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Imo assembly to seal satchet, bottled water factories over sub-standard practices

The Imo State House of Assembly in conjunction with the State Ministry Of Health and other associated agencies says it will seal sachet and bottled water production factories over substandard practices, which include, failure to comply with standard provisions, vis-a-vis, regulatory provisions, and unhealthy production environment.

This was disclosed by the Chairman Of Imo State House Of Assembly Committee On Health, Hon Sam Otuibe, during a meeting with the Executive of the Association of Table Waters Production, ATWAP, Imo State, on Thursday, at the Assembly Complex.

He bemoaned the substandard practices of table water producers in the state, which has caused a lot of health challenges to Imo citizens who patronize their products daily.

Otuibe, who is also the Member Representing Ahiazu Mbaise State Constituency, further said, “We are alarmed that the taste of water produced in Imo State is nothing to write home about. You cannot be poisoning Imo people in the name of doing business and making money. This is very sad, and alarming and should be condemned by all reasonable members of the public.

“How often do you treat your water? The majority of table water in the state has iron, which is why there is a very high rise in kidney and liver infections and related diseases in Imo state. You cannot be reaping people off, while they are dying of bad and poisoned water.

“Since some of your water factories are not following laid down regulations, we will seal them to protect Imo citizens. Only very few table waters are safe for Imo citizens to drink, like Eva water, Mangero water, and very few others. Some of you don’t even have NAFDAC registration numbers and have been operating illegally. Moving forward, therefore, every table water company in the State will undergo laboratory tests. Those that fail the test will be sealed, the names made public, and owners prosecuted. We will also publish table waters that passed the tests, for Imo citizens to take note of. We are recommending the company that carries out tests on Eva water to all of you. And certificates will be issued to those companies that will pass the tests.”

ATWAP pleaded with the Committee to give them time to reach out to their members to take precautionary measures and ensure, henceforth, the production of table water is done in a hygienic environment while observing other regulatory provisions.

The plea was rejected by the Committee.

The President of the Water Association, Mr Lunanze Bismarck, explained that they were elected in December 2023, and have 292 registered water producers in the state.

He also said there are still others operating in the state who are yet to be registered with the Association.

According to him, “some of our members have closed shop due to the rise in the cost of production”.

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Food

Dangote donates 80,000 bags of rice to Lagos residents as palliatives

The Aliko Dangote Foundation (ADF) on Wednesday donated 80,000 bags of 10kg of rice to vulnerable people in Lagos State to cushion the hardship in the country.

The foundation flagged off the distribution of the rice at the State House, Ikeja, Lagos on Wednesday with Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu, Chairman of the foundation, Aliko Dangote and others present at the distribution event.

According to Dangote, the gesture was part of the over one million 10kg bags of rice that would be distributed to reach one million vulnerable people in the 774 local government areas of the country.

He said the distribution of the 80,000 bags of 10kg rice was another demonstration of the foundation’s commitment to upholding the values of compassion and solidarity that are at the core of humanity.

Dangote stated that the distribution of the rice was in addition to the daily distribution of 12,500 loaves of bread in Lagos, stressing that with the initiative, the foundation aspired to ameliorate some of the burdens faced by vulnerable communities across Lagos State.

Speaking at the event, Sanwo-Olu, applauded the many initiatives of Dangote to ameliorate the sufferings of Nigerians, while praising him for showing compassion to the needy in the society.

The governor said the gesture of the distribution of 80,000 bags of 10kg rice showed that the leadership of the Foundation prioritised the welfare of the people beyond the pursuit of profit and accumulation of wealth.

“Aliko Dangote is a Nigerian that has chosen to be different. You have choices but you have made the right one which is caring for the vulnerable. I appreciate Mr. Aliko Dangote for extending his kind gestures to the people at the bottom of the pyramid and we are grateful for supporting us in government. There is a lot of global disruption in different parts of the world, and it is a tough time to be in a position of leadership,” he said.

He encouraged other wealthy Nigerians to emulate Dangote, saying the distribution of the rice would support the initiative of the state in addressing the effects of the economic hardship.

Justifying the food intervention in Lagos, Dangote said: “While our traditional Ramadan food distribution has been focused on the Muslim Community, we recognize that the current circumstances where a significant proportion of Nigerians across the nation are experiencing severe hardship due to the prevailing high prices of food, require that we broaden our program to cover communities of all faiths.

“This is why we are extending the Ramadan initiative to cover all the thirty-six states and the Federal Capital Territory as a testament to our commitment to supporting our communities in line with our core values and the spirit of the Holy Month of Ramadan.”

The CEO of the ADF, Zouera Youssoufou, said the Foundation is partnering credible NGOs, civil societies, religious bodies among others to ensure the donations go to the most vulnerable in Lagos State.

She said the Foundation is guided by a vision of empowering Africans to achieve their self-actualization and full potential as it believes that every individual, regardless of their circumstances, deserves the opportunity to thrive and succeed.

“In times of hardship, it is imperative that we stand together as one nation, one community, extending a helping hand to our brothers and sisters in their time of need as we have done with our female empowerment programme in Lagos State which targeted 40,000 (Forty thousand) disadvantaged women,” she added.

Group Executive Director Commercial Operations at Dangote Industries Limited (DIL), Fatima Aliko-Dangote, noted that the flag off in Lagos was a follow-up to the 120,000 bags distributed in Kano on Saturday, said the intervention is targeted to reach the 774 local government areas in Nigeria.

“We have been doing this for a while but we didn’t publicise it because our chairman believes this is between him and God but this year we decided to publicise it so that we can encourage and inspire others to do so.

“There are many other things the Dangote foundation is also doing. We are also serving 2,500 breads all over Lagos daily. We started this in 2020 during COVID-19. Also in our hometown in Kano, we have been doing breakfast, lunch and dinner for the past 35 years. The foundation has invested in many things. Years back, we gave women some money to be able to invest in their businesses,” she said.

Speaking further, Dangote said that Lagos State held a special place in the hearts of the Group, hosting two of its major investments – Dangote Petroleum Refinery and Dangote Fertiliser Plant.

He disclosed that the Dangote Group is also working on the nutrition agenda and has made significant strides in food fortification, investing in iodized salt and vitamin A fortified sugar.

He stressed that the Group actively promotes food fortification within the Nigerian food industry and is exploring fortification methods for staples like rice and wheat and bouillon cubes to help ensure improved nutrition nationwide.

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Food

Ogun State Government Extends Easter and Ramadan Palliative Relief Efforts

Distribution of palliative to worshipers at the Reverend Mellor Methodist Church, Agbowa, Sagamu, this Sunday.

In line with the festive spirit of Easter and ongoing Ramadan observance, the Ogun State government has continued its distribution of palliatives across the state’s three senatorial districts. This initiative aims to alleviate the economic strains faced by residents amidst prevailing challenges.
The recent phase of distribution primarily targeted Christian communities, with many churches receiving the palliative offerings. Notably, some mosques also benefitted from this gesture, which is spearheaded by Governor Dapo Abiodun. The distribution, which included essential items such as rice, occurred on both Friday and Sunday across various churches and mosques within the state.
In the Ogun Central Senatorial District, congregants at St. Peter’s Cathedral, Ake, SS Peter and Paul Catholic Church in Isale Ake, and the Celestial Church of Christ (CCC) in Ijaiye, Abeokuta South Local Government Area, were among the beneficiaries. Expressing gratitude, recipients praised the governor’s compassionate gesture, acknowledging its role in alleviating the suffering of the people. Ven. Superior Joseph Talon, Mr. Abeeden Hammed, and Mrs. Julianah Adesanya conveyed their heartfelt appreciation and extended prayers for Governor Abiodun’s successful tenure.
Similarly, in the Ogun East Senatorial District, worshippers at the Cathedral Church of St. Paul, C&S, Orisun Emi Alafia, and the United Baptist Church in Sagamu were recipients of the palliative support. Individuals such as Mr. Emmanuel Adetunji, Mrs. Adenike Adekoya, and Mr. Oludayo Soyemi expressed their appreciation for Governor Abiodun’s commitment to the welfare of citizens, pledging continued support for his administration’s endeavors.
Bishop Bamidele Ibikunle of the Remo Diocese, Methodist Church Nigeria, described the palliative distribution as a welcome development. He emphasized its significance in alleviating the uncertainties surrounding sustenance during the festive period. The sentiment was echoed by other religious leaders and congregants who highlighted the relief provided by the gesture, particularly amid challenging times.
The distribution spanned various churches including St. Peter’s Anglican Cathedral Ake, Abeokuta (Ogun Central); St. Paul’s Anglican Cathedral Sagamu (Ogun East); SS Peter & Paul Catholic Cathedral Adatan Abeokuta (Ogun Central); and Catholic Cathedral Ijebu Ode (Ogun East), among others.
Additionally, some Islamic faithful across the state also received palliatives on Friday, with distributions taking place in mosques. During the distribution at the Ijebu-Ode Central Mosque, the Grand Chief Imam, Sheikh Miftaudeen Ayanbadejo, emphasized the need for temporary border openings to address the current hardship in the country effectively.
Amidst expressions of gratitude, residents like Mrs. Aminat Quadri and Lawal Sikiru lauded the government’s efforts in meeting the needs of the people during these challenging times. Furthermore, at the Ilaro Central Mosque, Chief Imam Alhaji Tajudeen Adewunmi appreciated Governor Abiodun’s commitment to bringing relief to the people, acknowledging the profound impact of the gesture in alleviating their suffering.
Beyond palliative distributions, Governor Abiodun’s administration has embarked on various social welfare initiatives, including cash awards to indigent learners in public primary and secondary schools, as well as disbursements to Ogun State students in higher institutions across the country. These efforts underscore the government’s dedication to improving the lives of residents and fostering inclusive development across the state.

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Food

Borno targets export of sesame, others as Zulum visits 20 hectares irrigation farm

Governor Babagana Umara Zulum said that Borno State is working towards attaining food sufficiency and the export of cash crops and other farm products such as maize and cassava, among others.

“Let’s carefully put things in order. Borno State will start exporting sesame and other cash crops in the near future,” Zulum said.

The governor stated this on Tuesday at the Koiri irrigation farm, one of the pilot drip irrigation schemes of his administration.

Koiri scheme, covering about 20 hectares of land, aims to produce 364 tons of maize and sesame in one crop cycle. With three cycles per year, the Koiri scheme is targeted to cultivate over 1,092 tons of maize and other crops annually.

Governor Zulum noted that his administration will focus on investing in irrigation agriculture to maximise food production in the state.

“We will subsequently change focus and invest our resources in irrigation farming or, rather, food production. I assure you that we will provide the political will needed to achieve food sufficiency,” Zulum said.

Governor Zulum, however, ordered the expansion of the scheme to 300 hectares, with 100 hectares to be cultivated in each senatorial zone.

The governor said, “We need to expand our scope. We should identify bigger land; we can expand with another 100 hectares each in Borno Central, South and North.”

Speaking further, he added, “My predecessor has procured about 10,000 hectares of drip irrigation kits. After this year’s rainy season, we hope the state will be able to cultivate at least 1000 hectares.”

Zulum was accompanied by the Secretary to the State Government, Hon. Bukar Tijjani, Commissioners for Agriculture and Natural Resources, Bawu Musami, Information and Internal Security, Professor Usman Tar, and members of the agric transformation team, among other government officials.

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