The Rice Processors Association of Nigeria (RIPAN) has disclosed that the closure of the Nigeria-Benin border (widely called Seme Border) would save Nigeria over $400 million (N144 billion).
This disclosure was made by the National Chairman of RIPAN, Muhammed Abubakar Maifata, to support the move by the Presidency on the partial closure of the Nigerian-Benin Border.
The details: According to RIPAN, the move to partially close the border was needed to address the rising case of rice smuggling into Nigeria from neighbouring countries. The group added that the country would have lost $400 million to smuggling of foreign rice through the land borders.
Speaking in Abuja on Thursday during an interview session with Journalists, the RIPAN Chairman stated that over one million metric tonnes of the commodity was in wait to be smuggled into the country from Benin Republic before the end of the year. Hence, the decision to carry out surveillance on the country’s border would do the country well.
Also, Maifata said the closure of the Nigerian-Benin border would help curb the menace of rice smuggling and boost the productivity of operators in the sector.
Rice smuggling: While explaining the severity of rice importation, Maifata disclosed that from January to date, over one million metric tonnes of rice were brought into Benin mostly from Thailand and India.
“We came to let the whole world know that we support this action and we are with the government in this journey. We will support them with all what we can, in terms of information and statistics – whatever they need from us – we are ready to do it.
“We want the whole nation to support the government in this fight. It is for the benefit of Nigeria. I want you to know that the insinuation that we cannot feed ourselves with rice is not true.”
Emphasizing the readiness of the rice millers to ensure sufficient domestic production of rice, Maifata stated that the ban had opened up opportunities for the industry and all the rice mills in the country had begun to produce at 100% production capacity.
“We as an association met yesterday and tasked ourselves to produce massively so that we can fill the gap voided by the smuggling activities. And we are up to the task and are determined to do it. By this action of government, it has opened up many things within this week of the closure of the border.
“All the mills are now producing at almost 100% capacity. Procurement of paddy has resumed by the millers and farmers are happy because they are expecting new harvests in November.”
The backstory: Nairametrics earlier reported that the Seme border, a major border between Nigeria and the Benin Republic remained closed on Wednesday without formal notice, leaving thousands of people and vehicles stranded on both sides.
- According to a source, the border which is believed to be the busiest land crossing in Nigeria was shut after some truckloads of prohibited tramadol and codeine were intercepted in Lagos on August 16.
- President Muhammadu Buhari has, however, disclosed that the exercise, code-named, ‘Ex-Swift Response’, which resulted in a partial closure of the border was to restrict the massive illegal importation of rice into Nigeria.
Meanwhile, following the partial closure of the border, stakeholders have cautioned the government not to destroy businesses at the border.
Speaking at the pre-Annual General Meeting media briefing of the association in Lagos, the President, Manufacturers Association of Nigeria, Mansur Ahmed, said although the government might have the good intention of protecting the businesses in Nigeria, it must also ensure that the action did not affect Nigerian entrepreneurs operating genuine businesses on that axis.
COVID-19 Update in Nigeria
On the 3rd of December 2020, 343 new confirmed cases and 2 deaths were recorded in Nigeria
The spread of novel Corona Virus Disease (COVID-19) in Nigeria continues to record significant increases as the latest statistics provided by the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control reveal Nigeria now has 68,303 confirmed cases.
On the 3rd of December 2020, 343 new confirmed cases and 2 deaths were recorded in Nigeria, having carried out a total daily test of 7,101 samples across the country.
To date, 68,303 cases have been confirmed, 64,291 cases have been discharged and 1,179 deaths have been recorded in 36 states and the Federal Capital Territory. A total of 779,708 tests have been carried out as of December 3rd, 2020 compared to 756,237 tests a day earlier.
COVID-19 Case Updates- 3rd December 2020,
- Total Number of Cases – 68,303
- Total Number Discharged – 64,291
- Total Deaths – 1,179
- Total Tests Carried out – 779,708
According to the NCDC, the 343 new cases were reported from 14 states- FCT (123) Lagos (106) Kaduna (72) Nasarawa (14) Rivers(5), Bauchi (4), Imo (4), Ogun (4), Ekiti (3) Edo (2), Oyo (2), Plateau (2) Akwa Ibom (1) and Kano (1).
Meanwhile, the latest numbers bring Lagos state total confirmed cases to 23,545, followed by Abuja (6,991), Plateau (3,904), Oyo (3,730), Kaduna (3,245), Rivers (3,001), Edo (2,705), Ogun (2,237), Delta (1,824), Kano (1,799), Ondo (1,728), Enugu (1,332), Kwara (1,110), Ebonyi (1,055), Katsina (1,030), Osun (947), Gombe (938). Abia (926), Bauchi (778), and Borno (745).
Imo State has recorded 681 cases, Benue (496), Nasarawa (493), Bayelsa (456), Ekiti (377), Akwa Ibom (340), Jigawa (331), Niger (298), Anambra (285), Adamawa (261), Sokoto (166), Taraba (163), Yobe (100), Kebbi (93), Cross River (90), Zamfara (79), while Kogi state has recorded 5 cases only.
Lock Down and Curfew
In a move to combat the spread of the pandemic disease, President Muhammadu Buhari directed the cessation of all movements in Lagos and the FCT for an initial period of 14 days, which took effect from 11 pm on Monday, 30th March 2020.
The movement restriction, which was extended by another two weeks period, has been partially put on hold with some businesses commencing operations from May 4. On April 27th, 2020, Nigeria’s President, Muhammadu Buhari declared an overnight curfew from 8 pm to 6 am across the country, as part of new measures to contain the spread of the COVID-19. This comes along with the phased and gradual easing of lockdown measures in FCT, Lagos, and Ogun States, which took effect from Saturday, 2nd May 2020, at 9 am.
On Monday, 29th June 2020 the federal government extended the second phase of the eased lockdown by 4 weeks and approved interstate movement outside curfew hours with effect from July 1, 2020. Also, on Monday 27th July 2020, the federal government extended the second phase of eased lockdown by an additional one week.
On Thursday, 6th August 2020 the federal government through the secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF) and Chairman of the Presidential Task Force (PTF) on COVID-19 announced the extension of the second phase of eased lockdown by another four (4) weeks.
Engineer Sanusi Garba assumes office as Chairman of NERC
The new NERC boss has assumed office today in an investiture event witnessed by other Commissioners of the Commission.
Engineer Sanusi Garba, today, December 3, 2020, formally assumed office as the Chairman of the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC).
This is according to the statement issued by the media team of the NERC via the official Twitter handle of the Commission.
Professor Momoh hands over to Engineer Sanusi Garba
Professor James Adeche Momoh has handed over to Engineer Sanusi Garba in a ceremony witnessed by Commissioners of the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission. Engineer Sanusi thanked Professor Momoh @NERCNG
— NERC Nigeria (@NERCNG) December 3, 2020
Engineer Garba whose appointment was confirmed by the Nigerian Senate on Tuesday will be replacing Professor James Momoh, the outgoing chairman of the Commission.
Speaking at the handover ceremony today, the New Chairman of the Commission recognized the efforts and the hard work of Prof. Momoh and thanked the outgoing chairman for his contributions to the development of the Commission and the sector in general.
However, Professor Momoh on his part pledged his continuous support to the Commission and thanked President Muhammadu Buhari for the opportunity to serve the country.
What you should know
- The new Chairman of Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC), Engineer Sanusi Garba is a seasoned professional in the Nigerian Energy Supply Industry (NESI), and also a top officer in the Commission.
- Prior to his nomination as the Chairman of NERC, Garba served as the Vice Chairman of NERC, under the leadership of Prof. Momoh. He also served as the Chief Executive of Katsina Steel Rolling Co. Ltd and the Director (Power) in the Federal Ministry of Power with responsibility for the Generation, Transmission and Distribution aspects of the electricity industry.
- He also served as Executive Director (Generation) at the Niger Delta Power Holding Co. Ltd during which he provided technical and commercial leadership for the efficient operation of seven (7) NIPP thermal power plants.
- Engr Garba, who is a seasoned professional has served on many Federal Government Committees including the Presidential Committee on Power Sector Reform (2007/8) and the Presidential Task Force on Power (2009/10).
#EndSARS: Sanwo-Olu gifts families of slain police officers N10 million each
Governor Sanwo-Olu has compensated the families of slain police officers with the sum of N10 million each.
The Executive Governor of Lagos State, Babajide Sanwo-Olu has brought respite to the families of police officers killed during the violence witnessed in the aftermath of the #EndSARS protests.
According to the disclosure on the Twitter page of the Lagos State Government, the families were handed a cheque of N10 million each and the children of the slain officers awarded scholarships by the government.
Governor @jidesanwoolu handing over a cheque of 10 million naira each to the families of police officers who lost their lives during the unrest that followed the EndSARS protest and awarding scholarship to their children. @followlsstf @ceolsstf @LagosPoliceng#LASG #SecureLagos pic.twitter.com/XdjPPRsRf7
— The Lagos State Govt (@followlasg) December 3, 2020
What they are saying: Commenting on the recent development, a tweet by the Lagos State Government read thus: “Governor @jidesanwoolu handing over a cheque of 10 million naira each to the families of police officers who lost their lives during the unrest that followed the EndSARS protest and awarding scholarship to their children.’’
Why this matters: The recent effort by the Governor is in fulfillment of the promise he had earlier made to compensate affected victims of the post-EndSARS protest which led to the loss of lives and valuable properties both in the state and the country at large.
The compensation will be viewed by serving officers as a motivation, aimed at promoting patriotism, loyalty, commitment and dedication to national service.
What you should know