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Kwara Govt presents agricultural asset items to 2,019 farmers

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By Saka Laaro, Ilorin

The Kwara State Government has supported two thousand and nineteen (2,019) indigent farmers in the State with agricultural asset items in the third phase of the Kwara Fadama CARES intervention.

Items received by farmers at the ceremony  included knapsack sprayers with PPE (Personal Protective Equipment), Fish Smoking Kilns, Rain Gun Sprinklers, Water Pumping Machines with accessories for fish farmers, Poultry Feeders and Drinkers, Small Ruminants, Maize shellers and Soya Beans Threshers.

Recall that there have been two phases of disbursement by Kwara Fadama CARES earlier, with the State Governor, Mallam AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq (CON), flagging off the ceremony of the first phase of disbursement on the 21st of June, 2022, in Oke-Oyi, Ilorin East LGA, where a large number of indigent farmers got both crop inputs and assets.

Flagging off the third disbursement exercise, His Excellency, Mallam AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq, stated that interventions by Kwara Fadama CARES are tailored towards easing hardship in the country, noting that such will go a long way to reduce hunger and poverty.

The Governor, who was represented by the Chairman, State Fadama Technical Committee, and Permanent Secretary, Kwara State Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, Mr. Ishiaq Olayinka Oloruko-Oba, said the items given will be monitored to ensure that they are judiciously used.

The Chairman, Nigerian Governors’ Forum, also warned the beneficiaries against commercialisation of the asset items, adding that if the items are used effectively, the expected impact will be felt in society.

Earlier, the State Project Coordinator, Kwara Fadama CARES, Engr. Dr. Busari Toyin Isiaka, disclosed that the Kwara Fadama CARES is premised on the objectives of the COVID-19 Action Recovery and Economic Stimulus with the support of Governor AbdulRazaq,  adding that the agricultural inputs and assets distributed are free.

Chronicling the statistics of Kwara Fadama CARES interventions so far, Busari observed that, “With the support of His Excellency, we are giving 2,019 farmers succour today. In the first disbursement in the year 2022, 6, 561 farmers benefited from both input and asset distribution, while, as a sequel, 8, 020 beneficiaries emerged in the second phase.”

According to him, Governor AbdulRazaq has supported Sixteenth Thousand and Six Hundred (16,600) indigent farmers through the Kwara Fadama CARES so far, assuring farmers in the State of more interventions.

The flag off event involved symbolic presentations performed by the representative of the Governor after he had been conducted round to confirm the various items to be distributed to the beneficiaries.

One of the beneficiaries, Comrade Jamiu Ahmed of Ogo Oluwa Farmers’ User Group from Ilorin West LGA, thanked the Governor, Mallam AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq, for the timely intervention, promising that the farmers would not abuse the opportunity to make the people feel the impact of the initiative.

Also in attendance were Director, Agric Services, Hajia Hafsat Hussein; Director, Fisheries, Alhaji Ganiyu Oba Alao; Director, Livestock Services, Mallam Umar Ahmed Mohammed and MD KWADP, Dr. Khadijat Ahmed Alege.

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U.S. army sets deadline for troop withdrawal from Niger

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The United States has initiated the withdrawal of its military forces from Niger Republic, following directives from the West African nation’s military leadership.

The withdrawal process, slated to be completed by September 15, 2024, marks the end of an era of American military presence in the country.

According to a press release jointly issued by the National Council for the Safeguarding of the Homeland and the US Department of Defense on Sunday, discussions between the two parties, held from May 15 to 19, 2024, in Niamey, Niger, aimed to ensure the orderly and safe withdrawal of US forces from the region.

Led by high-ranking officials such as Assistant Secretary of Defense for Special Operations and Low-Intensity Conflict, Christopher Maier, and the Chief of Staff of the Nigerien Army, Colonel-Major Mamane Kiaou, the discussions emphasised transparency and mutual respect.

The withdrawal encompasses troops stationed at key bases, notably the strategically significant $110 million drone base in Agadez.

“Representatives of the U.S. Department of Defense and the Department of National Defense of the Republic of Niger met from May 15 to 19, 2024, in Niamey, Republic of Niger, as part of a Joint Disengagement Commission, to coordinate the orderly and safe withdrawal of U.S. forces from Niger.

“These discussions between the militaries were conducted in complete transparency and with perfect mutual respect between the two parties.

“The U.S. Department of Defense delegation was led by the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Special Operations and Low-Intensity Conflict, Mr. Christopher Maier; and the Director of Joint Force Development in the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Lieutenant General Dagvin Anderson. The delegation of the Ministry of National Defense of Niger was led by the Chief of Staff of the Army, Colonel-Major Mamane Sani Kiaou,” the statement read in part.

Despite the military disengagement, both nations affirmed their commitment to ongoing diplomatic dialogue and cooperation in areas of mutual interest, including counterterrorism efforts.

“The U.S. Department of Defense and the Ministry of National Defense of Niger have reached a disengagement agreement to effect the withdrawal of U.S. forces, which has already begun. It is therefore agreed that this disengagement will end no later than September 15, 2024.

“Both delegations confirmed the guarantees of protection and security to the American forces during their withdrawal. The delegations also established procedures to facilitate the entry and exit of U.S. personnel, including overflight and landing clearances for military flights.

“The U.S. Department of Defense and the Nigerien Ministry of National Defense recall the joint sacrifices of Nigerien and U.S. forces in the fight against terrorism and commend each other’s efforts to build up the Nigerien Armed Forces. The Parties undertake to continue cooperation in areas of common interest.

“The withdrawal of U.S. forces from Niger does not affect the continuation of U.S.-Niger development relations. The United States and Niger are committed to ongoing diplomatic dialogue to define the future of their bilateral relations,” it added.

The US initially established a military base in Niger to combat armed groups aligned with al-Qaeda and ISIL operating in the Sahel region, which includes Burkina Faso and Mali. The primary airbase in Agadez, located about 920km from the capital Niamey, has been a crucial site for both manned and unmanned surveillance flights and other military operations.

On April 19, 2024, the US announced plans to withdraw its troops from Niger due to the West African nation’s growing alignment with Russia and its distancing from Western powers. Consequently, the US Department of State agreed to pull out approximately 1,000 troops from the country, which has been under military rule since July 2023.

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Reps seek more financial investment for federal teaching hospitals

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The House of Representatives Committee Chairman on Health Institutions, Amos Magaji, has called for a sustained financial investment in the federal teaching hospitals across the country.

He said this will be in line with the Renewed Hope agenda of the President Bola Tinubu-led administration for the betterment of the citizenry.

Magaji disclosed this during an oversight visit of members of his committee to the Federal University of Health Sciences Teaching Hospital, Otukpo.

He stressed the need to allocate more funds in health sector, considering the primary responsibility of health institutions in the country.

Magaji appreciated the Chief Medical Director, CMD, and his management staff for showing interest in the growth of the teaching hospital, considering the tremendous achievements recorded within a period of one year.

He assured that he would work with his members to ensure that more funds are made available to develop the needed infrastructure including the medical equipment to meet up with the expectations of the people.

“We are glad to be in Otukpo today to see things for ourselves. We don’t want to depend on second hand information on the true condition of the Federal University Teaching Hospital Otukpo,” he said.

He assured the management of full support of the Federal House of Representatives as appropriate incentives would be given through interface with other critical stakeholders in Abuja.

The committee chairman enjoined the staff, whom he described as foundation staff to work as team despite the working condition, “we have seen how the environment is looking and we will continue to monitor the progress.

“So, as foundation staff, you all have the opportunity to write your name in gold.”

While welcoming the committee, the CMD, Prof Silas Ochejele, appreciated the federal government for the establishment of the teaching hospital in Otukpo which has drastically changed the medical services narratives in the state.

Ochejele thanked the House of Representatives Committee on Health Institutions for the pains to come down to Otukpo and believed that the visit has made them to see things themselves, which would go a long way in repositioning the hospital for the betterment of the people.

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JUST IN: Helicopter carrying Iran’s President crashes

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A helicopter carrying Iranian President, Ebrahim Raisi, has been involved in an incident while he was visiting neighbouring Azerbaijan, Iran’s semi-official Tasnim news agency reported on X on Sunday according to CNN.

“Some of the president’s companions on this helicopter were able to communicate with Central Headquarters, raising hopes that the incident could have ended without casualties,” it added.

It is unclear what the exact status is of Raisi’s helicopter, CNN reports.

The helicopter was part of a convoy of three helicopters. Two of those helicopters were carrying ministers and officials who arrived at their destination safely, according to Tasnim.

“Seyyed Mohammad-Ali Al-Hashem, Tabriz’s Friday Prayer Imam, and Foreign Minister Hossein Amirabdollahian were also reportedly on the helicopter with the president,” Tasnim said on X. BREAKING: Helicopter carrying Iran’s President involved in an accident

A helicopter carrying Iranian President, Ebrahim Raisi, has been involved in an incident while he was visiting neighbouring Azerbaijan, Iran’s semi-official Tasnim news agency reported on X on Sunday according to CNN.

“Some of the president’s companions on this helicopter were able to communicate with Central Headquarters, raising hopes that the incident could have ended without casualties,” it added.

It is unclear what the exact status is of Raisi’s helicopter, CNN reports.

The helicopter was part of a convoy of three helicopters. Two of those helicopters were carrying ministers and officials who arrived at their destination safely, according to Tasnim.

“Seyyed Mohammad-Ali Al-Hashem, Tabriz’s Friday Prayer Imam, and Foreign Minister Hossein Amirabdollahian were also reportedly on the helicopter with the president,” Tasnim said on X.

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