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Banditry, Terrorism Now Routine, Says Atiku



The 2023 presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party, Atiku Abubakar, has expressed serious concerns about the acts of banditry and terrorism in the country.

Atiku made his concerns known in a post via his X handle on Tuesday while reacting to a report of a Sunday attack by bandits on Yargoje village in Kankara Local Government Area of Katsina State, which claimed the lives of 20 people.

In a statement on Monday by its spokesman, ASP Abubakar Sadiq-Aliyu, the Katsina Police Command confirmed the killing of about 20 people, four police officers and two operatives of the state-owned Community Watch Corps.

The statement added the bandits ambushed the police armoured personnel carrier responding to the distress call at Gidan Tofa and Dan Nakwabo villages, killing the security operatives.

Reacting, Atiku said banditry and terrorism attacks in the country have become routine, adding that the government seems helpless and nonchalant about the killings despite the enormous annual budget for defence.

He wrote: “I am saddened by reports of the attack on Yargoje village in Kankara LGA of Katsina State, which claimed scores of lives and the kidnap of vulnerable women and children.

“It is also sad that the bandits ambushed the police armoured personnel carrier responding to the distress call at Gidan Tofa and Dan Nakwabo villages, killing four police officers and two members of the Katsina State Community Watch Corps.

“Most worrisome to me is that these acts of banditry and terrorism have become routine, with the government seemingly helpless and nonchalant about it despite the enormous annual budget for defence.”

The former vice president also called on the federal government to ensure the protection of citizens’ lives and property.

“While I sympathise with the families of the victims, I will once again call on the government to be alive to its responsibility of protecting the lives and property of the citizens,” he added.

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Emergency Wheat Production Project Boosts Sudan’s Wheat Yield by 70%




An emergency wheat production initiative in Sudan, funded by the African Development Bank and executed by the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP), has successfully increased wheat production in targeted areas by up to 70% over the past year. This significant boost comes amidst a looming hunger catastrophe exacerbated by ongoing conflict in the country.

The African Development Bank allocated $75 million to the WFP for the implementation of the Sudan Emergency Wheat Production Project over two years. The project has been instrumental in enhancing food security in a nation where agricultural output has been severely hindered by violence.

“This development comes at a critical time for Sudan, which is facing a looming hunger catastrophe due to the ongoing conflict that has slowed down production in the past agricultural season,” said Nnenna Nwabufo, the Bank’s Director General for the Eastern Africa region. “Given the great potential that agriculture offers even under circumstances of active conflict, and with famine in Sudan on the horizon threatening millions of lives, this project has brought a lot of hope.”

Nwabufo highlighted that this year alone, 22 percent of the national wheat demand was met through the project. “Its impressive performance has demonstrated that there are viable solutions to increasing domestic production to address the rising levels of hunger and acute malnutrition in the country,” she added. “We are pleased that the scaled-up delivery of certified climate-resilient wheat seed varieties and fertilizers to smallholder farmers in the target areas across the country was timely, saving many lives under the prevailing challenges of conflict.”

Mary Monyau, the Bank’s Country Manager for Sudan, elaborated on the scope and impact of the project. “This wheat production project, financed by the African Development Bank, became the heart of production at this critical moment in Sudan. It provided food security, yielding 645,000 metric tonnes of wheat this year, and also served as a critical crisis response intervention for internally displaced persons,” she explained. “More than 30% of the beneficiaries in the Northern State are IDPs.”

Monyau further noted that the project was built on earlier wheat production initiatives under the Technologies for African Agricultural Transformation project, implemented from 2018 to 2021. “We thank our development partner, the World Food Programme, for implementing this project and ensuring positive outcomes in at least five states, namely Gezira, Kassala, River Nile, White Nile, and Northern States, despite the active conflict in the country.”

Eddie Rowe, WFP Sudan Representative and Country Director, summarized the project’s impact: “The ongoing conflict in Sudan has had a devastating impact on agriculture. Sudan produced merely half the wheat it would have in a typical year. Thanks to funding from the African Development Bank, WFP was able to mitigate some of the impacts of this war on wheat production.”

The project distributed climate-adapted wheat seeds and fertilizers to over 170,000 smallholder farmers across five states during the 2023-2024 agricultural season. It covered areas in the relatively stable northern and eastern states as well as conflict-affected regions like Gezira and White Nile states. The project supported 16,000 newly displaced farmers, providing them with resources to rebuild their livelihoods, and supplied 12 harvester machines to farmers’ associations in River Nile and Northern states to reduce losses.

The yield of 645,000 metric tonnes of wheat this year accounted for 22 percent of Sudan’s total wheat consumption needs, with farmers reporting a 44 percent increase in productivity per hectare compared to the previous season.

As Sudan faces an unprecedented hunger crisis, with about 2.1 million people at high risk of severe food insecurity, investments in agricultural productivity are crucial.

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LASTMA Cracks Down on Illegal Motor Parks, Impounds 40 More Vehicles



The Lagos State Traffic Management Authority (LASTMA) has impounded another 25 commercial and 15 private vehicles operating illegal garages and causing serious road obstructions around the Oyingbo, Ijora, and Idumota areas.

Taofiq Adebayo, spokesman for LASTMA, said this in a statement on Friday.

Mr Adebayo noted that the impounding of the vehicles in these areas was a decisive move by LASTMA to restore order and ensure the free flow of traffic.

He said the operation was led by Kayode Odunuga, the LASTMA head of enforcement, under the directives of Sola Giwa, the special adviser to the governor on transportation.

Mr Adebayo said that they were specifically directed at illegal garages, which had been a persistent source of congestion and inconvenience for residents and commuters.

He said the impoundment, which began in recent weeks, was part of a broader initiative by the Lagos government to enhance the efficiency of the city’s transportation network.

Mr Giwa emphasised that the government is committed to maintaining law and order on the roads and ensuring that all traffic regulations are strictly enforced.

“illegal garages have been a significant challenge in our quest to maintain a seamless traffic flow in Lagos. These impoundments send a strong message to all offenders that the state will not tolerate activities that disrupt public order and endanger the lives of our citizens.

“Our goal is to create a safe and orderly environment for all road users, and this action is a crucial step in that direction,” Mr Giwa said.

He noted that the targeted areas, Oyingbo, Ijora, and Idumota, are known hotspots for traffic congestion due to unauthorised parking and the establishment of makeshift garages.

He said that these activities not only obstruct the free movement of vehicles but also pose safety risks to pedestrians.

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PCNGi Shines at Climate Action Africa Forum 2024




The Presidential Compressed Natural Gas Initiative (#PCNGi) made a notable impact at the Climate Action Africa Forum 2024, the largest gathering of climate change stakeholders on the continent, held in Lagos. The event brought together leaders, experts, and activists to discuss and strategize on climate action across Africa.

Engineer Michael Oluwagbemi, the Chief Executive of #PCNGi, delivered a compelling keynote address. He outlined the initiative’s ambitious vision of converting Nigeria’s waste gas into valuable resources, underscoring its dedication to sustainable energy solutions and proactive climate action. Oluwagbemi emphasized that harnessing waste gas not only reduces environmental pollution but also offers significant economic benefits.

“The Presidential CNG Initiative is a testament to Nigeria’s commitment to turning environmental challenges into economic opportunities,” Oluwagbemi stated. “By transforming waste gas into wealth, we are not only addressing the issue of gas flaring but also creating a new revenue stream that can drive economic growth and job creation.”

The keynote address also highlighted several key projects and achievements of the initiative. These include the development of infrastructure for compressed natural gas (CNG) distribution, partnerships with local and international stakeholders, and the promotion of CNG as a cleaner, more affordable alternative to traditional fossil fuels.

Oluwagbemi noted that the initiative is aligned with global climate goals and Nigeria’s own targets under the Paris Agreement. He called on other African nations to adopt similar strategies, leveraging their natural resources to foster sustainable development.

In addition to the keynote address, #PCNGi hosted a series of panel discussions and workshops during the forum. These sessions focused on the technical, economic, and social aspects of CNG implementation, offering insights and fostering dialogue among participants.

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