Nigerian press on Buhari’s call for Africa-Arab unity

APA – Lagos (Nigeria)

The call by President Muhammadu Buhari on African countries and their Arab partners to work hard and be more united to realise common objectives during his speech at the UN General Assembly dominates the headlines of Nigerian newspapers on Thursday.

The Guardian reports that President Muhammadu Buhari has called on African countries and their Arab partners to work hard and be more united to realise common objectives.

According to a statement by the President’s spokesman, Mr Femi Adesina, the president made the call at a bilateral meeting with the President of Palestine, Mahmoud Abbas, in New York, United States, on Wednesday.

Buhari said the actualisation of the UN resolution which proposed a Two-State solution to the crisis between Israel and Palestine required a platform to think creatively about how to engage the rest of the world on the matter.

“The rest of the world needs to be apprised of the current state of things between Palestine and Israel in order to commit to the way forward.

”There should be a better collaboration between African countries on one side and our Arab brothers to get to the end of this matter,” he said.

The Palestinian President had visited his Nigerian counterpart to thank him for being a consistent supporter of the Palestinian cause even as he reflected it in his (Buhari’s) address on the floor of the General Assembly and to solicit his support by rallying other African countries to their side.

He regretted that the Palestinian issue had dragged on for a long time without commensurate progress, adding that ”there is a daily loss of lives on the Palestinian side.”

Abbas added that Palestinians had decided to pursue a peaceful path toward resolving the matter by relying on nations like Nigeria to help in a peaceful resolution of the Two-State solution as recommended by the United Nations Resolution.

The newspaper says that the Federal Government, through Nigeria Sovereign Investment Authority (NSIA), has unveiled plans to support increased maize production from 1.5tonnes to 10tonnes per hectare by 2025.

The NSIA Managing Director, Uche Orji, while speaking at a media briefing, yesterday, in Abuja on redefining agriculture, in Nigeria for the future said the NSIA has been supporting large integrated farms to boost food production in the country.

According to him, NSIA partnered with a Dutch to raise an agriculture-focused fund for the development of large-scale integrated projects across Nigeria.

Orji noted that Nigeria currently produces 11.6million tonnes of maize yearly and it is estimated that a national average increase of only one tonne per hectare will not only result in self-sufficiency, but could generate export earnings of over $1 billion.

He stated that the authority supported Pandagric Novum Farm to boost their crop yield, as they were already doing six tonnes of maize per hectare plans but they intend to increase their yield to 10 tonnes within the next three years through cultivation of improved maize varieties and good farm practice.

He maintained that he NSIA as an investment institution of the Federal Government aims to play a leading role in driving sustained economic development for the benefit of all Nigerians, adding that Pandagric Novum, a food and feed manufacturing company located in Nasarawa State, is a flagship project under the joint venture was developed as a platform for diversification and a path to enhancing Nigeria’s protein consumption per capita.

Orji stated that the agency aims to develop the Nigerian agriculture sector enough to ensure increased production to meet local demand, as well as develop requisite infrastructure to ensure improved product quality, facilitate import substitution and provide a driver of foreign exchange earnings from the exportation of agriculture produce.

The Managing Director of Pandagric Novum, Bruce Spain, while speaking on how the company has been redefining the future of agriculture through increased crop yield said the goal of the company is to achieve over 10 tonnes per hectare by 2025.

The Punch reports that the Federal Government through its National Agricultural Seeds Council has commenced moves to make Nigeria a full member of the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development in order to boost the country’s export of seeds.

It disclosed this at the workshop on International OECD Seed certification on Wednesday in Abuja, where the global cooperation trained Nigerian officials as part of the requirements to become a certified OECD member nation.

In his address at the workshop, the Director-General, NASC, Dr Philip Ojo, said Nigeria’s seeds would be sold globally with ease once the country attained the status of an OECD membership, noting that this would halt all forms of seeds’ dumping in Nigeria.

He said, “The OECD scheme is an international organisation in the seed trade that we are joining. We have observer status now and we are trying to become a full-scale member so that our products will be able to key into that international seed trade.

“With what is going to happen now, our seeds are going to be sold anywhere, and also, our seed companies will be able to sell their seeds and increase income and economic prosperity for our country.”

Ojo stated the professionals from OECD would assess Nigeria’s facilities after the workshop and expressed optimism that the country would scale through.

“After the training, the international experts will look at our facilities, and with that, we will pass all that it takes. We are all out to ensure we key into all those schemes around the world so that we can be at par with our colleagues all over the world,” the NASC boss stated.

He added, “This is the first step in the training. We are the regulators. After this, there will be a series of training, and we are going to cascade this training to other levels.”

The newspaper says that the Academic Staff Union of Universities on Wednesday said it will appeal the ruling of the National Industrial Court of Nigeria, which ordered the union to call off its ongoing nationwide strike and resume work.

The PUNCH reports that ASUU has been on strike since February 14 to press home demands for improved funding for universities and a review of salaries for lecturers, among other issues.

 Several meetings between ASUU and the Federal Government have ended in a deadlock.

Consequently, the Federal Government went to court to challenge the strike.

The government through its counsel, James Igwe prayed the court for an interlocutory injunction restraining ASUU from taking further steps as regards the strike, pending the determination of the substantive suit.

Justice Polycarp Hamman held that the application was meritorious and deserved to be granted by the court.

“The balance of convenience tilts in favour of the applicant.

“I hold that this application is meritorious and this application is granted,” Justice Hamman ruled.

The Minister of Labour and Employment, Chris Ngige, said the government would order vice-chancellors to re-open universities based on the court order.

“The government would order the vice-chancellors to reopen the universities in compliance with the order of the court,” he said in a statement.



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