By Francesca Iwambe.
The Ghanaian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration has said it is not aware of any threat targeted at its nationals living in Nigeria’s Federal Capital Territory in Abuja
The statement said: “The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration wishes to refer to the travel advisory published this evening, Wednesday 16th November, 2022 advising against non-essential travel to Abuja and wishes to state that the statement was unauthorized”.
“The Ministry is not aware of any threat targeted at Ghanaians who continue to live in harmony with their Nigerian brothers and sisters.
“The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration regrets any inconvenience this may have caused to the travelling public,” the statement added.
It would be recalled that The United States and the United Kingdom had in October warned of possible terror attacks in Abuja, especially at government buildings, places of worship, schools and other centres where large crowds gather.
Both countries also commenced the evacuation of their citizens from the Nigerian political capital.
However, Nigerian Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed dismissed the terror alerts, saying the government won’t be stampeded and that Nigeria is safer than in May 2015 when President Muhammadu Buhari came into office.
Countries in Sub-Region Yet to meet 10% Budgetary Allocation for Agriculture – Coalition
By Gloria Ikibah.
A coalition of Civil Society Organizations CSOs, have said most countries in the sub-region have not come up to the benchmark of increasing the Budgetary allocation for Agriculture to 10 percent towards achieving the Sustainable development Goals for 2030.
President, Farmers Union of Liberia and 1st Vice President of the Roppa Monrovia-Liberia, Josephine George Francis, stated this at the delocalized meeting of the Joint Committee on Agriculture, Environment and Natural Resources/ Infrastructure/ Energy and Mines/ Industry and Private Sector in Bissau, Capital of Guinea Bissau on Wednesday.
According to Francis, more is expected from MPs in addressing the challenges of Agriculture in the sub-region.
She therefore called on Parliament of the Economic Community of West African States Commission (ECOWAS), to legislate policies that will improve political will to making Agriculture more sustainable in Africa; while maintaining that Agriculture is a business and there is need to grow food to feed the population.
She said Agriculture can create millions of employment for Africans, so the need for the Political Will that will not only end at drafting policies but that will ensure that the policies are well implemented.
Francis said, “Agriculture is a business and we need to grow food to feed our population.
“So, our government in the region especially in West Africa have to increase the budget.
“We also have the sustainable development goal for 2030 and most countries have not come up to the benchmark of increasing the budget to 10% for Agriculture.
“Agriculture is a major employment for millions of Africans, so the political will have to be there, not only the policies are written but implementation of the policies.
“Until we can do that, you know now with the climate change, the coronavirus, the war in Russia, Over 6 billion of our money went back to Russia and Ukraine for ore and wheat.
“We can grow it here, let’s start the investment in our research institution, let’s start the investment in our best to get private sector, the entire value chain to grow agriculture”.
President, Farmers Union of Liberia, expressed displeasure over the difficulty faced by women and youths in getting lands for farming in some countries; said urged the government to provide interventions to help women and youths especially those interested in farming.
She also wants MPs to develop ideas that will aid investment in agriculture as well as ensuring increased budgetary allocation to the sector.
“Access to land is very difficult, women willing to buy land but they don’t have money.
“How can they get money to purchase land, that’s another political will. Help the women in different clans to have lands, help the youths to have land, making agriculture attractive to them and they will be able to invest.
“And parliament they have the agriculture committee and they have the oversight of agriculture development and they have the oversight of the ministry of agriculture, so they all need to come to the table to start talk about investment in agriculture. They are the decision makers and who are the farmers, who are the rural people, they are the constituents they are living and drowning and dying in poverty. Where is the balance? So they need to be told that the Civil Society are saying you need to make sure that Agriculture is an opportunity for employment and your constituencies are living in poverty so make sure we strengthen the policies, make sure the budgets are increase so our young people and women can be able to have a sustainable liveliness to the family”, she said.
Speaking Buba Khan from the Parliamentarians for Climate Change, tasked MPs to see climate change as a reality, which is causing a lot of emergencies around the world already.
He said lawmakers need to ensure that leaders do not only attend summits on climate change but policy is well implemented.
He said, “We all know that climate change is a reality, it’s causing a lot of emergencies already and if no decisive action is taking, our continent and the world at large will be suffering so that’s why we felt parliamentarians have a say.
They can come together use their policy muscles to be to develop far reaching policies that could be implemented at the national levels.
This has been happening at the global level, about 19 parliamentarians came together and say there needs to be forum of parliamentarians so that they can work together because climate change has no boundaries, it doesn’t care whether you are rich or poor. The impact is felt by everybody and everybody is concerned that they need to come together to be able to take action in order to stop the climate from changing because the IFCC agreement around temperature increase is at 1.5 but currently is there 1 degree rise in temperature already that is causing a lot of havoc. We have seen hurricanes, we have seen drought, we have seen flood, we have seen the erratic nature of rainfall, we have seen human being been affected through humanitarian crisis.
We felt so much of rhetoric, we need some action. World leaders will meet and come back with decisions they will not implement”.
He also wants Africans to harness other sources of energy.
“If for anything we want to think that fossil fuel what we say they are is something that is dug from the ground, is it the oil, or the gas or the coal. Currently we can say is cause for Africa, because it is source of war, source of terrorism, source of everything and coupled with that we also see climate change, why don’t we think renewable energy. Europe and other countries are going for electrical cars, they are going for renewable energy, solar, windmill, others. We are still depending on generators, we are depending on things that are not sustainable that are causing our environment to deteriorate.
“And that’s why we need them to join the forum so that they can work together with other parliamentarian around the world to take the world leaders into account.
“This is about accountability because you can’t keep going to meeting and after that meeting nothing happens and its tax payers’ money that is taking them there. So, what are we doing as Africans towards that, our people need not going there but if they do they should take action, decisive actions”, he said.
ECOWAS Parliament: Speaker Tunis Advocates Improved Budgetary Allocation In Agriculture
By Gloria Ikibah.
The Speaker of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) Parliament, Hon. Sidie Mohamed Tunis, has said that an improved budgetary allocation in agriculture will help address the challenges of Food security presently been witnessed by citizens of the sub-region.
The Speaker Tunis stated this on Tuesday at the opening of the Delocalised Meeting of the Joint Committee on Agriculture, Environment and Natural Resources/ Infrastructure/ Energy and Mines/ Industry and Private Sector in Bissau, Capital of Guinea Bissau.
The speaker who represented by the Second Deputy Speaker of the parliament, Malam Sani Chaibou Boucary, said the meeting will improve food security when the budget to the sector improves.
According to Tunis, terrorism in the sub-region as well as the war in Europe is negatively affecting the people of the region, and so he wants participants to come up with recommendations to save the ECOWAS states.
He said, “The implementation of the committee commitment in the area of environment is a major concern which is set in the affairs of the institution and the enhancement of powers of parliament has enabled to oversight on the activities of different members of the community, therefore the parliament through its joint committee is important that the understand the dynamics of agriculture and to have an annual review of agriculture produce and issues of food security in our region so that we can facilitate and improve our budget in this area.
“I called upon the joint committee to attentively listen to the presentations to be done by ECOWAS commission, the resource persons and the ministry responsible for environment and agriculture issues in Guinea Bissau and that will give us an overview of the experience in total and I urge them to work in harness in order to come up with complete recommendation which we really to improve agricultural productivity in the region and to strengthened resilient of communities as they are besieged by the climate change”.
In his remark, the President of the ECOWAS Commission, Dr Omar Alieu Touray, applauded the parliament for the initiative and added that the focus will address major issues confronting the people of the sub-region.
Represented by the Commissioner, Economic Affairs and Agriculture, Massandje Toure-Litse, the president said erosion is increasing in the sub-region thereby causing food insecurity among other challenges and making life difficult for the populace.
He therefore implored participants to come up with workable recommendations that will help address the identified issues for a better ECOWAS.
“The topic of the joint meeting of the ECOWAS commission is perfectly aligned. We will bear in mind and we want to talk to you in more details manner during this session on the environmental policies of the ECOWAS and strategies to be developed as well as the biennial review as well as food security in ECOWAS member state.
“May I remind henceforth that the climate strategy was adopted in June 22 in Accra by the Assemblies of Heads of States in addition President of Ghana, Nana Akufo-Addo was appointed by his pairs as the champion of all the fights against climate change.
“We want you to espouse the states regarding adaptation of climate change to ensure clamouring food security.
Our vision is to construct a community of people who are fully integrated living in strategy peace and benefitting from all their fundamental rights and especially the right to clean environment and to have quantitative and qualitative good food”, he said.
Parliamentarians Meet In Bissau to Discuss Environmental Policy, Climate Strategy, agricultural production, food security
By Gloria Ikibah.
The Fifth Legislature of the Economic Community of West African State (ECOWAS) Parliament , has begun a delocalized meeting of its Joint Committee on Agriculture, Environment and Natural Resources/ Infrastructure/ Energy and Mines/ Industry and Private Sector in Bissau, Capital of Guinea Bissau.
The theme for the meeting is, “A critical look at the ECOWAS Environmental Policy and Climate Strategy, as well as a biennial review of the agricultural production, food and nutritional security in Member States”.
Co-Chair of the Joint Committee, Hon. Samson Ahi, who spoke extensively on the importance of the meeting, calls for active participation by members of Parliament.
According to him, this meeting is due to the current challenges the sub+region is faced with which includes: security, health, economic and climate crisis.
Hon. Ahi reiterated that droughts, floods and coastal erosion which are amongst the adverse effects of climate change are adversely impacting the sub-region, hence the need for immediate solutions to address them.
He said: “In fact, our region is dealing with both security, health, economic and climate crises. This last aspect, which is essentially linked to climate change, remains of great concern to us because the West African sub region is mainly an agricultural zone. Consequently, the hazards and adverse effects of climate change including, amongst others, the recurrent droughts, floods and coastal erosion have clear impact on the agricultural performance and food security in our countries.
“Hence, if we are not careful, these negative factors could permanently jeopardise our gains and frustrate our goals and dreams as contained in the newly adopted ECOWAS Vision 2050”.
He maintained that the meeting shall be paying great attention to presentations by resource persons from the ECOWAS Commission and invited experts so that the meeting will achieve its aims and objectives.
He said: “Given the importance of the issues at the core of our agenda, we shall be paying great attention to presentations by resource persons from the ECOWAS Commission and Specialised Agencies of the Community, as well as the invited experts.
“I sincerely hope that our meeting will result in relevant and concrete recommendations reflecting the need for Parliamentarians to contribute to all ECOWAS efforts and actions targeted at tackling the effects of climate change and improving agricultural production in the region.
“For this reason, I urge my colleagues to participate actively in the deliberations and enrich the discussions with a view to identifying new avenues to explore in order to ensure sustainable support for both the environmental strategy and the regional agricultural policy”, he said.
The Head of Guinea Bissau Delegation to ECOWAS Parliament, Hon. Califa Seidi, applauded the parliament for bringing the meeting to Bissau and re-echoed the importance of the focus.
According to Seidi, half of the population in the region is living below poverty lines as a result of food insecurity occasioned by climate change.
He however charged all to endeavour to make Agriculture more sustainable.
“There is need for scientific methodology which is aimed at making agriculture more sustainable and within the framework of environmental friendly processes.
“We sincerely hope that this working days will be productive and that we’ll have the opportunity to work with ECOWAS in a bid to have further information on policies and programmes that have been implemented in ECOWAS region”, he stated.
Declaring open the meeting, Speaker of the Guinea Bissau Parliament, Hon. Cipriano Cassama said the theme shows the importance of the focus to the development of the sub-region.
He stressed the need to have a greater balance in defending the Eco-System in the face of climate change.
According to him, nature has given Africa the best environmental condition to prosper with fertile Agricultural lands but the advent of industrialization with its negative effects should be looked into.
He said: “the central theme of this delocalized meeting shows the very importance that climatic and agro-logical considerations have for our communities and in particular the 2050 vision which shows how much countries cooperate in the area of environmental affairs and drought environmental matters, natural disaster which affect humanity in general and in particular us Africans. Our responsible therefore in the face of such catastrophes is cross cutting and for us citizens and MPs this is crucial”.
He also called on the parliament to come up with legislations that will aid free, fair and transparent elections in the sub-region.
“And in particular, I will like to seize opportunity Mr. Vice Chair and Madam Commissioner, ladies and gentlemen parliamentarians to re-activate our condition that our representation in ECOWAS ought to integrate that policy decision on free and fair and transparent elections and citizens of all of our country should embrace that legitimacy within ECOWAS”, he said.
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