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New CAFFAN boss pledges commitment to increased fish production

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Dr Mustapha Momoh, the new National President of Catfish and Allied Fish Farmers Association of Nigeria (CAFFAN), has pledged commitment to developing aquaculture industry and ensuring Catfish exportation.

Momoh made the pledge in an interview with newsmen in Ibadan on Thursday.

He said that the association would work with regulatory agencies such as National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control and Standard Organisation of Nigeria to remove impediments to fish exportation.

He said the association would also work with the Federal Ministry of Agriculture to ensure removal of impediments to exportation of Nigeria’s fish products.

He added that the association would ensure opening of international market for Nigeria’s fish products.

The CAFFAN president said that, with more efforts, Nigeria would be self-sufficient in fish production.

Momoh said that the association would exploit opportunities offered by Africa Continental Free Trade Agreement,  Food and Agricultural Organisation and World Trade Organisation (WTO), among others,  to improve Nigeria’s aquaculture industry.

The new president added that CAFFAN would ensure production, processing and packaging of fish by farmers to meet international standards to avoid restriction and rejection in the international market.

He said that the body would ensure that its members would be equipped with the requisite knowledge and skills in fish feed production using available resources.

Momoh said that the move would prevent Nigeria from becoming tied to the throats of foreign feed merchants and producers milking fish farmers.

“CAFFAN members must have knowledge of best practices in fish farming.

“This involves knowledge of feed formulation and other cheaper alternative sources of feeds, to mitigate huge expenditure on imported feeds and reduce operational costs of farming.

“We must ensure that the three states that are centres of aquaculture in Nigeria – Bayelsa, Lagos and Rivers – are able to raise their production capacities to reduce drastically or even ensure elimination of Nigeria’s fish importation in the next five years.

“We shall ensure that Federal Government’s policies will favour aquaculture.

“CAFFAN will interface with state governments, particularly the high fish producing states, on structuring of incentives and infrastructure that will accelerate investment in aquaculture and create employment opportunities for the youth,” he said.

He said that CAFFAN would advocate that fish farmers should embrace collegiate export template as obtainable in emerging economies such as Thailand, to enable them to earn more revenues from investments in aquaculture.

Momoh said that his administration would design an advocacy plan to address underlying issues with the overall objective of stimulating demand for improved smoking kiln technology for healthy consumption of smoked and dried catfish.

He said that the plan would reduce harmful practices in the fish value chain.

“CAFFAN will expose its members to the need to diversify massively into other aquaculture products that are also in huge demand globally, and not focus only on catfish species.

“As our economy is at the hands of agriculture, we need to maintain our integrity.

“We need to start building the economy of the future based on skills, talents, education and application of technology.

“We should know that for this country to be great, the forces of global competition and technological change must be taken seriously to compete on the basis of our skill and ability in aquaculture.

“I will be striving for a brighter future for all fish farmers by implementing favourable policies and principles and ensuring proper consultation that will directly affect outputs of fish farmers.”

Momoh promised that his administration would carry out all agenda in the interest of all and the industry.

“I shall be for all fish farming families and not for a set,” he said.

He thanked his predecessor, Chief Rotimi Oloye, and his team for laying a strong foundation and building a legacy for him to improve on.

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ECOWAS Court nullifies ECOWAS Commission staff’s dismissal

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The ECOWAS Court of Justice has nullified the dismissal of Mr Momodu Cham, a former staff of the Commission, saying it breached Article 69 of the ECOWAS staff regulations.

Cham had filed the suit following his dismissal from his position as a Procurement Officer with the Inter-Governmental Action Group against Money Laundering and Terrorism Financing (GIABA), a specialised ECOWAS agency.

The applicant, a community citizen residing in Banjul, Gambia, had joined the Economic Commission for West African States (ECOWAS) and its President, as first and second Respondents, respectively, in the suit challenging his sack.

Delivering judgment, Justice Dupe Atoki, the Judge Rapporteur, held that the cessation of Cham’s salary by the Commission before the exhaustion of the appeal process was arbitrary, unlawful, null, and void.

According to Justice Atoki, the action of the Commission is contrary to Article 73(b) of the ECOWAS Staff Regulations.

The Court, therefore, ordered the Respondents to pay Cham his salary arrears and other entitlements from January 2021 to June 2021, as compensation.

It further ordered the Commission to pay Mr Cham’s salaries and emoluments from July to December 2021 as compensation for the unlawful dismissal.

“Requesting an on-the-spot response to charges without prior notice or an opportunity to prepare a defense violates procedural safeguards outlined in the ECOWAS Staff Regulations.

“The regulations are designed to ensure an Applicant’s rights are fully maintained until the Council’s final decision.

“Consequently, the summary dismissal of the Applicant by the 2nd Respondent breached Article 69 of the regulation.

“Therefore, the cessation of the Applicant’s salary and other emoluments after invoking the right of appeal is a violation of Article 73(b) of the ECOWAS Staff Regulations,” Justice Atoki held.

The Court, however, declined to grant any orders for mandatory injunctions against the Commission and reinstatement of the applicant .

The Applicant had contended at the trial that he was suspended on July 11, 2019, following a forensic audit report by Ernst and Young UK, which implicated him in irregularities related to the purchase of IT equipment for GIABA.

He said that on Jan. 26, 2021, he was summarily dismissed, and his salaries and emoluments were withheld in violation of the ECOWAS Staff Regulations.

Cham had prayed the court to grant him several reliefs, including a declaration that his dismissal was arbitrary, null, and void.

He also sought an order setting aside his dismissal and the immediate payment of his salary arrears and other entitlements from January 2021.

The applicant had also prayed for his reinstatement to his position as a Procurement Officer and compensation for costs incurred in prosecuting the suit.

The Respondents, in their defense, had however, maintained that the applicant was properly suspended and later dismissed following a forensic audit report and a subsequent query.

They had also argued that the dismissal was appropriate due to the allegations of gross misconduct, embezzlement, theft, fraud, and abuse of trust.

The three-member panel also had Justices Gberi-bè Ouattara, presiding, and  Sengu Mohamed Koroma, as a member.

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Tinubu names National Theatre after Wole Soyinka

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President Bola Tinubu has named the National Arts Theatre in Iganmu, Lagos, after Nobel Laureate, Prof Wole Soyinka.

Tinubu announced this in a tribute he wrote to celebrate Soyinka in commemoration of his 90th birthday.

The tribute dated “Professor Wole Soyinka at 90: Tribute to a national treasure and global icon,” was personally signed by the President and made available to journalists on Friday.

Tinubu expressed his delight to join admirers around the world in celebrating Soyinka, adding that July 13 would be the climax of the series of local and international activities held in his honour.

Tinubu wrote, “Professor Soyinka, the first African to win the Nobel Literature Prize in 1986, deserves all the accolades as he marks the milestone of 90 years on earth. Having beaten prostate cancer, this milestone is a fitting testament to his ruggedness as a person and the significance of his work.

“It is also fitting we celebrate this national treasure while he is still with us. I am, accordingly, delighted to announce the decision of the Federal Government to rename the National Theatre in Iganmu, Surulere, as the Wole Soyinka Centre for Culture and the Creative Arts.”

Tinubu stated that Nigeria not only celebrates Soyinka’s remarkable literary achievements, but also his unwavering dedication to the values of human dignity and justice.

When he turned 80, I struggled to find words to encapsulate his achievements because they were simply too vast. Since then, he has added to his corpus with his series of Interventions, which have been published in many volumes.

“Professor Soyinka is a colossus, a true renaissance person blessed with innumerable talents. He is a playwright, actor, poet, human rights and political activist, composer, and singer.

“He is a giant best riding not just the literary world but our nation, Africa, and the world,” he averred.

According to the President, Soyinka is one Nigerian whose influence transcends the Nigerian space and who inspires people around the world, explaining that since his youth, he has been a vocal critic of oppression and injustice wherever it exists, from apartheid in South Africa to racism in the United States.

“Beginning from his 20s, he took personal risks for the sake of our nation. His courage was evident when he attempted to broker peace at the start of the civil war in 1967. Detained for two years for his bravery, he narrated his experience in his prison memoir, ‘The Man Died.’

“Despite deprivation and solitary confinement, his resolve to speak truth to power and fight for the marginalised was further strengthened.

“Our paths crossed during our struggle for the enthronement of democracy in Nigeria following the annulment of the June 12, 1993 presidential election,” Tinubu stated.

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Tinubu sympathises with victims of building collapse in Plateau

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President Bola Tinubu receives the news of the tragic collapse of a school building, which resulted in multiple deaths and many surviving victims in Jos, Plateau, with profound grief.

His spokesman, Chief Ajuri Ngelale, in a statement on Friday, said the President described the incident as a huge loss to the nation, as well as a devastating development – too excruciating to imagine.

“The President condoles with the bereaved families, families of all the victims, and the people and Government of Plateau State.

“President Tinubu commends emergency responders, the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA), State Emergency Management Agency (SEMA), security agencies, and all citizens involved in the search, rescue, and resuscitation efforts.

“The President assures the people of Plateau State of his fervent support at this difficult time,” said the statement.

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