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Is Ngor Okpala strategic to Imo’s industrial Growth?

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Ngor Okpala- in Owerri senatorial zone, is one of the largest local governments in Imo State/Nigeria. The local government has a rich political history, with an estimated current population of over 300,000 people. It also has huge oil and gas potentials and is endowed with a large expanse of land.

Yes, the local government is strategic to Imo State’s industrial growth and truly has the capacity to become an industrial/agricultural hub of Imo State. However, certain strategic conditions are required:

First, the roads and basic infrastructures in Ngor Okpala, are in very poor conditions. There is a need to commence the urgent construction and rehabilitation of key roads in Ngor Okpala to improve the ease of doing business in the area and the movement of agricultural products across and outside the communities in the local government.

Some, of the roads – which demand immediate attention are the Ulakwo- Imerienwe- Umuekwene Road, the Okpala- Eziamma- Alulu- Amala Road, the Imerienwe- Umuokoro Road, the Eke Obiangwu- Umuolulu- Umuoye Enyiogugu Road, the Ulakwo/ Nguru/Umuneke/Eziama Road, etc.

Again, the local government is endowed with fertile landmass, and to that extent, has significant comparative advantages/potentials in the areas of farming/agriculture and food production.

To this extent, the construction of integrated agricultural facilities possibly, along the banks of Uramurukwa River- around Ulakwo/Imerienwe, etc. axis and along the Umuekwene- Etche Road axis would be pertinent in delivering value to the communities, the local government, and the State.

The integrated agricultural facilities could be in the areas of snail farming, piggery farming, oil palm production, livestock farming, cassava farming, plantain/banana farming, and other cash crops- using both traditional methods and new technologies to enhance output and productivity.

The facilities would employ thousands of young men/women and would redefine Ngor- Okpala as ‘the food basket’ of Imo State, as well as, open up the rural economies of the local government.

Third, there is an urgent need to construct, modern Agricultural Produce Markets (APMS), possibly along Umuowa – Imo Airport and other strategic axes.

 The Agricultural Produce Markets would serve as focal points for the buying and selling of agricultural products produced in the rural communities of the local government, and other neighboring local governments such as Owerri West, and Aboh Mbaise local government.

The markets would connect farmers with off-takers, deepen competitiveness among producers, and stimulate economic/trade activities within the local government.

Furthermore, the markets (APMS) would generate local employment opportunities for the communities, as well as increase the revenue potentials of the local government and that of Imo State Government in general.

Fourth- the huge land acquired, by the state government, around Amala/Eziamma communities in Ngor Okpala, should be developed as an industrial cluster as a matter of urgency.

This project- which had been abandoned for many years, by successive state governments, should be revisited and possibly funded under an investment option – that would require minimal cash- outlay from the state government.

These key strategic steps, in addition to the renovation of health centers/facilities and public schools across the local government would help to strategically position Ngor Okpala, in the economic calculus of Imo State.

Note: Parts of this write up were drawn from the submissions of an Economic Forum- of which I was a member and the Secretary.

Chijioke Churuba is the Managing Consultant/CEO – Sprog Consulting Limited.

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Farmers/Herders clash: “pass anti-grazing bill”, SDP advises state government.

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The Social Democratic Party (SDP) has advised State governments to pass the Anti-Grazing Bill into Law to tackle the constant farmers/herders conflicts across Nigeria.

The Party’s National Publicity Secretary, Mr Alfa Mohammed, gave the advice in a statement in Abuja on Tuesday.

Also he urged the state governors to set up Ministries of Internal Security and Conflict Resolution to deal with the activities of aliens in states.

In his words, “It is high time the [governors] start taking bold steps toward securing the lives of their citizens who are being kidnapped, raped, maimed or killed on a daily basis by marauding Fulani herdsmen who are mostly foreigners.

“The governors must remind themselves that the 1999 Constitution makes security and welfare of the people the primary purpose of their governments and confers upon them Chief security officers of their various states.

“This makes them accountable for security lapses suffered by their subjects in their various states.”

Also Read:Fulani Herdsmen Ultimatum: Sunday Ighoho responds to his arrest order by Presidency

Mohammed also added, “The Governors’ Forum should set up an investigative panel to investigate, among other things those who are responsible for the unrestrained influx of foreign bandits and herdsmen into Nigeria in the last 6 years.

“So that any ethnic leader who’s found to be aiding criminality among his people can be replaced and prosecuted.”

Mohammed also lauded state governments who have taken bold steps to establish their local security outfits and pass the Anti-Open Grazing Bill.

Recall that some states, for instance Oyo and Benue, have passed the Bill into law already.

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Business

CBN lending rate still at 11.5%

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The Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, Godwin Emefiele has disclosed that CBN will retain her Monetary Policy Rate at 11.5 per cent.

This was disclosed in Abuja, after a two-day meeting held by the Monetary Policy Committee on Tuesday.

It also retained the Cash Reserve Ratio – CRR and Liquidity Ratio – LR at 27.5 percent and 30 percent respectively.

These rates are the rates the Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) maintained at its last meeting in November, 2020

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Okigwe Senate: Chikwem Onuoha Again assures Effective Representation, Consults With IMC, Councilors

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Buhari appoints new Service Chief – Femi Adesina

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Following the clamour to replace the Service chiefs that had been appointed by the president since 2015, The President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.) has responded by accepting the resignation of the service chiefs.

Read Also: Buhari Approves Acting DG for NDE Against Senate’s Position

This was disclosed in a statement titled, ‘President Buhari appoints new service chiefs, read by the Special adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Femi Adesina.

It read, “President Muhammadu Buhari has accepted the immediate resignation of the Service Chiefs, and their retirement from service“.

Those involved are:

  1. Chief of Defence  –  Staff, General Abayomi Olonisakin
  2. Chief of Army Staff – Lt-Gen. Tukur Buratai
  3. Chief of Naval Staff – Vice Admiral Ibok Ekwe Ibas
  4. Chief of Air Staff, Air Marshal Sadique Abubakar.

Read Also:  Stop Buhari from selling national assets, National Assembly urged

The new Service chiefs are:

  1. Major-General Leo Irabor –  Chief of Defence Staff
  2. Major-General I. Attahiru – Chief of Army Staff
  3. Rear Admiral A.Z Gambo – Chief of Naval Staff
  4. Air-Vice Marshal I.O Amao –  Chief of Air Staff.

“President Buhari thanks the outgoing Service Chiefs for what he calls their ‘overwhelming achievements in our efforts at bringing enduring peace to our dear country,’ wishing them well in their future endeavours

“The President congratulates the new Service Chiefs, and urges them to be loyal and dedicated in the discharge of their responsibilities.”

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