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Ekiti, Cavista Holdings sign multi-billion naira MOU to boost cassava farming

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The Ekiti State Government yesterday took a significant step towards agricultural transformation by signing a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with a leading Nigerian investment company – Cavista Holdings (owners of Agbeyewa Farms Limited) to establish a state-of-the-art cassava farm spanning 100,000 hectares within the State.

The MOU which is worth billions of naira was signed by Governor Oyebanji and the Chairman of Cavista Holdings, Niyi John Olajide on the sidelines of the 2024 US-Africa Business Summit currently ongoing in Dallas, USA.

Present at the signing ceremony were the Speaker, Ekiti State House of Assembly, Rt. Hon Adeoye Aribasoye; Commissioner for Agriculture and Food Security, Mr Ebenezer Boluwade; Commissioner for Industry, Trade and Investment, Mrs Tayo Adeola; Commissioner for Finance, Mr Akin Oyebode; and Commissioner for Budget, Planning and Performance Management, Mr Niyi Adebayo.

On the Cavista Team were the company’s Managing Director, Mr. Dele Odufuye, Chief Financial Officer, Mr Niran Olajide, Dr. Niyi Arije (Legal Director) Mr. Cyril Akika (Member of the Board of Directors) and senior management staff of the company.

Also present were Chief Dele Kelvin Oye, President of the Nigeria Association of Chambers of Commerce, Industry, Mines, and Agriculture (NACCIMA), who is also the Vice Chairman, Ekiti State Development and Investment Promotion Agency (EKDIPA); Chairman, Odu’a Investment Company, Otunba Bimbo Ashiru as well as other key stakeholders from the public and private sectors.

Speaking during the event, Governor Oyebanji articulated the government’s vision for agricultural advancement, emphasizing the importance of strategic partnerships in driving progress. He underscored Ekiti State’s commitment to creating an enabling environment for investment and urged other investors to explore the vast opportunities available in the state, particularly in sectors such as tourism, mining, and the burgeoning Ekiti Knowledge Zone and Special Agriculture Processing Zone.

The Governor described the MOU as a testament of his administration’s commitment to the continuity of programmes of the immediate past administration of Dr Kayode Fayemi as enunciated in the State’s 30- year development plan. “This also speaks to alignment of vision. John ( Olajide) wants to create jobs. We want our people to prosper by creating opportunities for them. So, we found a good partner in John and the CAVISTA group.” He said.

Governor Oyebanji expressed gratitude to Cavista for its unwavering commitment to Ekiti State, which has led to several success stories in the Tourism and the Agriculture sectors, bringing about jobs opportunities and income to the state.

“The private sector is very critical to developing our economy, and as a government we must ensure that the process of doing business is easy, seamless and top-notch. I am very proud that Cavista has continued to demonstrate confidence in our state, and all their investments are now success stories. So I look forward to the successful implementation of this MOU to the benefit of Ekiti State and Nigeria”.

Echoing the Governor’s remarks, Chairman of Cavista Holdings, Niyi John Olajide stated that the company had no regrets investing in Ekiti, adding that its commitment is driven by his desire to create thousands of jobs for the people of the state.

“The success of our investment in Ikogosi Warm Springs Resort and our previous agricultural investment in the state, is what encouraged us to embark on this new cassava revolution initiative, to be driven by our subsidiary – Agbeyewa Farms. We are very proud of our partnership with the state and driven by my personal goal to create thousands of jobs in the state, we look forward to another successful partnership with the Ekiti State government under the distinguished leadership of Governor Abiodun Oyebanji”. He said.

This collaboration between the Ekiti State Government and Cavista Holdings marks a significant milestone in the journey towards agricultural transformation and economic empowerment in the region. The partnership is poised to catalyze growth, drive innovation, and position Ekiti State as a beacon of agricultural excellence in Nigeria and beyond.

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Senate summons Minister of Education over stranded Nigerian students abroad

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The Senate, on Tuesday, summoned the Minister of Education, Prof. Tahir Mamman, and the leadership of the Federal Scholarship Board over the delay in the payment of outstanding grants to Nigerian students stranded in other countries.

The Senate also urged the Federal Government to impose appropriate sanctions on officials responsible for the pain and suffering the students are going through.

This is just as the upper legislative chamber said Prof. Tahir would provide a detailed report on the status of all Nigerian students under international scholarship programmes including a breakdown of their unpaid entitlements.

The Senate in plenary on Tuesday also urged its President, Godswill Akpabio, to, as a matter of urgency, “carry out a holistic investigation into the matter and ensure that necessary measures are taken to rectify this situation promptly.”

The resolution of the Senate followed a motion on a matter of urgent importance moved by the lawmaker representing Kwara Central Senatorial District, Salihu Mustapha.

He said, “These scholarships are part of a broader initiative to promote specialised education through partnerships with foreign institutions, facilitated by entities such as the Federal Scholarship Board under the Federal Ministry of Education.

“This initiative supports the government’s commitment to Bilateral Education Agreements and Multilateral Agreements with the Commonwealth and other international partners.

“There are reports of Nigerian students facing hardships in Algeria, China, Morocco, Russia and the United Kingdom due to non-payment of tuition and living stipends, leading to negative media coverage and national embarrassment.

“The recurrence of these issues suggests systemic failures, despite previous interventions by this distinguished chamber to prevent such situations.”

He added, “The Federal Government’s failure to meet its financial commitments under these international agreements for over ten months, will jeopardise the welfare and academic progress of the affected students.

“The failure to fulfil these obligations not only undermines our national reputation but also poses significant diplomatic concerns and risks pushing our students towards unlawful activities to sustain their livelihood abroad.”

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Shettima, Atiku, others attend Lamorde’s burial in Abuja

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Dignitaries from various walks of life gathered at the National Mosque in Abuja on Tuesday to pay their last respects to a former chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, Ibrahim Lamorde.

Vice President Kashim Shettima; National Security Adviser, Nuhu Ribadu; and former Vice President Atiku Abubakar were among those who attended Lamorde’s  Jannazah (funeral prayer).

Also in attendance were the Borno State Governor, Babagana Zulum and the Adamawa State Governor, Ahmadu Fintri, among others.

PUNCH Online earlier reported the burial schedule as announced by a former Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Isa Pantami, on his X handle.

The former EFCC boss died at the age of 61 in Egypt while undergoing medical treatment on Sunday.

Meanwhile, Atiku has prayed that Allah grant the deceased eternal rest.

Taking to his X, he posted, “It was with a heavy heart that I joined the funeral prayer for the late Ibrahim Lamorde at the National Mosque this afternoon.

“I pray that his family and friends be comforted. May Allah SWT forgive his sins and grant him a peaceful return. Amin.”

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Senate passes bill to reintroduce old national anthem

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The Senate has passed the bill seeking to make provision for Nigeria to revert to its old national anthem.

The Upper Chamber passed the bill following deliberations on a report presented by Tahir Monguno, the chair of the judiciary committee.

The Senate decision followed that of the House of Representatives which earlier passed the bill.

The old anthem “Nigeria, We Hail Thee” was replaced with the current one “Arise, O Compatriots in 1978.

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