President Muhammadu Buhari commenced the week under review with the inauguration of a US$ 73 million intervention fund for irrigation, to boost the Sugar backward integration programme aimed at making Nigeria a leading sugar producing country in Africa.
Our correspondent reports that to actualise this dream, an agreement between the federal government and the operators of the Sugar backward integration programme was also signed on Dec. 21, 2021, at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.
Speaking at the event, the Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, Niyi Adebayo, who represented President Buhari, said: “This morning I represented the President at the formal commissioning of the Presidential project on irrigation infrastructure.”
“The intervention is the setting up of a US$73 million intervention fund for irrigation, for operators of the Sugar backward Intervention Programme.”
“The goal is to support the development of irrigation infrastructure on 10,000 hectares of sugar plantations located in six sites in Numan (Adamawa State), Sumti (Niger State), Lafiagi (Kwara), Bacita (Kwara) as well as in Toto and Tunga, both in Nasarawa state.”
“The Central Bank of Nigeria is also involved in the provision of required funding for the project as well.”
According to Adebayo, the aim of the programme is to increase Nigeria’s sugar yield, in line with its quest of becoming self-sufficient in Sugar production.
“The aim is to increase significantly the sugar yield so that we can work within the National Sugar Development master plan, with a view to Nigeria becoming self-sufficient in sugar production and possibly becoming a net exporter of sugar.”
Also speaking at the event, the Executive Secretary, National Sugar Development Council (NSDC), Mr. Zacch Adedeji, said the intervention is part of government’s determination to provide an enabling environment for private investments to thrive and flourish in the country.
He said: “Preliminary activities, including identification of the specific project sites for each operator, include framework for design and engineering services for the in-field and bulk water supply systems, project management and maintenance specifications.”
“In addition to the adoption of a business model and costing, among others, it was concluded long before the formal commissioning of this laudable initiative.”
The Presidency also inaugurated an IT training Centre to be facilitated by Internet giant, Galaxy Backbone.
The Centre, located within the State House Auditorium, was built with a robust Internet Connectivity to assist the staff in modernising their work processes.
Inaugurating the project on Tuesday, the Head of the Civil Service of the Federation, Folashade Yemi-Esan, commended the authorities for facilitating the establishment of the Centre, adding that the project would add to the digital skills of the State House staff.
She warned that the country’s civil service is transiting and staff members who failed to avail themselves with digital skills would be left behind.
The Chairman, Nigerian Governors’ Forum, Dr Kayode Fayemi, also on Dec. 21, met behind closed door with President Buhari, where he lauded him on behalf of his colleagues, for addressing economic challenges facing State Governments through the provision financial assistance.
He expressed grief over the heart-wrenching murder of 45 farmers and scores injured following renewed hostilities in Lafia, Obi and Awe Local Government Areas of Nasarawa State.
President Buhari also commiserated with the government and people of Abia as well as the Nigeria Union Journalists (NUJ) on the passing of a former national president of the union, Mr Bonnie Nwoha, in the week under review.
Buhari said the sympathies of the entire nation were with the affected families.
On Dec. 22, President Buhari met behind closed door with Gov. Nasir el-Rufai of Kaduna State in the Presidential Villa, Abuja, on Tuesday.
Speaking to State House correspondents on the outcome of the meeting, the governor said he updated the president on security development in Kaduna state where about 40 villagers were killed by terrorists three days ago.
The governor, who was accompanied by the State Commissioner for Internal Security, Samuel Aruwan, stated that he asked for the intervention of the President for more deployment of security forces and comprehensive operations.
The President inaugurated Nigeria’s National Development Plan 2021-2025 to succeed the Economic Recovery and Growth Plan (ERGP 2017-2020), saying Nigeria needs an investment size of N348.1 trillion to achieve the targets set out in the Plan.
Our correspondent reports that the president presented the document to the public shortly before the commencement of the virtual meeting of the Federal Executive Council (FEC) held at the council chambers of the Presidential Villa, Abuja, on Wednesday.
The Nigerian Governors’ Forum, represented by Gov. Atiku Bagudu of Kebbi State, hailed President Buhari for giving the country a new National Development Plan.
According to Bagudu, the Development Plan 2021-2025 is all inclusive and will help the country consolidate on the gains of previous ones.
The president later presided over the meeting of the the Federal Executive Council (FEC) where the Council approved N5.7 billion for the execution of two Water Supply projects in Yobe and purchase of seeds for various crops to boost food production in the country.
The virtual meeting was presided over by President Muhammadu Buhari in the Presidential Villa, Abuja, on Wednesday.
President Buhari, who visited Maiduguri on Thursday, urged troops of Operation Hadin Kai to remain steadfast as they go into the final phase of the campaign against insurgency and other forms of criminalities.
According to President Buhari, the entire nation remains grateful for the gallantry displayed in ensuring gradual return of peace to the North East, while condoling with families that have lost loved ones, and the wounded.
While in Maiduguri, Buhari inaugurated Oriental Energies Resource Ltd Hanger, Muhammadu Indimi Distance Learning Centre and an International Conference Centre, saying his administration will keep giving its best for the development of the country until May, 2023, reiterating that he will handover as stipulated by the Constitution.
The Centre was donated to the University of Maiduguri by business mogul, Alhaji Muhammadu Indimi, in Maiduguri, Borno.
President Buhari, who presided over an emergency meeting of the National Security Council, also swore in the newly appointed Minister, representing Taraba, Malam Muazu Sambo.
Our correspondent reports that the swearing in of the minister was held shortly before the opening of the meeting of the Security Council in the Presidential Villa, Abuja, on Friday.
Sambo, who replaced former Minister of Power, Mamman Sale, from Taraba, was posted to Ministry of Works and Housing as Minister of State, Works and Housing.
The Nigerian leader ended the week under review in a festive mood as he hosted Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo and members of his immediate family, who paid him Christmas homage in the Presidential Villa, Abuja, on Saturday.
It was observed that the vice-president, who spent Christmas in Abuja for the first time in the last six and half years, offered special prayers for the general progress of the country as well as the well-being of the first family and the citizens.
The vice-president, who also spoke to State House correspondents, described the visit as memorable.
President Buhari had earlier wished Nigerians Merry Christmas, and also expressed his administration’s commitment to uplifting the quality of life of all citizens, assuring that he will not abandon the promises made to Nigerians.