The United States Government has announced plans to prioritise the issuance of student visa to applicants.
According to a statement issued by the US mission in Nigeria, this was to ensure that Nigerian students resuming in the fall of 2021 got visa interview appointments in advance of their programme start date.
The US Mission Country Consular Coordinator, Susan Tuller, said that the Embassy in Abuja and Consulate General in Lagos would make efforts to help student visa applicants by attending to them on time while keeping personnel and customers safe.
What the US mission Country Consular Coordinator is saying
Tuller, in her statement, said, “As we continue to prioritise the health and safety of our staff and customers, processing student visas remain a high priority for the U.S. mission in Nigeria.
We will increase the number of student visa appointments in May and June to ensure that we can offer appointments to as many students as possible.
If your U.S. studies are scheduled to begin this fall, we encourage you to schedule your appointment as quickly as possible.’’
She added that all student visa appointments must be booked through the U.S. Travel Docs website at www.ustraveldocs.com/ng/.
Tuller also warned applicants against the use of agents or third-party services, including touts, and fixers who broker visa appointments as they usually seek to benefit by charging a fee for their services and may not always provide the correct information.
This, she said could harm an applicant’s chances of qualifying for a visa.
She said, “Both Nigeria and the United States benefit when Nigerian students study at one of our world-class educational institutions.
To prepare for your U.S. educational opportunity, we encourage you to check out EducationUSA Advising Centers at our American Spaces in Abuja, Lagos, Ibadan, and Calabar, or at educationUSA.state.gov.’’
According to the mission, over the last 21 years, EducationUSA Advising Centers in Nigeria have directly contributed to an increase in the number of highly qualified Nigerian applicants to U.S. institutions.
The mission added that in the 2019/2020 academic year, nearly 14,000 Nigerians pursued graduate and undergraduate degrees in the U.S.
Lagos says Lake rice will soon be back in the market
The Lagos State Commissioner for Agriculture blamed flooding and the COVID-19 pandemic for the disappearance of Lake rice from the market.
The Lagos State Government has said that Lake rice, which is a collaboration between the Lagos State and Kebbi State Governments, is still in existence and will soon be back in the market on a big scale.
This follows the sudden disappearance of the Lake rice due to the disruption caused by the Covid-19 pandemic and last year’s devastating flooding, which wreaked havoc on rice plantations in Kebbi and other northern states.
This disclosure was made by the Lagos State Commissioner for Agriculture, Ms Abisola Olusanya, during a ministerial briefing to commemorate the second year in office of Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu, admitting that 3 years of seamless record of providing the rice for Lagosians was broken last year, as the brand disappeared from the market.
What the Lagos State Commissioner for Agriculture is saying
Olusanya in her statement said, “It is not that Lake rice is missing to the extent that it will not surface again. Lake rice is still in existence. I think we need to go back to a lot of things that happened last year. Lake rice was available last year in January and February, COVID-19 hit us in March and subsequently, we had issues around flooding, particularly in Kebbi.
The impact of the flooding was grave on rice farms in the state. So, it is not so much about why it is not available, it is a function of why in the producing state there were so much issues of production and supply, for them to process and send to us,” she said.
The commissioner further stated, “Kebbi is the number one producer of rice in Nigeria, so it only makes sense for Lagos to partner with the state to get processed rice.
But part of the agreement also is that if Lagos State is setting up its own rice mill, the agreement is going to shift from receiving processed rice to receiving paddy rice for us to process in our mill. So, it’s not that the partnership has been terminated.”
She announced that once the state mill in Imota, Ikorodu is completed, the state would have its own brand adding that the 32 Metric tonnes per hour capacity integrated rice mill under construction is the biggest in Nigeria and in West Africa and at full capacity is capable of producing approximately 2.4 million (50kg) bags of rice for the over 22 million people in the state and for Nigerians as a whole.
Olusanya said that the mill will further create employment of approximately 267,580 jobs in the state at different stages of the value chain, reduce the cost of rice locally, enhance food self-sufficiency and revenue generation in the state and the country at large, as well as, ensure a sustainable supply of wholesome rice at an affordable price to the people in Lagos and its environs.
What you should know
The Lagos-Kebbi Rice christened Lake rice stemmed from the collaboration between Lagos and Kebbi State Governments and was launched at the Lagos House, Ikeja, Lagos on December 21, 2016, by the former Lagos State Governor, Mr Akinwunmi Ambode and his Kebbi State counterpart, Alhaji Atiku Bagudu.
The partnership which culminated in the launch was not only designed to ensure food security but also to showcase Nigeria’s ability to become a rice-producing nation. The partnership was also part of initiatives aimed at helping Lagos State succeed in its goal of achieving 40% food security and self-sufficiency status by the year 2023 in addition to being less dependent on other states for food production.
CBN, others move to stop rejection of Nigerian crops by other countries
CBN, government agencies and private firms have moved to stop the rejection of crops produced in Nigeria by other nations.
The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) in collaboration with the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA), government agencies and private firms have moved to stop the rejection of crops produced in Nigeria by other nations.
This follows the adoption of appropriate technologies for the reduction of aflatoxin in our crops, food, feeds and livestock which is expected to help achieve zero rejection of commodities exported from Nigeria.
This disclosure is contained in a communique issued at the end of a one-day workshop organised in Abuja by Harvest Field Industries Limited and IITA, aimed at sharing results of aflatoxin levels in maize sampled nationwide under the CBN Anchor Borrowers Programme 2020 Wet Season Project.
The workshop’s theme was ‘Scaling Solutions to Control Aflatoxin in Nigeria’s Crop Value Chain: The test results under the CBN Anchor Borrowers Programme 2020 Wet Season Project.’
What the CBN, IITA, Others are saying
The communique partly reads, “Also, it (the workshop) is to prompt concerted efforts towards the adoption of appropriate technologies for the reduction of aflatoxin in our crops, food, feeds and livestock as required by global food quality standards.
“Reduced aflatoxin prevalence will contribute tremendously towards achieving zero rejection of our export commodities and ensure food safety in Nigeria.”
Other participants at the workshop apart from CBN, IITA and Harvest Field, included the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control, and the Standards Organisation of Nigeria.
The list of participants in the workshop also includes the Federal Competition and Consumer Protection Commission, the Federal Ministry of Health, Value Seeds Limited, Maize Association of Nigeria, National Groundnut Producers Processors and Marketers Association of Nigeria, among others.
During the technical session, participants at the workshop recommended that the inter-ministerial committee on aflatoxin regulation and enforcement of food safety laws in Nigeria should be revived in addition to calls for the enactment of technical policy regulating the testing and enforcement of allowable aflatoxin limits in food and feed processing and distribution industries, among others.
What you should know
Aflatoxins are harmful toxins produced by certain fungi that are found on agricultural crops such as maize (corn), peanuts, cottonseed, and tree nuts. Their presence on some grains grown in Nigeria has prompted the rejection of these agro-products in the international market.
In a bid to diversify the economy and ensure food security in the country, the federal government through the CBN and other government agencies and ministries have introduced various policies and measures to increase productivity in the agricultural sector, which is arguably the largest employer of labour in the country.
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