About 4,000 tonnes of grains have been donated by the ECOWAS Commission to the Federal Government for distribution to vulnerable households, in order to mitigate the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The ECOWAS Commissioner of Agriculture, Water Resources and Environment, Sangare Sekou, disclosed this at the presentation of the items to the Federal Government on Saturday in Kano.
Sekou said the gesture was to demonstrate the region’s solidarity with the government and people of Nigeria.
He said: “This regional solidarity will be demonstrated through food donations of a total quantity of 3,999 tonnes of cereals comprising of millet and sorghum.
“The first donation consists of 1,196 tonnes of cereals financed by the ECOWAS Commission’s Humanitarian Emergency Fund for Disaster and Emergency Relief to Member States affected by a humanitarian crisis.
“While the second donation of 2,803 tonnes is funded by the resources of the Regional Food Security Storage Support Project, which the European Union is financing for a total amount of €56 million.
“The grains will be taken from the stocks in the ECOWAS Regional Food Security Reserve, partly warehoused with the Federal Strategic Reserve Department (FSRD) and distributed free of charge to the households mostly affected by the humanitarian situation in the country.”
The Commissioner said the donations would complement the multidimensional support ECOWAS was providing to Nigeria since the advent of COVID -19 in the country on Feb. 27.
Sekou noted that the COVID -19 pandemic disrupted production, warehousing, marketing, processing, and distribution systems of agriculture and food productions, especially in the Northeastern part of the Country.
“The Harmonised Framework for Identifying Risk Areas and Vulnerability estimates that over 7,087,102 people are currently in difficult food situations in the country, including Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) and children affected by malnutrition.
“The ECOWAS Commission has, therefore, decided to provide the support of the region through its Humanitarian Emergency Fund and the financial support of the European Union within the framework of the Regional Food Security Storage Support Project,” he said.
He added that food donations would assist vulnerable households to cope with the multiple crises while safeguarding their livelihoods.
According to him, ECOWAS Humanitarian Policy aims to prevent, mitigate, and provide durable solutions to the complex emergencies including natural and man-made disasters in the region.
It is also designed to complement the ECOWAS Disaster Risk Reduction Policy, focusing on disaster risk mitigation through viable interventions targeted at reducing risks as an obstacle to development.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports also that the Regional Food Security Reserve Established on Feb. 28, 2013 in Yamoussoukro, Côte d’Ivoire, by the ECOWAS Heads of State and Government, aims to complement the efforts of Member States to provide diversified rapid food and nutritional assistance.
In a remark, Hajiya Sadiya Umar-Farouq, the Minister of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development, said the Federal Government had distributed 70,000 tonnes of food items to deserving households in the country.
Umar-Farouq said the food items were supplied by the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development under the National Strategic Food Reserve.
She said the government also implemented Conditional Cash transfer and loans to vulnerable families and market women to mitigate their sufferings occasioned by the COVID-19 pandemic.
The minister added that about 15 million Nigerians were captured under the Social Register, to mobilize participation in the National Social Investment Programme.
While commending ECOWAS for the gesture, Umar-farouq said the food items would be distributed to vulnerable families, IDPs and victims of disasters in the country.
Also speaking, Amb. Zubairu Dada, the Minister of State, Foreign Affairs, reiterated the Federal Government commitment to promote the goals of the ECOWAS, and strengthen peace to achieve sustainable development in the region.
Dada noted that President Muhammadu Buhari had initiated viable project to fast track sustainable environment, water and agricultural development as well as enhance regional integration.
While lauding ECOWAS for the distribution of livestock to households in Kebbi State, Dada pledged continued support to the commission.
NAN reports that the exercise was attended by Alhaji Baba Shehuri, Minister of State Agriculture, Fatima Jagne, ECOWAS Commissioner of Social Affairs and Gender as well as representatives of the Kano State Government.
Ramadan 2021: Sultan Asks Nigerian Muslims To Commence Fasting
Following the sighting of the moon, this year’s Ramadan starts Tuesday, April 13th 2021, the Sultan of Sokoto, Alhaji Sa’ad Abubakar, announced Monday.
Alhaji Abubakar, who is the president of the Nigerian Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs (NSCIA), said this in an announcement on NTA live broadcast.
He urged all Muslims to use the occasion of the holy month to pray fervently for the country and indulge in acts of charity so as to benefit maximally this month.
The NSCIA on Monday had issued a guideline enjoining the Ummah to practice social distancing during the 1442AH Ramadan.
“All COVID-19 protocols should be observed. I’tikaf should still be put on hold while strict observance of all COVID19 protocols including avoiding lengthy or crowded sessions should be observed,” it stated.
Ramadan is the ninth lunar month of the Islamic calendar seen as sacred by Muslims during which they refrain from eating, drinking and sexual activities from dawn to dusk for 29 or 30 days — depending on when a new crescent is slighted.
The sighting of this new moon marks the beginning of another month, Shawwal, and the celebration of Islamic festival, Eid-l-fitr.
The Ramadan ritual is observed to attain a spiritual bond with God, as contained in Qur’an 2:183: “Oh you who believe! Fasting is prescribed to you as it was prescribed to those before you, that you may learn piety and righteousness.”
Benue Crisis: Expose Those Who Killed Soldiers, Return Army Weapons – Ortom Urges Communities
The Benue State Government has urged community leaders to expose those who carried out an unprovoked attack on Nigerian Army troops, leading to the death of an officer and 10 other soldiers.
In a statement on Friday, Governor Ortom while addressing the recent crisis between communities in Konshisha and Oju Local Government Areas, called for restraint on all sides including the military.
Ortom noted in his communique that he has already directed leaders of the affected areas to ensure that the weapons the “bandits” took away from the military personnel deployed to bring peace between the warring communities are returned without delay.
Earlier on, the army had reported that its troops came under attack while on a routine operational task, it was not clear who the attackers were at the time.
The military however asserted that the troops comprising one officer and ten soldiers were initially declared missing which prompted the deployment of a joint search and rescue team comprising NA troops and personnel of Operation Whirl Stroke.
The search and rescue team, unfortunately, found all the missing troops dead in Konshisha LGA of Benue State. While the bodies of the slain troops were evacuated immediately.
According to the army, efforts were still ongoing to track down the perpetrators of the heinous crime with a view to bringing them to justice.
In his reaction, Governor Ortom urged members of the affected communities to expose perpetrators of the unprovoked attacks on the military, stating that such an act is condemnable and also capable of jeopardizing the efforts Government has made to guarantee the return of peace to the area.
The governor disclosed that in an effort to find a solution to the crisis, he set up a Boundary Committee headed by the Deputy Governor, Engineer Benson Abounu to resolve the land dispute in collaboration with the National Boundary Commission.
The Committee had fixed a date for the demarcation of the area in contention when renewed violence broke out between the Bonta Community of Konshisha Local Government Area and Okpute Community of Oju Local Government Area.
Ortom assured the people that his administration is determined to see the end of the crisis and will support security agencies to fish out those fomenting trouble.
He, however, urged the military to avoid civilian casualties and protect law abiding people while efforts are on to recover their missing weapons.
Queen Elizabeth II’s Husband Prince Philip Dies At 99
Queen Elizabeth II’s husband Prince Philip has died at age 99, according to a statement by Buckingham Palace.
Prince Philip was the longest-serving royal consort in British history after getting married to Princess Elizabeth in 1947, five years before she became Queen.
The Palace announced the death of the late monarch via its official Twitter handle on Friday afternoon, April 9, 2021.
“It is with deep sorrow that Her Majesty The Queen announces the death of her beloved husband, His Royal Highness The Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh,” it said in a statement.
“His Royal Highness passed away peacefully this morning at Windsor Castle.
“The Royal Family join with people around the world in mourning his loss.”
The palace added that further announcements would be made “in due course”.
Fears over the health of the Duke of Edinburgh, as he was formally known, had been heightened after he recently spent a month in hospital for treatment.
He left the hospital on March 16 following what was described as a successful procedure for a pre-existing condition and treatment for an unspecified infection.
He was first admitted on February 16 on the advice of his doctor after he complained of feeling unwell.
Philip had returned to Windsor Castle, west of London, where he had been isolating with the queen — Britain’s longest-serving monarch — since the start of the coronavirus pandemic last year.
He was due to turn 100 in June.
The news of his death saw television channels interrupt regular programmes and start special coverage marking his life.
The BBC announced his death and played the national anthem, “God Save the Queen”.
Philip had increasingly struggled with his health in recent years and had retired from public life.
In the run-up to Christmas 2011, Philip was taken to hospital by helicopter after suffering chest pains.
The Greek-born former naval officer was then treated for a blocked coronary artery and had a stent fitted