Press focuses on agitation for independence of Yoruba nation, others

The agitation for an independent nation for the Yoruba in Nigeria, which was staged on Sunday with the protesters marching…

The agitation for an independent nation for the Yoruba in Nigeria, which was staged on Sunday with the protesters marching through the streets of Osogbo, the Osun state capital, chanting various solidarity and liberation songs while displaying Oodua flags dominates the headlines of Nigerian newspapers on Monday.The Guardian reports that agitators for the independence of the Yoruba nation from Nigeria, yesterday, in Osun State, braved heavy security presence deployed to strategic points, as they marched through streets of Osogbo, the state capital, chanting various solidarity and liberation songs while displaying Oodua flags.

The protesters were drawn from various groups across the Southwestern states, among which are Ilana Omo Oodua and Isokan Omo Oodua, and Kwara, Kogi, Delta and Edo states.

Dressed in various outfits, the agitators demonstrated and marched from the November 27 Bridge in the Africa area to the convergence point at Nelson Mandela Freedom Park, Osogbo for the rally.

As they approached the Freedom Park, they were undeterred by the presence of men of the Department of State Service (DSS), Nigeria Police Force, Joint Task Force, Nigerian Army, Amotekun and other local operatives.

After spending over two hours at the rally venue, they marched to the Ataoja of Osogbo, Oba Jimoh Olanipekun’s palace to pay homage.

The Vanguard says that the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) on Sunday urged President Muhammadu Buhari and the All Progressives Congress, APC-led government to address what it called the worsening food insecurity now threatening millions of Nigerians under his watch

This is even as the main opposition party noted that under Buhari, “over 82.9 million Nigerians can no longer afford their daily meals due to the failure of the administration to take practical steps to grow and protect the food sector, thereby leading to severe food scarcity with prices soaring beyond the reach of Nigerians.”

In a statement signed by its spokesman, Kola Ologbondiyan, the PDP claimed that as a result of the leadership of President Buhari, “our country now ranks as 98 out of 107 in Global Hunger Index, with an agonizing food shortage, collapsed purchasing power; alarming 33.3 percent unemployment and 22.95 percent food inflation rates as well as increased morbidity and mortality rates.”

The statement read: “Today, under the APC, a bag of rice which sold for N8,000 under the PDP now sells for N30,000, a measure of garri and beans which sold for N150 and N250 now sell for N500 and N800 respectively; a measure of maize and guinea corn which sold for about N150 now sells for N400 while a kilo of meat which sold for about N800 now sells for about N2,300.

“Our party notes that the current food crisis is occasioned by the failure of the APC administration to recalibrate our agricultural sector as well as to take decisive steps to address the violence, terrorism and banditry in food production areas.

“Nigerians recall how the APC administration had remain insensitive to calls by our party and well-meaning Nigerians asking it to address the escalated violent attacks and killing of farmers as well as livestock producers, by bandits, terrorists and criminal herders resulting in desertion of farms in various parts of our country.”

The Punch says that food products imports gobbled up $1.24bn of the foreign exchange supplied by the Central Bank of Nigeria from October 2020 to March 2021 despite the ban directive from the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), Femi Asu reports.

The foreign exchange used for the importation of food products into Nigeria more than doubled in the fourth quarter of last year as against the previous quarter, during which Buhari directed the CBN to stop issuing forex for food and fertiliser imports.

Buhari gave the directive to the CBN in September at a meeting of the National Food Security Council at the Presidential Villa, Abuja, saying that firms that were bent on importing food should source their forex elsewhere. “Nobody importing food should be given money,” he was quoted as saying in a statement from the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu.

The forex used for food products imports, however, rose from $121.13m in September to $198.43m in October, $204.76m in November and $305.88m in December, according to the CBN data on sectoral utilisation for transactions valid for forex.

The amount of forex used for the importation of food production into the country surged by 118.60 per cent to $709.07m in Q4 2020 from $324.37m in Q3.

ThisDay reports that FMDQ Securities Exchange Limited has approved the quotation of the MTN Nigeria Communications Plc N19.77 billion Series 3 and N53.74 billion Series 4 Commercial Papers (CPs) under its N200 billion CP Issuance Programme.

The exchange also approved the quotation of the Coronation Merchant Bank Limited N0.71 billion Series 13 and N14.13 billion Series 14 Commercial Papers (CPs) in March 2021, and the N1.41 billion Series 15 and N20.19 billion Series 16 CPs in May 2021, under its N100 billion CP Programme.

Commenting on the development, the Chief Financial Officer, MTN Nigeria, Mr. Modupe Kadiri, said: “MTN Nigeria is very pleased with the success of our series 3 and Series 4 CP issuances, which further diversify our funding sources, help to optimise our finance cost and strengthen the Nigerian financial markets.

The issuance was well received by the market, with strong participation from a diverse group of investors, signifying the market’s continued confidence in our business.

The Nation says that despite various measures to encourage local production, a total of about N117 billion (or $247.91 million) was expended on fertiliser importation in the past year.

Fertiliser imports increased by $37.71 million in 2019 to $247.91 million last year, representing an increase of 84.4 per cent.

Data by the International Trade Statistics (ITS) on imports showed breakdown of imports, according to country of origination to include Morocco, $128 million; Russia, $83.37 million; China, $17.15 million and Germany, which exported $11 million.

During the period, data by the Nigerian Ports Authority’s (NPA) shipping position shown three vessels offloaded 64,255 metric tonnes of fertiliser at the Lagos Port Complex.

The bulk of fertiliser was offloaded by at Apapa Bulk Terminal Limited (ABTL) and ENL Consortium terminal at Lagos Port Complex by three vessels.

The Federal Government had planned to save $1.2 billion yearly when it was discovered that the country’s plants have the capacity to produce over four million tonnes of Nitrogen, Phosphorus and Potassium (NPK) fertiliser yearly.

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