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Kano inaugurates c’ttee on agric development

May 9, 2018 Editorial IV 0

Kano state government has inaugurated a 13 member Committee of State Project Monitoring Team on Accelerated Agricultural Development Scheme. Inaugurating the committee, Governor Abdullahi Umar Ganduje, represented by the Secretary to the State Government, Alhaji Usman Alhaji, explained that the scheme which was initiated by the federal government was aimed at diversifying the economy, enhancing food security as well as Read More

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NAQS sensitise farmers on best agricultural practices for export

May 8, 2018 Editorial IV 0

The Nigeria Agricultural Quarantine Service (NAQS), has commenced the training of farmers in Ainu/Oju Local Government Area, Benue State on good agricultural practices for export trade. The agency in a report at the weekend by the Dr. Gozie Nwodo, said it has identified the need to ensure farmers are properly guided on proper production technique from farm to fork. The Read More

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ADP ‘ll chase out PDP in Ekiti, governorship aspirant assures

April 27, 2018 Blueprint 0

A governorship aspirant of the Action Democratic Party (ADP) Otunba Segun Adewale, has said that his party has been positioned to defeat the incumbent People Democratic Party (PDP) in the coming election in Ekiti state. Adewale, popularly known as “Osa pra pra,” said his intention to run for the exalted office was borne out of the clarion call to rescue Read More

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We’re committed to repositioning agric sector – Bello

April 24, 2018 Editorial IV 0

Minister of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Malam Muhammad Musa Bello, has stressed the importance of research in the quest to attain agricultural innovations and food security. The Minister, who stated this when he visited the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture(IITA), in the Federal Capital Territory(FCT), in order to assess their impact and ensure that they effectively meet the yearnings Read More

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FG to support agric research institutes

April 24, 2018 Editorial IV 0

  The federal government has assured of its plan to support agricultural research institutes to commercialise their research findings for the benefit of citizens and increase the internally generated revenue. The Minister of state, Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, Senator Heineken Lakpobiri, disclosed when he visited Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria agricultural complex, consisting of the Institute for Agricultural Research Read More

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Ex-PDTF boss, Oluleye joins Ekiti governorship race, promises Agric revolution

April 13, 2018 Blueprint 0

Former Executive Secretary, Petroleum Technology Development Funds (PTDF) Oluwole Oluleye has joined the race for the governorship of Ekiti state, promising use the state’s agricultural potential to improve the well-being of its people. He made the promise Friday in Abuja, while speaking with newsmen after picking his Expression of Interest and Nomination Forms at the All Progressives Congress (APC) National Secretariat to Read More

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Kano varsity, NIIMA, Chinese coy partner on agric devt

April 9, 2018 Editorial IV 0

Vice Chancellor, Kano University of Science and Technology, Wudil, Prof Shehu Alhaji Musa, has described agriculture as the main stay of any developing economy, the world over. Speaking shortly after signing a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU)between the University, NIIMA Investment and Cosgrove Technology Company Ltd, Chinese agricultural firm, held at Daula Hotel, Kano yesterday, Musa said the essence of signing Read More

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NNDC, Haske coy sign MOU on agric devt

April 6, 2018 Blueprint 0

New Nigeria Development Company (NNDC) has signed strategic alliance agreement with Haske and Williams Limited to identify, develop and implement agriculture opportunities in Northern Nigeria. Speaking while signing the agreement at the company’s headquarters in Kaduna, NNDC Chairman, Alhaji Waziri Dalhatu said they are practicalising the expression of interest of the “companies that answered the call for reinvestment in agric Read More

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‘Agric commodities export exceeds 150% in 1 year’

April 3, 2018 Editorial IV 0

The Coordinating Director, Nigerian Agricultural Quarantine Service (NAQS), Dr. Vincent Isegbe, has disclosed that Nigeria’s agricultural commodities export rose by 150 per cent in 2017. Isegbe stated this recently at the sensitisation workshop for farmers and exporters of agric commodities. Isegbe noted that the increase was due to intensified sensitization by the agency to ensure that exporters of agricultural products Read More

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Africa: Any hope for increased allocation to agric sector?

March 22, 2018 Editorial IV 0

When African countries came together to agree on increasing funding for the agricultural sector, through the Comprehensive African Agriculture Development Programme (CAADP), their aim was to increase agric productivity in the continent. But 15 years down the line, has much changed? BENJAMIN UMUTEME writes In 2003 in Maputo, Mozambique, African countries came together and agreed on the principles of the Read More

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Disasters caused developing countries $96bn agricultural losses – FAO

March 19, 2018 Blueprint 0

The Food and Agriculture Organisation in a new report revealed that natural disasters caused $96 billion loss in agric losses worldwide, writes JOHN OBA The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), has stated that natural disasters in developing countries agricultural sector between 2005 and 2015 amounted to $96 billion. The figure, which was contained in a new Read More

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FG urged to increase agric funding

February 20, 2018 Editorial IV 0

National coordinator, Agro-Allied Cooperative Service Producer, Nigeria Limited, Prof. Queen Abike Adesuyi, has called on the federal government to increase funding to agriculture to ensure food security in the country. Adesuyi stated this at the meeting of 10 states coordinators at the company’s headquarter in Gwagwalada area council, saying investing more in agriculture and provision of incentives for small and Read More

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Compost process to boost agric output

January 9, 2018 Editorial IV 0

As part of its collaboration with FCT Administration on waste management, Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) experts carried out training on compost for staff of Abuja Environmental Protection Board (AEPB), that the training would help boost agricultural output if more individuals adopted the Home Composting as a source of rich nutrient that boosts plant growth. The Chief Advisor of the Read More

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Cassava farmers assure of increased production

January 8, 2018 Editorial IV 0

Nigeria Cassava Growers Association (NCGA) says cassava farmers in the country have concluded plans to produce an additional two million tonnes of cassava to meet industrial demands in this year’s farming season. The National President, NCGA, Mr. Segun Adewumi, according to AgroNigeria, an online magazine, stated this in Abuja, saying the move would require the cultivation of additional 100,000 hectares Read More

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Revamping the nation’s agricultural sector

January 5, 2018 Editorial IV 0

It is often said that we eat to live and not live to eat. Indeed, food, clothing and shelter are universally believed to be the most essential of man’s fundamental needs. In actual fact, the necessity of food to man’s existence is not by any means debatable. In the words of Scottish Anatomist, Arthur Keith, ‘the discovery of agriculture was Read More

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FG secured over $2bn World Bank Agric Support in 9 year s– Agronature

January 1, 2018 Editorial IV 0

Stories by John Oba Abuja Investigation by the Agronature Nigeria, an online medium on World Bank financing of Nigeria’s Agriculture sector has revealed that over $2 billion ($2,065,300,000) worth of agricultural projects financed by the global bank in the country between 2008 and 2017. The projects were approved for execution intermittently within a 9 year period. However, indications have shown Read More

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Assessing the agric sector in 2017

January 1, 2018 Editorial IV 1

The agriculture sector in 2017 witnessed a lot of strides and investment, thus contributing considerably to the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP). However, this is not without its shortcoming, especially as the Ministry couldn’t accomplish some of it’s goals, JOHN OBA, reports. For many in Nigeria, 2017 was the year of Agriculture revolution, especially for the big time farmers as Read More

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Again, Buhari assures on return of remaining Chibok girls

January 1, 2018 Editorial IV 0

From Sadiq Abubakar Maiduguri President Muhammadu Buhari has declared that he was still conscious of the remaining 113 abducted Chibok schoolgirls and assured that he would leave no stone unturned to secure their release from Boko Haram enclave. President Buhari, who made the declaration Saturday while addressing Chibok communities in Chibok town, regretted the manner in which the secondary school Read More

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Nigeria, Ukraine assured of profitable bilateral trade relations on agriculture

November 14, 2016 Blueprint 0

Stories by John Oba, Abuja Nigeria and the Republic of Ukraine has promised to foster a more profitable cooperation of bilateral trade relationship within both countries in agriculture. Both countries made the pledge recently when the Ukranian Ambassador His Excellency Dr.ValeriiAleksandruk and his team visited the Minister of State for Agriculture and Rural Development, Senator HenikenLokpobiri, in Abuja. Address the Read More

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In all these years, I was told, there was never a Christmas that Lawal did not visit my parents. He always enquired how I was doing and was in awe of all the places he was told I had been at. We got to meet in 1995 when I was first home on holidays after almost a decade. I observed that my friend had changed a lot. His parents had passed away, and Ori too. All the cattle were gone. After decades of wandering across the vast millennial savannah, by now married with grown up children, Lawal had moved into the neighbouring town and had virtually become a ‘Fulanin gida’ (home Fulani). But I could see that something was amiss – the magic and spark were gone. Lawal, I was told, had taken to too much alcohol. Mother Dearest — ever observant, with a great power of intuition — sadly noted that what Lawal was up to was ‘more than just alcohol’. I brought him gifts from abroad – shirts, a watch and things like that. Lawal quietly reminded me that our friendship – our ‘zumunci’ — went beyond any material things. He held the gifts disinterestedly with a sad, distant smile. Lawal passed away the following year after a brief illness. He is a friend and brother that I will cherish for all eternity. Today, a new breed of Fulani are on the rampage throughout our country. They have killed and maimed and wiped away entire villages in what amounts to a genocidal war. From the Jos Plateau, to Southern Kaduna, Nasarawa, Benue, Taraba, Adamawa, Kogi and as far down as Delta and Ondo, they have left nothing but dead bodies and ashes on their trail. Gurara Forum is a gathering of young men and women — most of them students – from Southern Kaduna. With their own limited resources, they have tried to document all the Fulani atrocities in Southern Kaduna. Their website provides a grim picture gallery of some of the recent killings committed by the herdsmen. Viewer discretion is counseled in visiting the site (http://www.guraraforum.org/gallery/). These mercenaries have been armed with the most sophisticated weaponry imaginable while their victims are not allowed to carry even bows and arrows in self-defence. Nobody has been arrested or convicted for these crimes. When, recently, they went on another killing spree in the village of Agatu in Benue State, all we heard are plaintive promises that grazing land will be carved out for them, with grass to be imported from Brazil. From the statistics that we have, possibly a 40,000 souls have perished under these herdsmen of our doomsday apocalypse. Rural livelihoods have been destroyed, with a looming food crisis rearing its ugly head for the first time in the Middle Belt, which remains incontrovertibly the bread basket of our country. Many reasons have been adduced from this unfortunate turn of events. There are those who blame the devastating impact of climate change – desertification — and the lot. There is also the Malthusian demographic nightmare of population increasingly geometrically against dwindling water and other natural resources, including land space. I would also point to the factor of politics. In our political era, politicians have been known to import mercenaries and millions of illegal immigrants to boost their potential voting blocs and also to use them to settle differences by the barrel of the gun. Some crypto-communist pseudo-intellectuals have whitewashed these atrocities as anodyne problems of ‘cattle rustling’ and ‘rural banditry’. And anybody who expresses anger and outrage is committing ‘hate speech’. To my mind, those who implicitly deny the sanctity of human life while covering up diabolical atrocities in meaningless intellectual abstractions are the real purveyors of hate, not we, the victims. Nobody has been held to account for any of these killings. Probably more souls have perished from these genocidal killings than from Boko Haram. The recent attempt to conflate Boko Haram with the marauding herdsmen is nothing short of sophistry at its worst. Boko Haram and the marauding herdsmen are different species of the same rampaging Jihadist tiger. But they are not interchangeable, even if they belong to the same ruling spirit of violence and death. They may well be part of the overall strategy of conquest and subjugation by force of arms. The Middle Belt are what they are because they were never defeated by Jihad. What their forebears could not achieve, their misguided progenies of today believe they can by chicanery and sheer wickedness. Those who live by the sword will surely perish by the sword. I humbly submit that most of these so-called ‘herdsmen’ are mercenaries from outside Nigeria. They cannot be relations of my late friend and brother Lawal or my uncle Mallam Baanni. They are foreign mercenaries imported into our country to kill, overwhelm and colonize. Whose ancestral land is going to be handed over to foreign marauding mercenaries who have committed murder on such a scale? For me, the only prudent way of tackling this menace is to for the Nigerian military to restore the dispossessed people back to their villages and to enforce the rural piece across all the troubled areas. We need a proper census of all the Fulani herdsmen and their cattle. Those of them who are not bona fide citizens should be repatriated to Mali, Niger, Chad, Cameroon or wherever they are supposed to have come from. The Government of Ghana, ever more efficient and more vigilant than ours, recently repatriated over 50,000 Fulani herdsmen and their cattle, with a terse warning that they would never be permitted to get away with the kind of violations they have perpetrated in Nigeria. I am not opposed to the idea of grazing reserves. The idea, which goes as far back as the days of Ahmadu Bello, the first Premier of the Northern Region, has never proven successful. In the far-North, it was tried without much success. Indigenous Hausa-Habe farmers were much opposed to it. The Fulani themselves could not be forced to reinvent themselves as sedentary people. In Kachia, in my own homeland of Southern Kaduna, a huge grazing reserve was carved out for Fulani communities some thirty years ago. Until today, none of the indigenous communities have been compensated for the forcible dispossession of their land and the turning-over of ancestral to an alien people. Not only have these Fulanis been involved in violent killings of local people, they are now claiming autochthonous usufructuary rights to the land and are asserting their entitlement to a separate chiefdom. As far as I know, this amounts to an act of colonisation by theft and gerrymandering subterfuge. This is not to say that grazing reserves should not be revisited. I would encourage such reserves to be created in the States of the core North where the Fulanis naturally belong. Land for such purpose should be negotiated with local communities and properly gazetted on 99-year leaseholds, with adequate compensation by the States and the Federal Government. Such reserves can also go with the grass importation proposition that Agriculture Minister Audu Ogbeh is coming up with. For more than a century, the Enclosure Movement in England was provoked by the same problem of relentless clashes between farmers and herdsmen. The rural communities were so fervent in their campaign that the British Parliament had to pass the Enclosure Act 1773. By this act, herdsmen were required to keep their cattle within bounds. Until today, any animal that trespasses into the farmland of an Englishman ipso facto becomes his property. It has brought peace and prosperity to the glorious English countryside. We in Nigeria need to borrow such a piece of jurisprudence. Peripatetic cattle rearing is not only primitive; it is irksome to the common peace. Cattle that travel up and down lose half of their economic value compared to those that are kept in one place. I believe our government owes responsibility to promote the development of the Fulani as a community. When I was an undergraduate of Ahmadu Bello University, our then Vice-Chancellor, Ahmadu Abubakar told us a deeply moving story about his upbringing. He lived in rural Adamawa as a Fulani shepherd boy. While tending the cattle he would eavesdrop a classroom to hear what was being taught. He was captivated with arithmetic. The teacher, noticing his curiosity, enquired about his parentage. His father was approached to allow the boy to join the school. After much persuasion, and with the greatest reluctance, young Iya Abubakar was allowed to join the class. He turned to be a mathematical prodigy. After a brilliant performance in elementary school he gained admission into the prestigious Government College, Zaria (now Barewa College). He distinguished himself in Zaria and was admitted into University College, Ibadan, where he graduated with First Class Honours in Mathematics. From there it was on to Cambridge University in England where he bagged a brilliant doctorate in Applied Mathematics. Iya Abubakar became a professor of mathematics at ABU Zaria at the uncommon age of 27. A consultant to NASA, he is one of the world’s greatest living mathematicians. I believe there are more Iya Abubakars among the Fulani youths tending cattle all over our country. Instead of them being armed with AK-47s and fomenting trouble everywhere, we should nurture them to bring out their talents and genius. A more sedentary lifestyle might have to be enforced as the Brits did with their Enclosure laws at the end of the eighteenth century. This madness must stop.

May 16, 2016 Blueprint 0

In all these years, I was told, there was never a Christmas that Lawal did not visit my parents. He always enquired how I was doing and was in awe of all the places he was told I had been at. We got to meet in 1995 when I was first home on holidays after almost a decade. I observed Read More

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What is the role of WaterAid in World water day? World Water day is an opportunity for those of us who are involved in the water, energy sector, what we called the WASH which raise the issue around lack of access to water especially, we also use that to amplify issues around lack of access to sanitation and hygiene as well. Its really important day, it is a globally recognised day. it gives the opportunity to connect with people across the world and identify with those who are still living a life of poverty because they lack access to water and have to go extra-ordinary length to get this basic component of life that some of us take for granted. So World Water day is really an important opportunity for us. And judging by what happened yesterday, it gave us the opportunity to engage directly with government because government is the main duty bearer to ensure that water is provided and people can actually access it without too much of a problem but also help to bring a range of other stakeholders together to ensure that we thinking the same way or we are trying to go on the same direction and go the same direction in terms of the solution that we need to find to the situation. The theme is Water and Jobs, can you highlight on that? Ans. Every year we have a theme for world water day. So this year’s theme is water and jobs. This is to highlight the importance of water to jobs and to work and opportunity, really to highlight that having access to water in terms of the right quantity and quality is important to not just individual’s well-being but the nation’s economic well-being. Across the world 1.5 billion, that is half of all jobs are directly related to water or the water industry and virtually every other job are linked into water in some way or the other, so when you think about the impact or implication of lack of access to water, you think about the impact of productivity for countries or nations. That’s why we taught it was a really good opportunity to look at water and jobs and the impact that they both have. So apart from those work locally in providing water and getting the water to people, we have industries using more water than what we use in terms of drinking. Energy generation for example, agriculture, health amongst other. So the impact of water and jobs is phenomenon and this gives us an opportunity to bring them together. Statistics about Nigeria reveals that about 60 million Nigerians are without safe water, taking into cognisance the climatic conditions of the country and the fact that we have one of the largest water body surrounding us and the fact that we have about 600 dams scattered across the country and yet we are still hearing this, are these figures genuine? This is one of the reasons why I said statistics in Nigeria is abit difficult because they are very few really concrete sources of information that you can have but if you look back in 2000 when we started the journey of the Millennium Development Goals, we have to have a base line and the way that we measure that base line has been developed and improved upon and that is the way that we continue to measure our progress against that base line. So we used the joint monitoring programme of the World Health Organisation (WHO) and UNICEF which is called JNP for short which is now produces updates yearly which give us how things are improving. WaterAid has produced this report (holding a report in his hand) which you all have in front of you titled: “Water at what cost: The state of the World Water 2016, the statistics are based on the JNP figures because that is the more reliable data that we have. The issue that you painted is a crisis and we need to understand what is on the need for that crisis, so this report actually tells a number of stories, I think one of the stories it tells is when you think about this globally, there is a good news story. The world met the millennium development goals target for water early in 2010, so we actually halfed the number of people across the world without access to water based on the figures we had for 2000. So do we blame government’s failure on corruption in the society? I think it will be too simple to blame it on just corruption. Yes corruption takes the blame for everything that happens in Nigeria. There are three key problems mainly from my perspective. The first is about the chronic under investment, chromic lack of funding for water services by government. That means that the money that really need to go into the sector to expend access the way it should has not gone in and when you look at the budget this, government has budgeted about N44 billion to the ministry of water resources and I know when you do a more detailed analysis there are other departments that do some water provisions like the ministry of agriculture. But looking at the budget of water ministry resources who are the main ministry responsible for providing access to water, the budget is about 0.7% of the total budget this year. Yet this government has signed up to commitments saying they would put 2.1% of its annual budget towards water that has never happened. The budget for this year is actually nearly a doubling of last year’s budget, so when you look at the amount of money that is actually going into the water sector is only about one tenth of the amount of money that analysis has stated that needs to be put into water services for us to be able to provide unilateral access for everyone by 2030, so we need to be investing anything between N400 and N600 billion every year for the next 15 years to be able to actually ensure and attain universal access to everyone. The second is that even when money goes in the money have got to be spent properly and even with the N33 billion that was budgeted last year wasn’t fully spent. So what is your plan as one of the donor agencies, in terms of creating jobs and creating access to better living conditions? WaterAid will spend something in the region of about a billion naira this year and when you compare that to what government is spending, that is one over forty. What that money is intended to do this year is to show how best the services can get to the people who are most in need, so our focus is always on how do we reach the most vulnerable people in our community with the right types of service delivery contents that really response to their need. We will be doing that in six states across the country and we will be tackling the issue of water access and hygiene but will focus on sanitation because sanitation is a bigger disaster for Nigeria, so a lot of our works will be focus on addressing the issue of sanitation.

March 28, 2016 Blueprint 0

Stories by John Oba Abuja The Soil Science Society of Nigeria (SSSN) has called for the establishment of a National Soil Policy and Institute of Soil science that will regulate the use, conservation and management of the nation’s soil resources. This is even as the President of the association, Prof. Victor Chude, calls for adequate protection and conservation to ensure Read More

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FG inaugurates four special committees to revamp agric sector By John Oba Abuja The Federal Government (FG) has inaugurated four special committees to reposition the nation’s agricultural sector as a leading sector of the economy. Inaugurating the committee President Muhammadu Buhari, who was represented by the Permanent Secretary of Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, Architect Sunny Echono, yesterday at the Ministry’s headquarters in Abuja, said the agricultural sector was cardinal to the development of the economy and employment generation for the teeming youths. Echono explained that the President gave the order for the four special committees to be inaugurated to ensure key sub-sectors of the agricultural sector were urgently looked into and actionable recommendations made from what previous committee have recommended in the sector by a way of review, revalidation and verify some of them, for government’s quick intervention. These were the textiles and garment, food storage, grazing reserves, and extension services in the sector. The four special committees were the Resuscitation of Cotton, Textile and Garments Industry in Nigeria, Operationalisation of Federal Government Storage Facilities, Strategic Action Plan for the Development of Grazing Reserves and Stock Routes Nationwide, and the Revitalisation of Agricultural Extension Services in Nigeria, and whose reports and recommendations were to be ready by July 27, 2015.

July 14, 2015 Blueprint 0

By John Oba Abuja The Federal Government (FG) has inaugurated four special committees to reposition the nation’s agricultural sector as a leading sector of the economy. Inaugurating the committee President Muhammadu Buhari, who was represented by the Permanent Secretary of Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, Architect Sunny Echono, yesterday at the Ministry’s headquarters in Abuja, said the agricultural Read More

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SURE-P provides jobs for 3, 000 in Kebbi

September 16, 2014 Blueprint 0

By Bode Olagoke Abuja The Subsidy Reinvestment and Empowerment Programme (SURE-P) in Kebbi said yesterday that it had provided jobs for 3,000 unemployed youths in the last six months. Its chairman in the state, Alhaji Samaila Dankasa, disclosed this in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Birnin Kebbi. Dankasa said 70 per cent of the registered Read More