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Fund agriculture like oil sector — Sanwo-Olu urges financial institutions



Lagos State Governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu of Lagos State has charged Financial Institutions to fund and give preference to agriculture like the oil sector, to boost food production.

Sanwo-Olu made the call at a programme organised by the Consulate General of the Kingdom of Netherlands in conjunction with the Lagos State Ministry of Agriculture, on Wednesday in Lagos.

At the forum with the theme: ‘Urban Farming:  Feeding the Cities,’ the Governor, represented by his Deputy, Dr. Obafemi Hamzat, noted that Lagos State occupied the smallest geographical space in Nigeria, but had a population of over 22 million people.

He said that the urban farming initiative would ensure the availability of good quality planting materials and agricultural equipment for the farmers in the State.

The Governor said  it would increase local production of leafy and fruit vegetables.

Sanwo-Olu said that the government was collaborating with Netherlands’ Ministry of Agriculture on urban farming to ensure food security and a boost in agricultural production in the state.

According to him, “It is our belief that urban farming initiatives have the potential of improving the food basket of the urban dwellers.

“It reduces spoilage of foods due to long hours of transportation majorly caused by vehicle breakdowns and reduces cost of transportation from rural to urban areas.

“Urban farming will also provide farmers with various agricultural inputs, technologies, equipment and other technical know-how that would stimulate aggressive and sustainable agricultural production.

“Urban farming comes with great benefits, in that, it is adaptable, accessible, aids the provision of inexpensive fresh produce, particularly to low-income communities,

“It will also build bonds by stimulating the economy and providing a mutually beneficial experience, and reduces the need for huge capital outlay for land purchase,” he added.

Sanwo-Olu said his administration had given agricultural production a boost by making food security one of the cardinal programmes of the THEMES Agenda and a key strategy toward making Lagos a 21st-century economy.

“We have embarked on various projects and programmes aimed at increasing food production as well as providing food security by laying more emphasis on areas where we have a comparative advantage,” he said.

He urged farmers at the forum to network with their Dutch counterparts towards harnessing the useful technologies that can bring about increased food yields in the most sustainable ways.

Similarly, the Netherlands Consul-General, Mr. Michel Deleen, who was represented by his Deputy, Mr Arie Plieger, noted that Netherlands is the second largest producer in the agriculture sector, after the U.S.

He said that the country was ready to help Lagos and Nigeria to attain food security and sustainability through urban farming and technology.

“It is a crucial time to talk about food and how to improve food production not only in the interest of Lagos, Nigeria and the Netherlands but this is beyond borders and continent.

“We as a global community have so many mouths to feed, growing population around the globe. We want to strengthen food security, food safety for everyone,” he said.

Also, the Regional Agriculture Counselor for West Africa, Netherlands Ministry of Agriculture, Mr Bram Wits, said that they were in Nigeria on a Trade and Investment agenda.

Wits said that Netherlands made a total of 1billion euro export in agriculture to the rest of the world in 2021.

“We are here to partner and develop the agriculture structure of Nigeria together and South-West in particular,” he said.

Similarly, Lagos State Commissioner for Agriculture, Ms Abisola Olusanya, said the theme was apt as the Lagos State Government had set for itself the target to increase the quantity of food it produces and consumes from 20 – 24 per cent to 40 – 50 per cent by the year 2025.

Inside Lagos

We’ll preserve cultural heritage, respect diversity representation in Lagos — Sanwo-Olu



By Moses Adeniyi

Lagos State Governor, Mr. Babajide Sanwo-Olu has said in as much as his administration seeks to preserve the cultural heritage of Lagos, conscious attention will not suffer to respect the diversity representation of the Country in the State.

This, he noted, was essential to keep and enhance harmony of peaceful co – existence among socio-cultural and ethnic representations in the State, while assuring Lagos will continue to be home to everyone irrespective of ethnic, religious or political affiliations. 

Sanwo-Olu gave the assurance while addressing the Oba of Benin, His Royal Majesty, Omonoba N’Edo Uku Akpolokpolo Ewuare II, who on Sunday harped on the diversity and unity of Nigeria when he paid a courtesy visit to the Governor at the Lagos House, Marina.

The Oba stressed the need for unity of Nigeria, mentioning the diversity and unity of Nigeria made the country big and the giant of Africa.

According to him, it is good for Nigerians to be together, and iron out the differences of the different  groups.

“Nigerians should know that diversity is good for the people. Nigeria is big but we are still together. We will remain together like this but have to iron our differences. We should learn to live together like one big family,” he said.

The Oba further congratulated President Bola Tinubu, saying that it was the will of God that he would be the president of the country.

He also congratulated Gov. Sanwo-Olu on his re-election, and urged him to uphold his electoral promises to the masses.

Reacting, Sanwo-Olu thanked the Oba of Benin for visiting, as he rarely left his kingdom, hence, Lagos would not take such visit for granted.

Governor Sanwo-Olu, who eulogised the Oba of Benin for distinguishing himself among the traditional rulers, said his protection of culture and promotion of traditional values have earned him maximum respect across the country.

 Sanwo-Olu while conveying the greetings of President Bola Tinubu to the Oba of Benin, urged the traditional ruler to continue his support for the present Federal Government to ensure citizens benefit from dividends of democracy which he noted are becoming evident in the third quarter of the year with a rise in the country’s GDP.

The governor also thanked the Oba for his fatherly role, prayers, best wishes for President Tinubu’s government, assuring the president will not disappoint.

“I am sure that he will not disappoint you. He will do everything possible to ensure the real dividend of democracy that helps our country to reduce the poverty in the land, to give us a new sense of hope and to redefine social economic development.

“We are beginning to see some of these interventions. Just last week, we saw another quarter of GDP growth in the country. The GDP growth has improved from what it was the last one or two quarters.

“So, we believe that with him at the helm of affairs, he will do a good job,” he said.

He described Lagos as the shoulder and neck of the country, hence, the government will continue to make sure that it remains home to the masses far and wide.

Sanwo-Olu also conducted the Oba around the John Randle Center for Yoruba Culture and History at Onikan.

“We are preserving the Yoruba culture and heritage for today and future generations,” he said.

The Oba commended Gov. Sanwo-Olu for promoting culture and tradition with the centre. 

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Prioritise children’s best interests —Lagos Youth Commissioner tells custodian homes



In taking care of the children in Government owned homes in Lagos State, the best interest of the child must be made of paramount importance in order for all of them to become well brought up.   

The Lagos State Commissioner of Youth and Social Development, Mr Mobolaji Ogunlende gave the charge during his familiarisation tour to Children Centre; Children Correctional Centre for Girls; and Special Correctional Centre for Girls located in Idi Araba, Surulere.

He said, “As caregivers, looking after our children, you are doing a very good job which the State Government cannot thank you enough for. You are providing a solution to a very big societal problem by what you are doing. We acknowledge the fact that it’s not easy considering all the challenges you encounter from day to day in the course of discharging your duties.”

The Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Youth and Social Development, Pharm (Mrs) Toyin Oke-Osanyintolu urged the caregivers to discharge their duties efficiently with love in their hearts in order for the Ministry to be able to achieve its set goals for the Centres.

Pharm (Mrs) Oke-Osanyintolu advised the caregivers to put in place “an exit plan” which would guide them in implementing the ideal timeframe set for all the children in the Centres.”

According to the Permanent Secretary, any child admitted into the Homes for care is given the opportunity of undergoing in-house skill vocational training in tailoring, shoemaking, hairdressing, bakery, makeover, head tie or any other vocation in line with their choice and talent that will ultimately make them economically empowered upon leaving the Centres.

The Ministry has 15 Centres and Institutions which cater for the needs of children, the elderly as well as the youths in the State.

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Domestic violence: LASG extends fellowship with NGOs to empower victimised women



By Moses Adeniyi

The Lagos State Government (LASG) in its effort to address rising occurrences of gender and domestic violence  has extended its fellowship scope with Non Governmental Organisations (NGOs) and Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) to protect women victims of domestic and gender based violence.

With the engagement, the Government aims to strengthen advocacy and campaigns against domestic violence, while creating empowerment modalities to help victimised women.

This, the State Government mentioned, was essential to protect vulnerable women from being victimised and create a secure way out for those who fear what would become of them when they need to take an exit from a home where they are being abused.  

The State Commissioner for Women Affairs and Poverty Alleviation (WAPA), Mrs. Cecilia Dada, at the strategic Year 2023 Interactive Meeting with Women – focused Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) organised by the Ministry of WAPA., said the State Government have taken the engagement on empowerment so very keen to ensure social inclusion for women to be empowered, essentially to derisk them from vulnerability.

She said the symbiotic liaison is targeted at empowering women and prevention of violence against them, raising “awareness and advocacy to create a society where women are empowered  and  protected from violence.”

Dada disclosed that the Ministry under her watch has upscaled its conditional cash transfer scheme to vulnerable women to N50,000 from N20,000, noting that it was targeted at empowering them to engage productively in business.

She said the engagement  affords the opportunity to rub minds with stakeholders on progress testament to “collective commitments in creating a society where women have equal opportunity to thrive and succeed.”

She added that the engagement would further ensure formulation of strategies to address challenges facing women in the Society,  while giving them equal access to empowerment, education, and skills to enable them not only to “improve their own lives, but also contribute significantly to the overall development of our communities and nation.”

Lamenting that women face barriers in participation and representation across sectors, she said the need to address the challenges informed the engagement to devise practical solutions to reducing poverty to the the barest minimum through empowerment of women and defence of women’s rights.

“Working with stakeholders will certainly help to maximise impact towards the most vulnerable portion of the population,” she said, mentioning that proactive approaches, such as leveraging ICT with relevant data would be adopted by her Ministry to work abreast of development as they unfold.

She added that the Ministry would foster strategies to enable women generate sustainable income.

The Commissioner said the Ministry seeks to leverage enhancing economic empowerment; education and skills development; health and reproductive rights; gender-based violence prevention and response; social protection programmes; advocacy and policy reform; collaborations and partnerships; collaborations and partnerships; data collection and analysis to empower and protect women.

On gender based violence, she said the Ministry is working towards implementing strategies to deliberately tackle domestic and gender based violence with response tables established in the 57 LGAS and LCDAs across the State.

She called on the stakeholders to be versatile in their reach in the campaign to reduce poverty to the barest minimum.  

On her part, the Director Domestic Violence Unit, Ministry of WAPA, Mrs Olorunfemi Toyin, lamented that women due to current economic situations in the Country are increasingly exposed to indulging in dehumanising ventures such as trafficking, illicit sex labour, and drug abuse, among others.

This, she said, has further exposed them and made them vulnerable  to incurable diseases as HIV, and other incommunicable diseases.

This, she said, informed why the State Government has further engagement with the stakeholders to extend the tentacles of the outreach to protect vulnerable women.

“We should not relent as NGOs and CSOs to change the narrative. We can work together, go everyhwere even in the rural and riverine areas to change the situation,” she said.

She stressed that empowering domestic violence survivors financially remains critical to helping the victims.

“Tell the women you are not supposed to die in that marriage, come to WAPA there is help for you,” she said.

She, however, said premarital counselling is key for women before going into marriage, as a preventive measure to addressing  domestic violence. 

She said advocacy was ongoing strongly with interministerial network including the State Ministries of Health, WAPA, Youth and Social Development, to tackle gender and domestic violence in the State. 

On his part, John Afemikhe of Joe Oriaze Imhanwa Foundation, called for creation of a system of re-orientation of domestic violence survivors, fostered by the State Government in collaboration with relevant stakeholders.

He said the re-orientation was vital, having noted that when women come out of abusive marriages, their mental states are affected, mentioning that without such reorientation for rehabilitation, they are likely  to transfer the aggression on to the society.

The stakeholders called for vibrant legislation  to address the lag in domestic violence fighting, calling for stricter campaigns, psycho-social interventions, robust databases and stronger awareness to further strengthen the engagement.

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