Oshiomhole on defections: we are “not perturbed by their move.”

The Chairman of Nigeria’s governing party, All Progressives Congress, APC, Adams Oshiomhole says the defection of party members will not affect the fortunes of the APC in 2019 general election.

He insists that he is “not perturbed by their move.”

Fifteen Senators and thirty three members of the House of Representatives elected on the platform of the APC defected to the PDP on Tuesday, bringing an end to months of speculations on cracks in the governing party.

Oshiomhole spoke with State House correspondents after he met with President Muhammadu Buhari on Tuesday.

 “This party that I’m privileged to chair is not worried at all; we are not disturbed; I’m not going to lose my sleep.  We will go into the campaign.  Check the electoral result; you would find that a lot of those who claimed to have decamped, on a good day, the vote they got that made them members of the Senate, our president got much more votes in their constituency. The thing going on is that you have a lot of so called big masquerades with very little and no electoral value. Very soon Nigerians will go to the polls and we will see who will deliver what in his constituency,” he said.

Oshiomhole stated that he made efforts to appease aggrieved members of the party, but his efforts could not ‘change the minds’ of those who had decided to leave the party’.

I have tried my best which I think was needed to give people comfort, especially those who claimed to be aggrieved. But those who have other hidden agenda that are not negotiable, I am not going to be able to appease anyone… But those who felt they have issues within the management of the party and it’s on the table, it can be dealt with. But those who have issues under the table they are beyond me.

Oshiomhole said urged politicians to decide on which side of the political spectrum they belong to.

“To be a progressive party means we must be clear that it cannot be a party for everyone. We have to be sure that you subscribed to the values and ideals of a progressive party.  If indeed you belong to the extreme right, and you mistakenly find yourself in a progressive party, obviously that is not where you belong. As soon as you realise that you can’t adjust to the requirement of progressive, which is people driven, people based, people oriented and you choose to return to the right wing where you know what the name of the game was, share the money, it is your choice,’’ the APC chairman explained.

Implication of defection
On the implication of the defection of the legislators for the APC,  Oshiomhole said it would be for the Nigerian people and not his party.

“The business of the Senate or the National Assembly is not to legislate for the good governance of APC, it is to legislate for the good governance of Nigeria. If people have chosen that it is more politically convenient to suspend the process of legislation ahead of time because it is not convenient for their political interests and choose to insubordinate the Nigerian National interest for that purpose, it is their choice. If there are implications, it is for the Nigerian nation not for APC,’’ he stated.

On the alleged siege on the houses of the Senate President, Bukola Saraki; and the Deputy President of the Senate, Oshiomhole said it was a security matter, which he was not competent to speak about.

FG plans construct of 150,000 b/d refinery in Katsina

Nigeria is to construct a 150,000 barrels per day capacity refinery in Katsina State.

Minister of State-Petroleum resources, Dr Ibe Kachikwu disclosed this in an interview with Journalists soon after the signing of the Memorandum Of Understanding between Nigeria and Niger Republic on Tuesday at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.

“We are constructing a refinery from Niger Republic into a Nigerian border town in Katsina State, with a capacity of between 100,00 -150,000 barrels a day. It’s all dependent on the Niger crude volumes. Currently we have mentally structured our minds for a two-year period, to finish the work on the refinery but that depends on what we find during the technical studies,” he said.

Kachikwu explained that, “Although the refinery is going to be Katsina, there is potential for an extension to Kaduna but bear in mind, this started first from a perspective of they (Niger) wanting to build a pipeline from Niger to Kaduna refinery and at the Board of NNPC we shut that down because the asset quality of the crude form Niger was not the same with our own and we would have had to take almost 90 percent of our own crude to match their own 10 percent of their crude so it just didn’t make any sense. So at that point we decided to do a refinery that is targeted at their crude.”

Private investors
Meanwhile, a Nigerian investor, Mr Ibrahim Zakari says he will spearhead the take off of the first 100 percent private driven refinery.

He announced that his company, Blak Oil, Energy Refinery, has mobilised about two billion Dollars in the oil sector.

“I think the two Presidents have already said everything. It is going to be private driven by investors. We are one of the investors who are willing to invest almost $2bn dollars.  The funds are coming from abroad, US, Canada, India and the Middle East. It’s going to be a 50 thousand barrel refinery then we will scale it up to 100 thousand with the crude coming from Niger Republic,” he said.

Mr Zakari said it will take the company about five years to complete the project, which will be based in Mashi, Katsina State and will employ over two thousand Nigerian youths.

“It will create 2,500 direct employment and over 10 thousand indirect employments.  It will cover not only Katsina and the North but the whole of Nigeria,” he added.

NNPC: Kaduna, Port Harcourt refineries dormant

Image result for NNPCThe latest operational performance of the nation’s refineries as released by the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation shows that two of the plants in Kaduna and Port Harcourt have been dormant.

According to the NNPC, while the two refineries cannot refine any crude oil, the one in Warri is performing better, as its capacity utilisation has appreciated considerably.

The refineries are the Warri Refining and Petrochemical Company, Port Harcourt Refining Company and Kaduna Refining and Petrochemical Company.

An analysis of the NNPC’s March 2018 operational performance of the refineries, which is the most recent, showed a capacity utilisation of zero per cent for both the PHRC and KRPC in the month under review. The WRPC recorded 51.32 per cent in the same month.

Further analysis showed that the KRPC remained dormant all through the months of February and March 2018, as it refined no single barrel of crude oil.

The capacity utilisation of the PHRC dropped from 24.62 per cent in February 2018 to zero per cent in March, the report stated.

However, the WRPC’s capacity utilisation moved up from 8.26 per cent in February 2018 to 51.32 per cent in March, giving a boost to the consolidated performance of the three refineries in March.

Their consolidated capacity utilisation closed at 14.41 per cent in March, up from the 13.94 per cent recorded in the preceding month.

Further findings showed that the decline in the cumulative performance of the refineries reduced the group profit of the NNPC by N5bn.

The corporation made an operating surplus of N11.7bn, incurred a total expense of N354.6bn and generated a revenue of N366.3bn for the month under review.

It had recorded an operating surplus of N16.7bn, a total expense of N357.6bn and revenue of N374.4bn in the preceding month of February 2018.

A comparative analysis of figures from the oil firm’s reports for the two months showed that the corporation’s profit dropped in March by N5bn, its total expenditure reduced by N3bn, while its revenue reduced by N8.1bn.

Nigerian Air to make profit after 3 years, needs $300m for takeoff

The new Nigeria national airline, Nigeria Air, will need $308.8 million dollars as preliminary and take-off cost. This is just as the airline will receive the first set of 5 airplanes on 19 December 2018.

This disclosure was made by an insider, Mr Dapo Williams in London where the new national carrier’s (Nigeria Air) name and logo were unveiled on Wednesday. According to Williams, the Nigerian government is not fully funding the airline as it has adopted midwifing it via the option of a Public Private partnership, to deliver a national carrier that would stand the test of time and be world class in operation and management. He also said the airline will make profit in 3 years after operations.

He said : “We will make the investments and follow the business plan through private sector management. We intend to get a 30 aircraft market in 5 years. But we will begin with 5 aircrafts on the day of launch. Government would step in to cover the funding gap at the onset and ease out thereafter”“Government would not get involved in the management of the Nigeria Air.The Airline would take advantage of Bilateral Air Service Agreement (BASA) that the country had with over 70 countries. It will also take advantage of the Africa Single Air Transport Market and will be the best player if the government gets it right”.

The government would bring its contribution to kick-start the Airline. The amount of equity the partners would hold would determine government contribution.The Start up cost over the next 3 years is about $300 million, but pre-start-up is $8.8 million. The rest of the investment will be equity injection which will happen in tranches”. “Government will provide financial needed to make it take off, but the National Carrier will be entirely private sector controlled. There will be zero government interference. The government will have to spend the pre-start up cost like the brand name, the office and other start up cost”. “It will be a world class airline with domestic, regional and international operations. The airline will provide opportunities for investors at all levels of supply chain”, Wlliams said.

Recall that on Wednesday this week, the Federal government unveiled the name , logo and selected 81 routes for the much awaited national carrier. This was done by the Minister of State for Aviation, Senator Hadi Sirika at the Farnborough International Airshow in London. According to the minister, the name of the national airline is :Nigeria Air, while the logo is Nigeria coat of arms with the national flag draping on it.

Stock brokers to support SEC on capital market studies

The Chartered Institute of Stock Brokers (CIS) has pledged to support the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) to infuse capital market studies into the curriculum of schools in the country.
The Acting Director -General of SEC, Ms Mary Uduk, said this in a statement issued by the Acting Head of Media of the commission, Mrs Efe Ebelo, in Abuja.
The President of CIS, Mr Dapo Adekoje, made the pledge during a meeting between CIS and management of SEC in Abuja.
Adekoje commended the SEC on its investor education initiatives and assured that the institute was willing to support any programme that would help deepen the market.
He said: “We have visited some schools and realised that most students do not have elementary knowledge of the capital market.
“We believe that if Nigerians are aware early in life of the benefits of investing in the capital market, it will increase the percentage of participation and also help to deepen the market.”
The SEC director-general said the commission was open to any collaborative efforts that would increase financial literacy among Nigerians.
“We are making progress with Nigerian Educational Research and Development Council (NERDC) on the development of the curriculum.
“And we hope the introduction of capital market studies will start from the secondary schools up to our tertiary institutions.
“The 10-year Capital Market Master Plan requires SEC to inculcate the culture of financial literacy and specifically to introduce Capital Market Studies (CMS) into curriculum at all levels of education.
“And also to encourage CMS as a degree programme in the tertiary institutions,” Uduk said.
The apex regulator of the Nigerian capital market is developing a curriculum on capital market studies as part of the financial literacy programme.
The curriculum is geared towards boosting investment education in the country.

Information Minister says Amnesty’s human rights report on Nigeria lie

Nigeria’s Minister of Information and Culture, Mr. Lai Mohammed, has said
Amnesty International’s human rights verdict on Nigerian government is not true.
He also submitted that the protection of human rights is a cardinal objective of the Buhari Administration, and that the violation of rights is not and cannot be a government policy.
Addressing a High-Level Roundtable organized by the Atlantic Council, an American think tank on international affairs, in Washington, DC, the Minister said the picture of “impunity and complete disregard for extant laws and international obligations painted by Amnesty International”, in a recent report, was not a true reflection of the character and ethics of the Government of Nigeria or any of its agencies.
Since the counter-insurgency war started in 2009, Amnesty International has issued periodic reports on alleged human rights violations by the Nigerian military, with the latest of such reports bordering on violations of human rights and International Humanitarian
Law by the Nigerian Armed Forces and other government agencies.
Mr.Mohammed told the Roundtable that the government had taken several measures to address human rights violation in the course of the counter-insurgency operations.
These measures, it said, included the establishment of Human Rights Desks in all military formations; the quarterly Human Rights/Military Dialogue; Training on Mainstreaming Human Rights into Counter-Insurgency Operations and Court Martials of officers indicted
for human rights violations.

Lai Mohammed at the Roundtable in Washington
”Very soon, the Federal Government will adopt a National Policy on the Protection of Civilians in conflict situations to further strengthen and entrench its constitutional practice of Protection of Civilians,” he said.
Boko haram efforts
The Minister also spoke on the counter-insurgency operations, insisting that boko haram has been badly degraded.
He added that the group was incapable of carrying out organized massive attacks beyond using women and children to carry out suicide bombings against soft targets.
”Many have queried how we could say Nigeria is winning the battle against boko haram when the insurgents have continued to carry out deadly attacks. However, to understand this, it is necessary to put things in context.
“When President Buhari was being sworn into office 29 May 2015, 24 Local Governments making up a territory three times  the size of Lebanon were firmly in the hands of boko haram. T
“They hoisted their flag, collected taxes, installed their own Emirs and administered a large swath of territory. That is history now as not an inch of Nigeria’s territory is being administered or controlled by boko haram.”
He continued: ”Before the advent of this Administration, boko haram could carry out attacks anywhere in the North East and beyond at a time of their own choosing. They attacked the UN Complex, the police headquarters, motor parks and a military barrack in the capital city of Abuja. That is now history.” he said.
Herders crises
Mr. Mohammed also told the Roundtable that the incessant farmers-herders clashes were neither religious nor ethnic in nature, as they have been portrayed in some circles.
”There is no question that this (conflict) is driven mostly by an increased contest for dwindling natural resources like land and water. This has been worsened by demographic pressure and climate change.
“Nigeria’s population in 1960 was 45 million, and this has ballooned to about 200 million in 2018, but the available resources have not grown at all. If anything, they have shrunk.
”As desertification continues to encroach and the Lake Chad that provided a livelihood for over 35 million in several countries shrank from 25,000 to 2,500 square kilometers, herders in particular are forced to move south in search of grazing land and water for their
cattle,” he said
The Minister said beyond the main causative factors, however, disgruntled politicians and beneficiaries of corruption, who have vested interest in undermining the Buhari Administration through any means necessary, have latched on to the conflict.
He cited two instances to buttress his assertion that the ethno-religious slant given to the clashes constitutes a false narrative.
”The northern state of Kebbi is predominantly Muslim and Fulani. Yet, 70% of those who are in jail in the state are there over farmers-herders clashes. Yet, the herders are Muslim and Fulani, and the farmers are Muslim and Fulani. There can therefore be no ethno-religious basis for these clashes.
”Also, the northern state of Zamfara is the hotbed of cattle rustling, which perhaps has claimed more lives than the farmers-herders clashes in the entire middle belt. Yet, those rustling cows are Muslim and Fulani, and those whose cows are rustled are
Muslim and Fulani.
“Therefore, to impugn ethnicity and religion into these clashes is simplistic at best and downright mischievous at worst,” Mohammed said.
The High-Level Roundtable, which was convened by the Africa Centre of the 57-year-old think tank, was attended by about 30 current and former senior US government officials, as well as other stakeholders in the US Policy on Africa.
The participants included retired Gen. William E. Ward, former Commander, US Africa Command; former US Ambassador to Nigeria Robin Sanders; Ms Florizelle Liser, President and CEO, Corporate Council on Africa; Mr. Thierry Dongala, Senior Advisor, House Foreign Affairs Committee; Mr. Trevor Keck, Deputy Head of Policy, International Committee of the Red Cross and Dr. EJ Hogendoorn of the International Crisis Group’s Africa Programme.
The Nigerian envoy to the US, Ambassador Sylvanus Nsofor, led a team of Nigerian Embassy officials to the one-day event.
Germany says committed 45.6million Euros to Nigeria’ development programmes

Image result for German International Co-operation (GIZ)

The German government through the German International Co-operation (GIZ), says it has committed 45.6 million Euros to support development programmes in Nigeria in the past three years.

The sum was obtained from the “Aid Information Management System’’ website, a Development Assistance Database of the Ministry of Budget and National Planning in Abuja.

The figure reveals that the fund was committed to new and ongoing programmes between 2015 and 2017.

The breakdown of the amount showed that the sum of 17 million Euros was committed to the programmes in 2015, 19 million Euros in 2016 and 9.6 million Euros in 2017.

However, according to source, no progress report on new and ongoing programmes in 2018 had been posted.

Meanwhile, a document on the achievements of the ministry from May 2015 to May 2018, showed GIZ had a total funding commitment of 47.6 million Euros to support programmes in Nigeria.

The document revealed that an agreement was signed in November 2017, to implement and redirect idle funds in the Development Cooperation agreed in 2016.

It listed the 9.6 million Euro GIZ Pro-poor Growth and Promotion of Employment in Nigeria Programme (SEDIN III) as one of the major programmes under GIZ.

SEDIN III is aimed at strengthening sectors with high potential for employment and income generation in Niger, Ogun and Plateau States.

The document stated that part of the programme was Financial System Development Support in the country.

The aim of the support was to improve the regulatory environment for microfinance and the performance of selected microfinance banks to increase their Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) lending capabilities.

Also, the support is used for the implementation of Technical Vocational Education and Training, Trade Policy and Facilitation, Value Chain Development and Nigeria Energy Support Programme.

Similarly, the UK through the Department For International Development (DFID), increased its intervention in the country in 2017 through the extension of two existing programmes and introduction of two new projects.

The programmes being executed under DFID include Humanitarian Assistance in the North East with financial commitment of 33.5 million pounds, and Public Sector Accountability (PSA) programme with support of 100 million pounds.

Other programmes are the National Malaria Programme 2 (SUNMAP 2), with 50 million pounds to compliment SUNMAP 1, and A five –year Anti-Corruption Programme.

It was designed to address capacity gaps in the area of intelligence gathering, investigation, prosecution and judicial determination with a cost estimate of 100 million pounds.

According to the document, partnership to “Engage Reform and Learn’’ programme has a total sum of 37,500,000 pounds.

The document further revealed that French Development Agency increased its assistance to the country with additional funding of one million Euros.

The support was in the areas of Urban Development Project in Lagos State, Greater Kano water Supply, Greater water supply scheme in Plateau, Enugu and Ondo, and Improvement of power supply.

Nigeria, others to spend $105bn on oil, gas decommissioning

Nigeria and other oil-producing countries across the world will expend about $105bn on decommissioning in the next 10 years.

According to a recent report released by Wood Mackenzie otherwise called WoodMac, between 2018 and 2022, nothing less than $32 billion would be spent on decommissioning around the world.

While UK, the US and Norway, were ranked the top three decommissioning destinations in the next ten years, Nigeria followed Angola as the seventh country that would be spending heavily on decommissioning in the next decade.

Decommissioning, a process of safe plugging of the hole in the earth’s surface and disposal of the equipment used in offshore oil production is reportedly becoming a rapidly developing market sector in the petroleum business, with major potential and risks.

With indications that International Oil Companies (IOC) operating in Nigeria are looking at announcing offshore decommissioning campaign for selected fields in the coming weeks, industry players like Chairman/CEO of International Energy Services (IES) Ltd, Dr Diran Fawibe stressed on the need why the sector regulator, Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR) must work with the multi-national in ensuring that the offshore sites were decommissioned.

Fawibe was, however, skeptical about the capability of DPR to assess the level of asset that the oil firms would decommission.

“Decommissioning is one area where regulatory agencies need to properly monitor, especially the state of equipment in the Niger Delta and then work with the IOCs for decommissioning,”  he said.

According to Woodmac’s report, Brazil, Thailand, Canada, Netherlands, Malaysia, Indonesia, Australia include the top 12 largest spenders that would stake as much as $82 billion on decommissioning.

The report said: “The UK accounted for 16 percent of the estimated 472 fields that ceased production in 2013-2017. It will spend almost $30 billion on decommissioning in the next 10 years, because its upstream business is almost entirely located offshore and many of its platforms already well beyond their intended lifespan.”

The global research and consultancy business firm had stated that in Asia-Pacific with 35,000 offshore wells, 2,600 platforms representing 7.5 millions of tonnes of steel and over 55,000 kilometres of pipelines, decommissioning offshore would be a huge task, potentially costing more than $100 billion.

A London-based information resource for industries and markets, IHS Markit, had in a study forecast that offshore decommissioning would increase from approximately $2.4 billion in 2015, to $13 billion-per-year by 2040, or an increase of 540 percent.

The IHS Markit’s projection, additional 2,000 offshore projects would be decommissioned between 2021 and 2040, bringing total expenditure from 2010 to 2040, to amount to $210 billion.

Debt Management Office lists N10.69bn Sovereign Green Bond

NSE Director General, Oscar Onyema, presenting the replica of the NSE Closing Gong to Director General, DMO, Mrs. Patience Oniha and the Minister of State for Environment;  Hon. Ibrahim Usman Jibrilto, mark the listing of the Green Bond
NSE Director General, Oscar Onyema, presenting the replica of the NSE Closing Gong to Director General, DMO, Mrs. Patience Oniha and the Minister of State for Environment; Hon. Ibrahim Usman Jibrilto, mark the listing of the Green Bond

The Debt Management Office, DMO, on Friday, listed on the Nigerian Stock Exchange, the N10.69billion, 5-year, Federal Government Sovereign Green Bond at coupon rate of 13.48 per cent.

 The event was headlined by the Director General, DMO, Mrs. Patience Oniha, the Honourable Minister of State for Environment;  Hon. Ibrahim Usman Jibril, and United Nations Deputy Secretary General; Ms. Amina J. Mohammed, represented by UN Resident/Humanitarian Coordinator and UNDP Resident Representative; Mr. Edward Kallon,.

The Sovereign Green Bond is part of a strategic process by the Nigerian Government to add to the nation’s funding options and offer the vast majority of Nigerians, a new alternative.

The Director General of DMO, Mrs. Patience Oniha, stated during the listing ceremony that:“The Green Bond Listing is an opportunity to enable Nigeria tap into the growing global market for green bonds, which as of end of 2016 comprised of $576billion of unlabeled climate-aligned bonds and $118billion of labelled green bonds according to Climate Bonds Initiative in London.

“The DMO is proud to list the N10.69 billion FGN Green Bond 2022 on the NSE and expects that trading this instrument will not only bring about Climate Change Awareness but will also diversify the Nigerian Capital Market and attract more investors.”

According to the Minister of State for Environment, Hon. Ibrahim Usman Jibril: “The Sovereign Green Bond further reinforces Nigeria’s re-emergence as a major player in the international climate regime, and President Muhammadu Buhari’s strides in moving Nigeria towards being a low-carbon economy.

The issuance of a Green Bond by Nigeria delivers on program 47 of its Economic Recovery and Growth Plan (ERGP), in addition to meeting the expectations set out in Article 2 of the Paris Agreement. This places progress on the NDCs targets in sight and lays the foundation for the expansion of the Federal Government’s Green Bond Issuance Program on a recurring basis.”

Milestone

On his part, while commenting on the listing, the Chief Executive Officer of The Nigerian Stock Exchange, Mr. Oscar Onyema said: “Admitting the first ever sovereign green bond in an emerging market is yet another milestone for the Exchange and is a further affirmation of our unique platform to support both the Federal Government and businesses to access capital for sustainable initiatives.

“The listing of the FGN Green Bond represents a new stage in the development of Nigerian capital markets and opens the way for further corporate issuance and international investments.

“As a member of the UN Sustainable Stock Exchange Initiative, we are committed to developing this enormous opportunity for Nigeria.”

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The Green Bond issuance and listing follows Nigeria’s endorsement of the Paris Agreement on Climate Change on September 21, 2016. The Paris Agreement aims to strengthen the global response to the threat of Climate Change.  Since the signing of the Agreement, various countries that are parties to the Agreement have initiated several steps aimed at making the environment better.

Parties to the transaction include the Ministry of Environment, Debt Management Office and Chapel Hill Denham, who are the financial advisers to the transaction.

Meanwhile, the NSE had on the same day, held a pre-listing conference for market participants, themed, ‘Exploring the Green Financing Opportunity: Green Bonds and Enabling Frameworks’ to highlight the opportunities available within the Green Bond market in Nigeria.

The event, had in attendance about 200 market operators, government officials, c-level executives, as well as top officials from the academic and sustainability sector.

Modern farming, key to food sufficiency, says Lokpobiri

Image result for Heineken LokpobiriThe only way Nigeria can attain self-sufficiency in food production is for  farmers to embrace modern farming,  Minister of State, Federal Ministry of Agriculture, Senator Heineken Lokpobiri has said.

The minister regretted that the gap in domestic food production have existed in Nigeria for many years because, it depended on rural farmers and their rural farming methods for its food needs.

Lokpobiri however, expressed delight that the Federal Government had been redressing the situation through policies and infrastructural development of the rural communities.

According to the minister, “The only way we can feed ourselves is for us to develop our capacity, embrace modern farming technology and technics so that we will continue to enjoy high productivity, not the subsistent farming we are used to.”

Speaking when he received a delegation from the Africa-Asia Rural Development Organisation (AARDO) led by Secretary-General of the Organisation, Wassfi Hassan El Sreihin in his office in Abuja, Lokpobiri stressed the need for the development of the  rural areas to stem urban migration.

He noted that if urban migration was halted, it would reduce poverty and crime, as well as limit the pressure on the amenities in the urban areas being experienced in the country.

Lokpobiri said: ”Nigeria is a country where we are basically being fed by the rural dwellers,” noting: “If rural development is not given priority, and already studies have shown that there is urban migration because of lack of development in the rural areas, the cities would soon be over crowded.”

Continuing he said: “Land to farm is in the rural areas and if those people in the rural areas are empowered through capacity building, through technology transfer to be able to stay there and continue to cultivate in agriculture, poverty would be reduced, there will be less crime, and there will be less pressure on the limited amenities that we find in the urban areas.’’

According to the minister, the only difference between the agricultural system in Africa and those of the advanced economies of the world is the use and deployment of technologically advanced equipment by the later.

While drawing comparism between the Nigeria climate and that of the Latin American countries, which he noted are basically the same, the minister regretted that, “Because sometimes we don’t want to be relevant in technics, the yield over there could be 20 tons while here it could be 2 tons. This is basically because of the way we plan and the way we manage our cropping system.”

In his remarks, Permanent Secretary of the ministry, Dr. Burka Hassan noted that Nigeria is at the verge of transiting from subsistent agriculture to sustainable agro economy.

According to him, Nigeria is  striving to diversify from oil-based based economy to an agric-based one through emphasis on technology and modernisation of farming.

The AARDO SG pledged his organisation’s commitment to collaborating with the nation’s rural farmers to grow the sector because of Nigeria’s strategic position in Africa and the West African region.

He said: “We assure you that we will offer our assistance to the country. This is my first official visit to Nigeria since I took over as the Sec Gen in 2011. As you know Nigeria is a very important country in this region and the world. Since then we have been collaborating and enhancing the lives of the rural people of Nigeria, neighbouring countries and members of the organisation.

“Since 1999 when Nigeria became a member of the organisation, Nigeria has benefited from our technical work programme, including the human capacity building. AARDO offers many hundreds of training programmes and fellowships every year in different countries in Asia and Africa which officials from Nigeria benefits from.”

According to Sreihin, “In 2007, we financed one project in Nigeria. In 2006, we signed an MoU with the Agriculture and Rural Management Training Institute (ARMTI) , Ilorin for collaboration and assistance for international training programmes were organised and I am here to revive the MoU for the benefit of our members.”