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Buhari flags off Kano-Kaduna rail project

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Nasiru Yusuf

President Muhammadu Buhari has flagged off the construction of the Kano-Kaduna railway project. 

KANO FOCUS reports that the rail project is the third segment of the Lagos-Kano standard gauge railway modernisation project.

The first segment (Abuja-Kaduna) and the second segment (Lagos-Ibadan) were inaugurated for commercial operations in July 2016 and June 2021, respectively.

Speaking at the groundbreaking ceremony on Thursday, Buhari said the railway station is strategically located adjacent to the Dala Inland Dry Port in Kano.

The president said his administration recognises rail transportation as a potent economic driver and as such, has accorded railway infrastructure development the greatest priority.

“The take-off of construction activities on this segment of Lagos-Kano vividly represents the commitment of this administration in the revival of the Nigerian railway system to reduce the deficiency in our transportation infrastructure and drive effective and more efficient transportation of passengers and freight within the country,” Buhari said.

“This project is crucial to the establishment of a supply chain in railway transport within its corridor, Kano-Kaduna-Abuja, as it links the major commercial cities of Kano and Kaduna to the federal capital territory, Abuja.

“This railway connection, when completed, will establish the ports in Lagos, as the choice for import and export business of the people of landlocked Niger Republic.

“This would positively drive our economies through employment from new business opportunities and wealth creation.

“The federal ministry of transportation and ministry of finance are working to engage co-financiers to conclude financial agreements for the development of the Ibadan-Kano line and further increase the bankability of the project.

“The railway line will be linked to the second port in Lagos, the Tin Can Island port. It is also expected that the dry inland port on these routes will be activated. The ports can now receive imports directly from the international market as ports of destination.

In his remarks, Rotimi Amaechi, minister of transportation, said the proposed mega-railway station at Zawachiki in Kano would be the biggest train station in Nigeria when completed.

“The project will improve the standard of living within this corridor, create employment…we will not employ anything less than 20,000 workers on this route. It will also promote trade.

“In the long term, the railway will help decongest the Lagos port complex and increase efficiency and as well as further increase the viability of the inland dry port located in Ibadan, Kaduna and Kano.

“The Ibadan-Abuja (railway project) will link the seaports to Maradi, Niger Republic, which I believe will greatly boost trade between the two countries and foster economic development

Ameachi also hinted that the federal government would soon construct another railway that will link Sokoto-Kebbi-Zamfara to the national railway network.

“Currently, we are awaiting the national assembly for the approval of the loan facility to continue the work from Port-Harcourt to Maiduguri,” he added.

“The work traverses Port-Harcourt, Aba Umuahia, Enugu, Markurdi, Lafia, Jos, Kafanchan-Kaduna, Bauchi, Gombe, Damaturu, Gasua, and then Borno.”

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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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