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Farmers predict worsening food crisis, blame fuel subsidy removal, insecurity



Farmers predict worsening food crisis, blame fuel subsidy removal, insecurity

Farmers have predicted tougher days ahead for Nigerians concerning the ongoing food inflation crisis in the country.

This is as the farmers blamed subsidy removal which increased the cost of transporting farm produce, and insecurity, which has continued to hinder farming as some of the reasons for the food crisis.

The farmers, while urging Nigerians to brace up for more price hikes of food produce, noted that the food crisis may continue till August.

In recent times, Nigerians have been voicing their concerns over the hike in the prices of food.

While the food crisis is not new to the country, the ongoing crisis has caused so much uproar with the Nigeria Labour Congress making it a major argument for its demand for increased minimum wage.

According to a report by The PUNCH in 2022, the National Human Rights Commission, raised concerns over the rising food crisis in Nigeria, saying that it had worsened access to healthy and nutritious food, especially among Internally Displaced Persons and vulnerable groups, leading to an increase in widespread hunger and low quality of life.

The commission also attributed the situation to several factors, including “insecurity chasing farmers from their farms, coupled with many farmlands submerged in water due to flooding in some parts of the county.”

In solidarity, the Federal Government expressed concern over the continuous rise in the prices of food and other commodities, which has resulted in protests in Niger and Kano states.

In 2024, Northern traditional rulers and the Nigerian Bar Association decried the hardship in the country, which was said to be precipitated by the fuel subsidy removal and had resulted in higher transport costs and food inflation.

Also, as Nigerian workers commemorated the 2024 May Day, Organised Labour expressed concern about the rising food prices and fuel scarcity in the country, saying that the current situation threatened the survival of workers.

They equally lamented the harsh economic situation which had been compounded by the twin burdens of the electricity tariff hike and high fuel prices.

Speaking with Saturday PUNCH, the National President, All Farmers Association of Nigeria, Kabir Ibrahim, said tougher days were ahead for Nigerians concerning the food crisis.

He, however, cautioned the Federal Government against the knee-jack reaction of opening the borders and flooding the market with imported foods, warning that such a decision could erode the little gains recorded in the agricultural sector.

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Ibrahim also explained that the hikes in prices of farm produce such as tomato, pepper, and yam may not be unconnected with the seasonal variations, noting that the prices of some food items usually went up around this period.

He said, “Vegetables, characteristically, will be sold for higher prices at this time, because this is not the season. For those who do open production, the rains will not allow those to germinate very well. So, there is always a scarcity around this time and September. After that, the price will start coming down, because some people who do open production can also bring some.

“So November through January, February, and even March, you’ll find very good prices, but don’t forget the challenges of the exchange rate of the naira. That is also happening. Don’t also discount the cost of transporting the produce. All these farmers will have to factor in selling to the middlemen, and the middlemen also buy to make profits. Those are some of the reasons.”

He also noted that while insecurity remained a fundamental issue preventing farmers from ensuring food security, other issues including the high exchange rate must be addressed to curb the ongoing crisis.

He said, “Insecurity is a factor in food security in Nigeria. Nobody can discountenance it, but there was more insecurity in 2022, for instance. That was even before the floods challenge. These challenges were not as much in the early part of 2023 compared to the time this administration came on board. Some of these things are also dependent on the times. The exchange rate is of course important and remains a factor as well. The removal of subsidy on all petroleum products and the increased costs associated with that in transportation and distribution of farm produce is also a major issue.”

He stressed that a major factor in the ongoing crisis was the cost of food and not scarcity. “The question is affordability. It is available but not affordable. Therefore, with the high cost, there is no food security. Food security means you should be able to afford food within reasonable limits,” he said.

Ibrahim, however, reiterated the need for the government to avoid trying to solve the ongoing crisis by opening the border to mass food importation, noting that it could destroy the gains already recorded in the agricultural sector.

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Also speaking with Saturday PUNCH, the National Secretary of the All Farmers Association of Nigeria, Dr Yunusa Halidu, stated that low productivity was the cause of the hike in prices of farm produce, noting that the Federal Government should do more to bring down the high cost of farming inputs.

“When we talk of inputs, we are talking about tractors and others. They are very expensive, and other inputs such as fertilisers. From last year to now, prices have hovered between N35,000, N45,000 and N50,000, and farmers cannot afford them. Three to four years ago, tractors cost about N10m to N15m, but today, they cost about N35m to N40m in the same country. Who can afford to buy it? Government can’t buy tractors for famers, and farmers can’t afford to buy tractors. They have to go back to the way of doing it which is our usual culture. That is affecting production.”

Also blaming insecurity for the crisis, he said, “Today, insecurity is wreaking havoc, with farmers being kidnapped. Now, the government can’t fight insecurity.”

He urged the government to work with farmers to end the food crisis.

“We need government to come in and discuss with us. The government should sit down with the farmer’s group. We are the umbrella body of all the commodity associations in Nigeria, and our structure is from national down to other levels. The government cannot regulate what it does not contribute to. The government cannot tell me to go and sell my yam or milk in the market at a certain price. What was their contribution to it? They did npt contribute a dime. Government should work hand in hand with farmers.”

‘Nigeria needs specialised agric institutions’

Meanwhile, the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Abbas Tajudeen, said that the establishment of more specialised agricultural institutions in the country will accelerate the nation’s quest for food security.

Abbas stated this on Friday in Abuja while declaring open a public hearing of the House on nine agriculture-related bills.

Represented by the Deputy Speaker, Benjamin Kalu, Abbas explained that three of the bills seek the amendment of the federal universities of agriculture Act 2010 to establish Federal University of Agriculture in Oyo, Delta and Enugu states, while the remaining six bills are seeking amendment of the Agricultural Research Council of Nigeria Act, 2004, to pave way for the establishment of agricultural colleges and institutes in Ekiti, Bauchi, Enugu, Delta, Nasarawa and Ogun states.

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A statement issued by the Chief Press Secretary to the Deputy Speaker, Levinus Nwabughiogu, quoted Kalu as saying that, “To fast-track the Federal Government’s drive for food security, modern and mechanised farming and diversification of the economy, the need for more specialised agricultural institutions that are innovative and research-based has become imperative.

“This understanding informed the listing of agricultural reforms in the 10th House legislative agenda to address the nation’s high cost of food items. We believe that if these bills are well processed with robust inputs from you, they would strengthen the nation’s quest for food sufficiency and socio-economic development of our country.”

Abbas also tasked agricultural stakeholders to make valid contributions that would enable the House to arrive at an informed conclusion on the bills.

“Let me state that public hearing is a key legislative programme designed by the parliament to ensure that the feelings, sentiments and aspirations of the critical stakeholders and other members of the public are reflected in the laws made by the legislature.

“It also helps the parliament to be better resourced for better-quality laws. Accordingly, I urge you to ensure that your contributions are profound, relevant and vital to help guide the House to administer the right legislative actions to improve on these nine agriculture-related bills.

“As it is evident, with nine agricultural-related bills waiting to be evaluated by the stakeholders for enhanced outputs, today’s public hearing is particularly extensive in scope and proportions. Your commitment is therefore sought towards making this event a huge success,” he said.

‘Ogun working to tackle food insecurity’

The Spokesman of the Ministry of Agriculture and Food Security, Mr Gbenga Morounfolu, said that the Ogun State government had been actively working to tackle food insecurity through various initiatives.

Moronfolu, on Friday said that the state government had continued to engage the farmers and had been supporting them from time to time all in a bid to boost food production in the state.

He said, “Less than two weeks ago, about 8,800 smallholder farmers across the 20 local government areas of the state received free agricultural inputs and assets, as well as infrastructural support via OGUN-CARES FADAMA to further boost the outputs of farming enterprises.”

Source: The Punch


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Sallah: Ex-Senate president Lawan shares N222.5m cash gift, foodstuffs to constituents



President of the 9th Senate, Senator Ahmad Lawan, has distributed N222.5 million cash gift to households drawn from across 60 wards in the six Local Government Areas (LGAs) of Yobe North Senatorial District to celebrate the upcoming Eid-el-Kabir Muslim festival.

The distribution, which was carried out through a committee set up by Senator Lawan, targeted households and individuals in need within the district and beyond.

The six LGAs that benefited from the gesture include Bade, Jakusko, Karasuwa, Yusufari, Machina and Nguru.

The cash gift ranging from 100,000 to 20,000 was distributed to each household, including individuals, with a total of 3,430 households and individuals benefitting from the initiative sponsored by the Senator Ahmad Ibrahim Lawan (SAIL) Foundation.

Other beneficiaries captured are traditional leaders, party executives, and stakeholders in Yobe North.

Also to be distributed are food items such as 1500 carton boxes of spaghetti, 1,140 bags of maize and guinea corn, 1,500 clothings for children, 800 wrappers for women, 2,000 blankets, 2,000 mats etc. Beneficiaries under this category were also drawn from the six LGAs, and extend to orphanages within the Senatorial District.

According to the chairman of the Selection and Distribution Committee, Alhaji Suleiman Jamo, the gesture was aimed at cushioning the economic hardship faced by many constituents owing to the high cost of living as Muslims celebrate Eid-el-Kabir.

“We understand that many of our constituents are going through difficult times, and this gift from Sen. Ahmad Lawan is a token of his support to help them celebrate with joy and peace,” Jamo said.

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Senator Lawan, while commending the committee for a job well done, urged the beneficiaries to use the gift wisely as they enjoy the Eid celebration.

“I wish all my constituents a blessed and peaceful Eid-el-Kabir celebration. May the spirit of the season unite us and bring us closer together”, he said

Source: The Nation

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Nigeria working hard to eliminate terrorism, cybercrimes, Tinubu assures FBI



Nigeria working hard to eliminate terrorism, cybercrimes, Tinubu assures

Tinubu said his administration has prioritised education as a tool against poverty which is generally believed to be a driver of criminal activities.

President Bola Tinubu receives FBI Director, Christopher Asher Wray, at the State House on June 14, 2024. Credit: State House.

President Bola Tinubu on Friday received the director of the United States’ Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Christopher Asher Wray, assuring him that Nigeria is working hard to eliminate terrorism, cybercrime, and other criminal activities.

Tinubu spoke during a meeting with the FBI director at the State House in Abuja, calling for collaboration between Nigeria and other countries in West Africa to rid the region of crimes.

“We are working hard to eliminate terrorism, cybercrimes, sextortion, and I am glad that we have a good number of agencies that are involved in reducing these crimes to the barest minimum, and they are also well represented at this meeting,” Tinubu was quoted as saying in a statement by his spokesman, Ajuri Ngelale.

“’We cannot achieve this important feat of eliminating crimes without collaboration. Incidentally, as the Chairman of ECOWAS, Nigeria is also collaborating with other West African countries to fight economic and other related crimes.

“It is an honour for me to receive Director Christopher Wray, the leader of an organization that has demonstrated consistent procedural sophistication and a reputation for excellence over several years. Your visit conveys the importance of Nigeria and Nigerian partnership in the work of America’s law enforcement institutions and vice-versa. For us, it is a recognition of what stage we are at, who we are, and the level of interest both countries share in eliminating crimes locally and globally.”

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Tinubu said his administration has prioritised education as a tool against poverty which is generally believed to be a driver of criminal activities.

Noting that no country can combat financial crimes in isolation, President Tinubu called on the United States to support developing countries with the requisite technology and knowledge transfer required to combat complex international crimes.

In his remarks, Director Wray said he was in the country to enhance the “outstanding partnership” that exists between the government of Nigeria and the government of the United States.

Source: Channels


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Anambra Rep knocks proposal for Orlu State



The House of Representatives has further rescheduled its resumption date earlier slated for Tuesday, April 23 by one week.

The member representing Nnewi North/Nnewi South/Ekwusigo Federal Constituency of Anambra State, Hon Uzokwe Peter Ifeanyi, has knocked the proposal for the creation of Orlu State.

He said though he was not against the creation of another state for the Southeast, proper consultation was not made.

Penultimate Thursday, the House of Representatives passed a bill for first reading for the creation of Orlu State.

The bill was sponsored by the member representing Ideato North/Ideato South Federal Constituency, Imo State, Ikenga Ugochinyere.

According to the draft bill, the creation of Orlu State will alter the 1999 Constitution (as amended), increasing the number of states in the federation from 36 to 37

The new state will be carved out from Imo, Abia, and Anambra states, with Orlu as its capital city, it proposed.

But reacting to the development, Ifeanyi, expressed displeasure that his constituency was carved into the proposed new state even without letting him as representative of the people know.

He posited that the call for a new state was germane but should be done through the appropriate channels, especially through the Igbo leadership, Ohaneze Ndigbo.

He said his position did not reinforce any stereotypes about the Southeast not being united as disagreements on issues in any community is normal.

His words, “The issue of state creation has been the problem of Igbos, the South easterners. No Igboman will say that the Igbos don’t need a state to make up for the inequality of states in the country. Inasmuch as we need that state, the issue becomes where will the state be carved out from?

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“It’s only Anambra people that don’t because of the location of Anambra State. The best you can do is just to carve out something small. I don’t think between Enugu and Anambra, there is a place you will carve out. But from Abia, coming down to Owerri, Imo State, you can carve out between Abia and Imo, between Abia and Ebonyi, and lastly between Imo and some parts of Anambra State. So that has been the issue.

“What happened today was that last Thursday, my brother and honourable member colleague submitted a bill proposing Orlu State. I don’t have anything against Orlu State but the issue is that if you want to carve out any state, you have to do due diligence, you have to consult widely. Can you imagine the embarrassment? My Igwe called me and asked me what happened. Were you there when Ozubulu was carved into Orlu? I said nobody consulted me.

“I’m in the House with you. As a matter of fact, since I was elected, I have not missed more than three sittings, so I’m not an absentee honourable. You see me every day, you people can bear me witness. I have never been in the House five minutes past eleven. I must be seated five minutes to eleven. As a matter of fact, the Speaker had not entered that chamber before me and I was seated or standing to welcome him.

“So it is not a matter of you did not see me. But because you wanted to bypass me. I don’t know the reason. And taking Ozubulu out of Ekwusigo, are you taking the whole of Ekwusigo? Ozubulu has been the Local Government headquarters of Ekwusigo. You just came to Ekwusigo and picked out Ozubulu. Where will the headquarters of Ekwusigo be now? Will Ozubulu which has been the headquarters of a local government now go into Orlu to be a minority? Is it possible?

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“If he had approached me and consulted with me, we would sit down. But let it not be what happened in 1884/1885 which was the scramble for and the partitioning of West Africa, where somewhere in Berlin, Germany, you sat down, brought the map of West Africa on the table, and started carving. That was exactly what my honourable colleague did. Put that Anambra map, put that Imo map, and started carving it out as it pleased him. Will he have taken it if I come to his local town and pull it out? What explanation would be given to his people? Nothing. Just to embarrass me.

“My thinking is simple and short. That we are here, our being here does not give us any superiority over the people who sent us. We have Ohaneze Ndigbo. They have been championing the cause of the creation of an additional state for Igbos. Shift it back to them. They are the elders. They will do it and bring it to us and tell us to push it. That is our job.

“Ohaneze Ndigbo will do it, bring it to us as Southeast Caucus in the parliament. We have leaders. Then with one voice, we push on what is agreed on. But for us to come here as lawmakers because we have the power to make laws, then we start tinkering with the laws, creating new ones to suit the imagination we want. No! Things are not done like that.

“I am not against the creation of an additional state but there should have been proper consultation. I would advise him to withdraw the bill and re-present it so all of us would support it. But the people of Ozubulu have taken a stand that they would not go under Orlu.”

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He said the Speaker of the House, Tajudeen Abbas, was passionate about the creation of an additional state for the Southeast.

He also said his position did not reflect any stereotype that the Southeast cannot work together.

He said, this is not a stereotype that the Southeast cannot work together. We would disagree to agree. Forget about that stereotype. Which ethnic group in Nigeria speaks with one voice? Igbo people speak with one voice more than other ethnic groups in Nigeria. Anybody that says Igbos don’t speak with voice is a lie. It is just stereotyping and labelling for them to get what they want. Is speaking with one voice the absence of disagreements? No. It is not. We can disagree. But so long as two human beings are into anything there must be disagreements.”

Source: The Nation


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Tax evasion: Court discharges Binance executive as FG amends charges



FG, INTERPOL in talks over Binance chief’s extradition

The Federal Inland Revenue Service says it is dropping the tax charges against Tigran Gambaryan, Binance’s head of financial crime compliance.

Confirming the development, Dare Adekanmbi, the agency’s spokesperson, said the federal government “is dropping charges against the two individuals sued along with the cryptocurrency firm, Binance”.

“Please note that the charges are being dropped against the second and the third defendants in the matter,” he added.

TheCable understands that a federal high court in Abuja discharged the two executives on June 14, after the FIRS confirmed the appointment of Ayodele Omotilewa as the firm’s representative — with FIRS filing a fresh charge listing the exchange as the sole defendant.

Speaking in a statement on Friday, Binance said the development illustrates that Gambaryan is not a decision-maker at the cryptocurrency firm.

“We are relieved that the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) has served and filed amended charges today, resulting in tax charges against Tigran Gambaryan being dropped,” the statement reads.

“Further illustrating that Tigran is not a decision-maker at Binance and does not need to be held in order for Binance to resolve issues with the Nigerian government.

“We await the court’s ruling on this, discharging Tigran from this matter completely.”

Binance also commended the FIRS for their diligence and professionalism throughout this process.

The company said the situation unequivocally demonstrates its commitment to resolving the issue with the government transparently and cooperatively.

Gambaryan and Nadeem Anjarwalla, Binance’s regional manager for Africa; were detained by the Nigerian authorities on February 28.

READ ALSO  Tax evasion: Court discharges Binance executive as FG amends charges

Although Anjarwalla escaped from the custody of the office of the national security adviser (ONSA), both executives, alongside Binance, were charged by the federal government for tax evasion and money laundering.

On March 25, FIRS filed a criminal charge against Binance for “tax evasion”.

According to the service, the move was to uphold fiscal responsibility and safeguard the economic integrity of the country.

The lawsuit, designated as suit number FHC/ABJ/CR/115/2024, was said to “implicate Binance with a four-count tax evasion accusation”.

On May 17, the FIRS filed an amended four-count charge against Binance Holdings Limited and its executive, Gambaryan, on alleged tax evasion.

The matter drew the attention of lawmakers in the United States who accused the Nigerian government of taking Gambaryan, “hostage”.

In response, the federal government said due processes were being applied in the ongoing trial of Binance.

Source: TheCable


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Investing in Davido coin high risk – SEC



Investing In Davido Coin High Risk – SEC

The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has warned that investing in meme coins, including $davido, is highly risky and should be done with a full…

The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has warned that investing in meme coins, including $davido, is highly risky and should be done with a full understanding of the associated risks.

The commission, in a circular dated June 14, 2024, said its attention had been drawn to a meme coin known as “$davido” allegedly linked to the popular Nigerian singer, David Adedeji Adeleke, aka Davido.

According to the circular, “Generally, meme coins are cryptocurrencies inspired by memes and internet jokes. They are often envisaged as a fun, light-hearted cryptocurrencies promoted through a social media community and sometimes through celebrity endorsements.”

The SEC further stated that meme coins are also not intended to serve as a medium of exchange accepted by the public as payment for goods and services, or as digital representation of capital market products such as shares, debentures, units of collective investment schemes, derivatives contracts, commodities or other kinds of financial instruments or investments.

SEC, therefore, advised the general public that meme coins lacked fundamental value and were purely speculative.

“Capital Market Operators are by this notice warned not to associate with instruments that fall outside the SEC’s regulatory purview. Such instruments should not in any manner be distributed or monitored through any capital market mechanism”.

It also emphasised that the commission does not recognise $davido as an investment product or investable asset class under its regulatory purview, as such individuals who patronise it, did so at their peril.

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Source: DailyTrust


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FG directs NSCDC to take over protection of transmission lines



NSCDC destroys massive illegal refinery field in Rivers

The federal government has ordered the Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC), to take over the protection of transmission lines and towers across the nation.

The Minister of Interior, Hon. Olubunmi Tunjo-Ojo, gave the order yesterday during the passing-out parade of the second batch of mining marshals of NSCDC in Abuja, decrying that: “It is not acceptable for a country to spend billions on power infrastructure for it to be vandalised.”

The minister, while expressing deep concern over the constant vandalism of transmission lines, towers and transformers, described the repeated vandalism of critical national assets as economic sabotage which must be nipped in the bud.
Tunji-Ojo added that: “I will speak with my brother, the Minister of Power, about the rate of vandalism, the rate of destruction of our critical infrastructure in the sector and a lot of sabotage going on with our transmission lines, our generation points and all the rest has to be looked into.

“It is your job to make sure that no critical asset of government is destroyed and we are ready and I believe NSCDC is up to the task.

“The next time I come here, I want to see my Power Rangers, I mean people that will protect our distribution lines, people that will protect our Gencos and people that will protect every power sector. It’s not reasonable, it’s not acceptable for a country like Nigeria to spend billions of dollars on power infrastructure all for it to be vandalised. No country grows or develops without the power sector, so NSCDC it is time for you to play your part.

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“In terms of the power sector we will take this sector by sector. I have decided that the solution towards you accomplishing your mandate is sectorisation of your responsibility.”

Tunji-Ojo also assured Nigerians that the country would do everything it takes to win the war against illegal miners.
He said: “Today, I can tell you the revenue from the solid mineral sector is not where it used to be, it has improved. The security in terms of our mines has improved and of course Nigeria is a big country. Therefore, we need to train more, we need to deploy more personnel to make sure that all our mines and all critical assets of Nigeria are well protected.

“We have seen that there is no solution to our problems that Nigerians cannot prefer. Yes, we’ve not yet won the war but we know we will win the war.”

On his part, the Minister of Solid Minerals Development, Dr. Dele Alake, acknowledged that the revenue in the mineral sector has improved after the introduction of NSCDC Mining Marshals.

Alake, who was represented by the Permanent Secretary in the ministry, Dr. Mary Ogbe, however warned miners to formalise their operations or face the law.

He said that the illegal operations of the miners have continued to cause land degradation.

In his remarks, the Commandant General of NSCDC, Dr. Ahmed Audi, lamented that the nation’s security especially the mining sector is being threatened by the nefarious activities of illegal miners, bandits, kidnappers, terrorists, among others, noting that this has led to a major setback in the development of the country’s otherwise very lucrative mining sector that is very critical to the country’s socio-economic development.

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Audi said, “There is no gainsaying the fact that Nigeria is blessed with abundance of mineral resources which if properly tapped and managed, could significantly boost Nigeria’s revenue base which represents another giant stride towards stabilising the economy.”

He noted that adequate security measures towards strengthening security and safeguarding our collective patrimony needs to be put in place, while insisting that there is need for a robust policy guideline backed by legislation, for robust regulatory measures to combat and criminalise illegal mining.

The CG explained that this measure will no doubt attract and encourage genuine investors, both indigenous and foreign to the mining industry.

On the new mining marshals, he said: “I am of the firm belief that this intensive training has sufficiently equipped the participants with the requisite skills and knowledge to discharge their duties diligently and professionally. Let me at this juncture remind today’s graduands of the expectations of government and to charge you all to maintain a high sense of professionalism, integrity, discipline, civility, humility, and level headedness and to ensure that knowledge gained in the course of the training is effectively utilised to fortify security at all mining sites across the country.

“You are also expected to imbibe the spirit of patriotism, absolute loyalty and to eschew acts or unethical conduct capable of dragging the image of the Corps in the mud as anyone found wanting will be appropriately sanctioned. Furthermore, you are to shun any act of unhealthy rivalry with other Security Agencies but rather regard yourselves as partners in the wheel of progress and development of this great Nation.”

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Source: Thisday

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