecessary confusion, controversies and disaffection among Kano Scholars,” he said.

Rijiyar Lemo alleged that the story was concocted by Shiites who were not happy with the outcome of clerics debate with controversial Kano preacher Abduljabbar Kabara.

“Our attention has been drawn to a fake news in circulation, claiming that some ulama in Kano, including my humble self, have tabled a plan to stop women from driving in the state.

“This story, in all certainty, was hatched and being peddled by some Shi’ite elements, who are not happy with the outcome of AbdulJabbar’s saga.

“You are urged to discard this false story. May the Almighty protect us from the evils of our enemies,” Rijiyar Lemo said.

Gadonkaya, on a Facebook post described the story as ‘fake news’.

“I, Abdullah Usman Umar Gadon Kaya strongly say that this is a fake news. I don’t have any hands in it. It’s the act of enemies who want to  crack peace in our dear state (Kano) and Nigeria at large,” Gadonkaya said.

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Abduljabbar Kabara: Lawyers demand audiovisual evidence as government amends charges

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Aminu Abdullahi

Lawyers defending Kano cleric Abduljabbar Kabara over blasphemy and incitement charges have urged the court to compel the prosecution to present audiovisual and documentary evidence.

KANO FOCUS recalls that Mr Kabara has been arraigned before an Upper Sharia Court at Kofar Kudu, Kano City presided by Ibrahim Sarki Yola.

Mr. Kabara’s lead counsel Sale Muhammad Bakaro entered the plea at the resumed sitting of the court on Wednesday morning.

He petitioned the court to compel the prosecution to present its evidence in the next sitting.

Abduljabbar accuses Ganduje of linking him with Boko Haram, Maitatsine

Meanwhile prosecuting counsel Aisha Muhammad pleaded for an adjournment to enable the Kano state government to amend the charges presented in the First Information Report.

The presiding judge Mr Yola adjourned the trial to August 18, 2021.

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