President Muhammadu Buhari Tuesday declared that Nigeria’s dependence on imported products in the agriculture sector will soon be a thing of the past with the inauguration of Dangote Fertilizer Plant, which has an installed capacity of 3.0 million metric tonnes of Urea per annum.
KANO FOCUS reports that the President said the plant will further advance Nigeria’s drive towards achieving self-sufficiency in food production, create jobs, increase the inflow of foreign exchange and accelerate economic growth.
Speaking at the commissioning of the plant in Ibeju Lekki, Lagos State, the President commended the Chairman, Board and Management of Dangote Industries Limited for their business initiative in conceptualizing and building this plant, which is the second largest in the world.
The President expressed confidence that the investment in this plant will replicate the Group’s earlier exploits in the cement sector, where Dangote Cement holds the enviable record as our continent’s largest cement producer, with footprints in ten other African countries.
‘‘This new plant is a renewed testament to the widely acknowledged patriotism of Alhaji Aliko Dangote and the leadership of Dangote Industries Limited. It also demonstrates their commitment to the socio-economic development of our country and the well-being of our people.
‘‘The Group’s investment in integrated cement plants, spanning the value chain from quarry to ‘bagging, has effectively ended Nigeria’s dependence on imported cement products.
‘‘Along with the several other subsidiaries, Dangote Industries Limited has created thousands of jobs across Nigeria. It is the second biggest employer of labour in this country, after the Federal Government.
‘‘This is very pleasing because job creation by private sector operators is vital to security as it takes thousands of youths off the street,’’ he said.
On other benefits of the plant, the President expressed delight that with the commencement of exports to other countries including the United States, India, and Brazil, Nigeria is already gaining extensively in earnings of foreign exchange from the excess production of, and export from, the plant.
He noted that coming on stream of the plant had created huge opportunities in the areas of job creation, trade, warehousing, transport, and logistics, which would, in turn, create significant wealth, reduce poverty, and help in securing the future of the nation.
‘‘In the agricultural sector, another focal point of our economic policy, we expect a boom as fertilizer is now readily available in greater quantities and better quality.
‘‘Many Nigerians who hitherto practiced subsistence farming because of nonavailability of necessary inputs can now take up agriculture as a business.
‘‘We expect the rise of a new breed of agropreneurs who will add value to farming and make the nation self-sufficient in food production,’’ he said.
President Buhari used the occasion to reassure Nigerians that his government is focused on providing an enabling environment for the private sector to thrive, pledging continuity in improving infrastructure, power and security as well as enacting relevant laws and regulations to drive investments in the economy.
‘‘We are partnering with the private sector, through a tax credit scheme, in the rehabilitation of roads across Nigeria under Presidential Order No. 7.
‘‘As we know, good roads contribute to easy movement of goods and services across the nation, thus reducing the cost of doing business and improving productivity.
‘‘We are also rehabilitating our railway lines and building new ones to lessen the burden on our roads and create more effective multi-modal transportation networks,’’ he said.
‘‘I look forward to coming back to inaugurate the Refinery and petrochemical plant later in the year.
‘‘Projects of this magnitude and complexity require the support and collaboration of many persons and organisations. I am grateful to all of them.
‘‘In particular, I would like to commend the Central Bank of Nigeria, the Development Finance Institutions and the Local and Foreign Commercial Banks that have supported the investor to make these projects a reality,’’ the President declared.
Lauding Dangote for helping to rebrand Nigeria through his mega investments across Africa, President Buhari said:
‘‘He has fueled job-led growth and transformation of several African economies. I am proud of his contribution to affirming Nigeria’s leadership status in the continent, and I wish him many more successes in the future.’’
After the historic inauguration, President Buhari inspected the Group’s 650,000 barrels per day Petroleum Refinery and 900,000 tonnes per annum Polypropylene Plant sited within the Dangote Free Trade Zone Complex.
In his remarks, Dangote said the fertiliser complex, which occupies 500 hectares and built at a cost of $2.5 billion will drastically reduce the level of unemployment and youth restiveness in the country, through generation of direct and indirect employment.
”Agriculture accounts for over 20 per cent of Nigeria’s GDP, and the country is a leading producer of various agricultural commodities. The sector has the potential of becoming the biggest source of income for our Nation, providing employment and raw materials for industries.
”However, low fertilizer usage has been a major reason for low productivity in the sector. It is common knowledge that non availability of the product, in quantity and quality, rather than affordability, is the primary constraint to the use of fertilizer.
”Our goal is to make fertiliser available in sufficient quantities and quality for our teeming farmers assuring greater agricultural output,” he said.
The Chief Executive of Dangote Industries expressed immense gratitude to President Buhari, for his sustained support and encouragement, and for honoring the invitation to come, in person, and inaugurate the plant.
He also commended the leaders of the host communities and their people for providing a peaceful and conducive environment for the project to thrive, recognizing the many years of enthusiastic teamwork, labour, toil and sweat of the Management and Staff of Dangote Group for their commitment to high performance, perseverance and resilience.
The governor of Lagos State, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, recounted the role played by a former governor of the State, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, in the establishment of the fertiliser plant and the refinery.
”The idea of having a free zone in the Ibeju Lekki was conceived by our leader Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu.
”I was with him in 2003, when we took a trip to China and we were trying to conceive a free zone and this is where we are.
”The free zone is not only home to the largest fertilizer plant in Africa but will certainly be home to the largest refinery,” Sanwo-Olu said.
He thanked the President for coming to Lagos, adding that he looked forward to receiving him in a few months’ time to commission more projects.
Gov Yusuf rejects tribunal judgement, heads to appeal court
Nasiru Yusuf Ibrahim
The Kano State Governor, Abba Kabir Yusuf, has vowed to appeal the judgement of the governorship election tribunal which nullified his election and declared the APC candidate, Nasiru Yusuf Gawauna as the winner.
KANO FOCUS reports that Yusuf made the declaration on Wednesday night, while making a broadcast to the people of the state.
He said his legal team had been directed to appeal the judgement at the court of appeal in order to reclaim the mandate given to him by the people of the State.
He, therefore, Called on the good people of the state to remain calm and continue to be law abiding as security agents have been directed to ensure the safety of lives and property of the citizens.
“Let me assure you that the this government would continue to work for the development of the people of the state as the judgement will never dampen our spirit or discourage us from the good work we have started.” he said.
The Governor, who thanked the people of the state for their continued support and cooperation, urged them to go about with normal activities.
Kano records 5,800 cases of Diphtheria – UNICEF
Nasiru Yusuf Ibrahim
The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), on Tuesday, said that Kano State has recorded 5,800 suspected cases of Diphtheria from January to date.
KANO FOCUS reports that the Head, UNICEF Field Office, Kano, Mr Rahama Mohammned-Farah, stated this in Kano during a one-day media orientation on Diphtheria outbreak.
The UN Agency said the cases were recorded in 39 local government areas of the state.
According to him, Kano State has the highest number of recorded cases in the country, adding that Diphtheria was a highly contagious and infectious disease that could cause death.
Mohammned-Farah stressed that proactive measures were necessary to stem the outbreak.
“Recently, we have seen a surge in the number of reported Diphtheria cases in Nigeria, and Nigeria is currently facing an outbreak that needs to be stopped and prevented.
“As of July, Diphtheria cases have been on the rise. As of last week, over 400 suspected cases with 11 deaths have been reported in Kano.
“Out of the 39 LGAs affected, eight are the most affected, including Ungogo with 2,651 cases; Dala 989, Fagge 943, Gwale 714, Kumbotso 713, Nasarawa 538, Kano Municipal 506 and Tarauni 269,” he said.
He said that 60.8 per cent of the suspected cases had been reported in children not vaccinated, which reinforced the critical need to address the issue of zero doses, especially in Kano State.
“UNICEF delivered 1.2 million vaccines to the Kano State Government in our continuing support to the government response to Diphtheria outbreak.
“Diphtheria outbreak is a threat to child survival, health and the wellbeing of children. UNICEF is collaborating with government and partners to respond to the emergency to save the lives of children affected.
“In Kano state, UNICEF supported Tetanus-Diphtheria reactive vaccination campaigns in February, April and August, vaccinating 23,200 children in round one.
“While 277,796 children vaccinated in round two and 29,500 others in round-3 of the exercise.
“We engaged 150 traditional leaders on Diphtheria outbreak and distribution of Diphtheria IEC materials, and deployed 1,500 VCMs to the worst affected LGAs to conduct house-to-house sensitisations and referral of suspected cases to health facilities.
“Media has a key role to play particularly in infection prevention, and risk communication and community engagement,” he said.
Also speaking, Dr Muhammad Nasir-Mahmoud, the Director-General, Kano State Primary Healthcare Management Board, said the state government had adopted drastic measures to curtail spread of the disease.
“We are committed towards educating the public about what is happening and the National Center for Disease Control (NCDC) has promised that Kano will be accorded priority in terms of vaccine distribution,” he said.
While describing the media as partners in the fight against Diphtheria, Nasir-Mahmoud urged them to support the campaign against the disease.
IPAC appeals to Kano governorship tribunal to be impartial
Mukhtar Yahya Usman
The Interparty Advisory Council of Nigeria (IPAC) has urged the judges of the Kano election petition tribunal court to discharge its duties with utmost integrity and impartiality.
KANO FOCUS reports that this was contained in a statement issued by the organization secretary Kano chapter Nuhu Idris on Tuesday.
IPAC also called upon the tribunal to consider each case diligently and ensure that all the parties involved are given equal opportunities to present their argument and evidence.
It could be recalled that the election tribunal has fixed Wednesday 20th September 2023 to deliver judgment on APC’s petition against Abba Kabir Yusuf.
A hearing notice issued by the Secretary of the election petition tribunal on Monday said the judgment would be delivered at 9.00 a.m., at the High Court of Miller Road in Kano.
Mr Idris said the organization has acknowledged the importance of the electoral process in a democratic society, where the voice and choice of the people are paramount.
He said the ongoing legal proceedings before the tribunal are a testament to the vibrancy of democracy and the resolve of citizens to seek redress through legal means.
“IPAC firmly believes that justice must not only be done but must also be seen to be done.
“We, Therefore, implore the tribunal to maintain transparency in its proceedings allowing the public and all concerned parties to have confidence in the outcome of the legal process, the statement said.
He added that it is essential that the tribunal’s decisions are guided by the rule of law and the facts presented, rather than any external influence.
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