The RUGA Policy of the Federal Government has generated uproar across the nation prompting threats of violence from a number of different groups. In this interview, Dr Emmanuel Onucheyo, a veterinary doctor and a specialist in livestock production, tells ONWUKA NZESHI that the controversy was unnecessary as Nigeria had advanced beyond policies like RUGA having embraced cattle ranching many years ago.
What is your view on RUGA, a recent policy of the Federal Government that has generated so much controversy in recent weeks?
Well, my understanding of the policy so far is that the government is eager to establish some kind of agricultural transformation and they are looking at both crops and livestock, particularly cattle. For me as a professional in animal husbandry, if you look at what we had done before, I do not see any reason why we should be having all these controversies. We have come a long way.
The British colonial authorities tried to work on our livestock sector by establishing things like grazing reserves and grazing routes and we actually went through some transformation to the extent that the government introduced ranching which is the modern system for rearing cattle. I thought that having gone that far, we had actually gotten a technical solution to the old system of nomadic pastoralism.
As a young person, even as a young graduate, I used to work on a cattle ranch. This country had reached a situation where there was no longer any need to be going about with animals on the streets or along the roads, looking for grasses and water.
We had also moved beyond where you find some people pursuing a cow on the streets because they want to take it to the abattoir to be slaughtered for the beef market.
Increased population and urbanisation has made things like grazing routes, grazing reserves, cattle colony or RUGA really problematic. I’m sure that the British themselves didn’t want to get into the complications of land use issues, hence they went for the easy solution of grazing reserves and grazing routes.
Modernity and population explosion has made such policies archaic and untenable in the 21st century.
How did this technical solution you spoke about work?
Cattle breeding was supposed to be in the far North; cattle fattening was supposed to be in the Middle Belt where you keep the animals for a short while not exceeding three months. The cows were supposed to be kept in ranches and later slaughtered and moved as beef to the markets across the country.
The ranching option came up because there was need to phase out the nomadic system of cattle rearing.
Even as a fresh graduate, my first job was on a small ranch in Kaduna. We used to call it Kawo Cattle Farm. It was situated around where you now have the Kaduna International Trade Fair.
When I started work there, it was during the drought and we were buying pregnant cows from the cattle breeders and rehabilitating them in the ranch to save the calves when they are delivered.
When I came back from my post graduate programme, I was hired to go to the Mokwa Ranch in Niger State. The ranch was located on 7, 000 hectares of land. It had all the facilities. The Germans ran it as a pilot project of the National Livestock Production Company. There was also another project in Manchock, Kaduna. I was looking after the two projects which also included a piggery in Minna.
There was also the Bauchi Meat Factory and to serve that meat factory, you had the Galambi Ranch which was also located in Bauchi.
The Audu Bako regime set up an abattoir in Kano and the cattle were supposed to come from the Bunkuri Ranch in Kano. There was also a trail ranch at Umuahia in the South East and another at Fashola in the South West. These were small holdings to warehouse cattle brought down to be slaughtered and pushed into the beef market in the South.
In the case of Mokwa, it was a two in one location. It was actually called Mokwa Cattle Ranch and Abattoir because we had modern facilities to slaughter a hundred animals per day in order to produce quality beef for the Nigerian market.
What do you mean by quality beef?
I have had the opportunity to travel to other countries like Argentina where they have ranches and export beef to Europe. When we say quality beef, we mean beef coming from well-fed and healthy cows. You would have provided them with the right pasture; they are fatter and have better meat quality.
You allow them to rest in the evening before taking them to the abattoir to be slaughtered in the morning. It’s not these ones that you force to trek thousands of kilometres in search of food and water. You know our normal meat here is strong and you always need tooth pick after eating it.
The meat from Mokwa was soft because they were well fed and rested before slaughtering. Mokwa was on the railway so we could easily bring in spent grains from the breweries and molasses from Bacita Sugar Company. These feeds made the beef very tender, juicy and tasty. People were rushing for Mokwa Beef at Kingsway Stores in those days.
If you came to Mokwa at that time, all the 3000 animals would be bulls; no females because you were not expected to be breeding cattle there.
Were these nomadic Fulani herdsmen part of this process of modernisation of livestock farming?
They were not part of the process directly because we dealt with major cattle owners located mainly in the cattle markets of Maiduguri, Mubi and other places in the far North. But the government at that time set up the National Animal Production Research Institute (NAPRI) in Zaria to reach out to the nomadic herders and encourage them to adopt modern methods of animal husbandry.
There were ingredients in the NAPRI mandate to support these herders who were mainly of the Fulani ethnic stock. For instance, NAPRI had a Pasture Research and Development Department to produce improved grasses for them. The institute also had a mandate to introduce improved breed of cattle to these nomadic herders. The idea was that instead of these herders carrying a hundred animals to achieve their business targets, with improved breeds of cattle, they may not carry more than fifty animals to achieve the same goal.
In other words with less number of animal, the productivity will even be higher when they introduce improved breeds into their herds.
Where is NAPRI now? Is it still in existence?
It is still in existence. It has the technical solution to the challenges we are facing today.
I am sure that NAPRI has done a lot of research over these years and what we ought to have been doing at this time is making their research findings available to these herders and encouraging them to adopt the innovations and improvements required in modern livestock farming.
Perhaps, our policy makers have chosen to ignore the technical solution and have decided to play politics with this issue.
Are the pilot ranches which you mentioned earlier still in existence?
I can say for Mokwa Ranch because I’ve worked around the area in recent years; that facility is dead completely. Even Manchok Ranch is also dead.
The sad story is that all those facilities, built at huge cost, are no more. In the 1970s while I was there, Mokwa was like the headquarters of agriculture in Northern Nigeria. You had the 7,000-hectare Cattle Ranch and Abattoir and you had the National Grains Production Company, a 4,000 hectare facility producing grains.
There was also the Institute of Agricultural Research (Station) owned by ABU National Cereal Research Institute (Farm) and Savannah Forestry Station. Sadly, all these projects are no longer there.
Why did Nigeria abandon these facilities and allowed the projects to rot away?
I can’t really tell but I think that changes in government policy on agriculture over the years must have led us to this sorry path. I told you that I was an employee of the National Livestock Production Company and to show you that ranching was a policy then, we had subsidiaries of that company.
One of the subsidiaries was the Nigerian Ranches Limited and their business was to set up ranches.
Then there was Nigerian Diaries Limited, a subsidiary of Nigeria Livestock Production Company. I believe that if the policy on ranching had been sustained through these years, we would not have fallen into this so called farmer/herder conflict which is threatening to consume the entire country.
If you were to meet with our policy makers who are promoting the RUGA policy, what would you tell them?
The thing is that we can’t run away from resettling the nomads. We cannot run away from it. But, resettling them where? I think that is the question that our policy makers have not been able to provide a satisfactory answer to. Resetting them, where? If you are going to resettle them, you should resettle them where the environment is conducive even for the kind of agriculture that they practice.
If you want to embark on large scale maize production, do you go to the South? Is that the best place for such a crop? It is the same question we should be asking the policy makers who are pushing that grazing reserves, cattle colonies and RUGA should be taken to the South. Is the South the best place for the cattle?
Of course we are talking of increased agricultural activities in Nigeria but there are particular zones and places suitable for various agricultural activities. Our policy makers ought to look at the appropriate place for cattle. If you ask me, that scheme that was in place in the 70s where cattle breeding took place in the far North is still applicable because if you go to the far North, you have large expanse of land and numerous dams.
All you need to do is to utilize these dams by deploying them for irrigation of the land and planting improved varieties of grasses to feed the cattle in their natural habitat.
NAPRI has developed these improved varieties of grasses and what is left is for the cattle herders to embrace innovations instead of sticking to this old practice of nomadic cattle rearing.
Besides, if we really keep the cattle in their natural environment, we will not only prevent this perennial conflict between herders and farmers but the people in the far north will benefit from the process.
For example, if the herders embrace ranching it will create more business opportunities in the North because these ranches and abattoirs will employ hands to make the system work. The hides and skin business which is the foundation of the leather industry will bounce back. You will also have the blood meal and bone meal factories there and these will generate employment for the local people.
Around 2009, I was the Lead Consultant to the Senate Committee on Agriculture and we were investigating the cause of the food crisis at that time. We toured several agricultural infrastructures in this country. We were looking at the land, dams and silos. I remember at our last port of call in one of the far northern states where the Commissioner for Agriculture was escorting us and we were discussing. I told him that I know that the economy of their state is agrarian but from your own point of view: Is it crop or livestock? He said livestock. Then I asked him, you have the dams and large expanse of land, why are you not tapping into your area of your comparative advantage? Draw the water to the open land, plant your grasses and graze your cattle. You don’t even have to come to the Middle Belt to look for grass because you can grow your grass and feed your cattle, fatten them, slaughter them and retain all these job opportunities there.
If the governments of these far northern states are concerned about their local economy and want to create employment opportunities and generate revenue for their states, they should encourage their people to establish ranches in those states.
The beauty of it is that they can now become major producers and suppliers of beef to the rest parts of Nigeria. Right now, the way things are scattered we don’t know what each state is contributing to the national treasury.
Ordinarily, states such as Borno, Adamawa, Yobe, Katsina, Sokoto and Kano ought to be leaders in cattle breeding and beef production but they have not risen to the occasion.
Don’t you think that the oil boom and Nigeria’s over dependence on petro-dollars is responsible for the reluctance of these states to look inwards?
You know, when people blame it on oil, quite frankly, I think it is more than that. I have been to over 30 countries including Malaysia looking at agricultural projects and practices. Malaysia is in a rain forest region and they decided to utilise their forests for oil palm trees and rubber. They pursued the policy of agro-forestry. It is not as if they do not eat beef but they decided to concentrate on their area of comparative advantage.
Don’t we have oil palm trees here? Where are all our oil palm and rubber plantations? They are in the South East and South South regions and now we want to push our cattle there instead of making the North conducive for the cattle.
The West is known for cocoa and we want to send them cattle and set up RUGA settlements there.
Let the various states in Nigeria identify their specific areas of competence and comparative advantage and develop their productive capacities in such areas. By so doing, they will be creating jobs and contributing their quota to the national treasury.
Some states in Nigeria have their local economies anchored on crop farming. We know that states such as Benue, Plateau and Taraba produce most of the food that we eat because the people there are mainly crop farmers.
When you now insist on grazing cattle on their farms, you are disrupting food production as well as the cultural and economic activities of the people
What’s your final word on the RUGA controversy?
I maintain that there was a technical solution. We should go back to the ranching policy and end this conflict for good. I know ranching requires infrastructure and that is where the governments in those states where cattle rearing is a way of life should step in and make a difference by providing these facilities.
The primary facility is large expanse of land and where else do we have more land in abundance than in the far North? Water is the second most important resource and there are a lot of dams that successive governments have built in the far northern states. They should be put to use.
The moment you start pushing cattle down to the Middle Belt and Southern regions as we are doing now, you create suspicion and avoidable conflict. Land is a very sensitive issue across Nigeria. Even among people from the same community, village or kindred. There have been generational wars over land and we can’t afford to do things that would worsen the situation.
In countries like Zimbabwe and South Africa, we all know of the land disputes there. Why do we want to dabble into sensitive issues like land when we know the implications? Why do we want to set Nigeria on fire? We can still coexist as a heterogeneous country without necessarily disrupting the economy and culture of our neighbours.
It worries me that the various sections of our country are engaged in a heated argument about RUGA and cattle colony while the entire agricultural sector is suffering.
Nigeria has just signed on to the African Continental Free Trade Agreement (ACFTA) but where are the agricultural products we have to offer the rest of Africa? We can’t export our yams or beef because we are not producing them and packaging them in a way that they can be marketable. We have neglected the real issues that can improve our agriculture and we are beating about the bush and fighting ourselves.
Nature has given us our own areas of comparative advantage but we have failed to seize the opportunities available in our country.
Boeing 737 MAX may not return this year – UAE regulator
The head of the United Arab Emirates’ General Civil Aviation Authority said on Sunday he was not optimistic that the Boeing 737 MAX would return to operations this year and that the first quarter of 2020 was more likely.
The 737 MAX has been grounded since March while Boeing updates flight control software at the center of two fatal crashes in Indonesia and Ethiopia that together killed 346 people within a span of five months.
Boeing Co is targeting regulator approval for the fixes in October, though the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration has said it does not have a firm time for the aircraft to be flying again.
The GCAA will conduct its own assessment to allow the MAX to return to UAE airspace, rather than follow the FAA, Director General Said Mohammed al-Suwaidi told reporters in Dubai.
He said the GCAA would look at the FAA decision and that the UAE regulator had so far not seen details of Boeing’s fixes.
The FAA has traditionally taken the lead on certifying Boeing jets, though other regulators have indicated they would conduct their own analysis.
UAE airline flydubai is one of the largest MAX customers, having ordered 250 of the fast-selling narrow-body jets, reports Reuters.
It has not said when it expects the aircraft to be operational again. American Airlines has canceled flights through Dec. 3, United Airlines until Dec. 19 and Southwest Airlines Co into early January.
Gulf of Guinea: A bread basket threatened by piracy
West Africa is seeing significant economic growth, with oil discoveries being made off the coast of countries beyond Nigeria. PAUL OGBUOKIRI, in this report, examines the sustainability of the Gulf of Guinea as the bread basket of 470 million people in 26 countries of West and Central Africa vis-a vis the Global Maritime Security Conference to be hosted by Nigeria in Abuja next month
A bread basket
The Gulf of Guinea is a vast and diverse region stretching from Senegal to Angola, including approximately 6,000km of coastline. The Gulf of Guinea which has a maximum depth of 6,363 meters is an important geo-political choke point for transporting oil extracted in the Niger Delta, as well as goods to and from central and southern Africa.
The Gulf of Guinea is one of the most dynamic regions in the global energy sector and is of critical importance for the economic development of much of the Atlantic Coast of Africa. Revenues derived from hydrocarbons provide many African states in the region with a strong financial base to fund development initiatives.
Also, many of the trade routes connecting Africa with the rest of the world pass through the Gulf of Guinea. This established trade route has for centuries been a corridor for the movement of both legal and illicit goods. In addition, the region is rich in natural resources including hydrocarbon deposits, oil, fish, timber, and mineral resources, which are all globally export.
The Gulf water is important as a stock and flow resource and two examples suffice: Firstly, fishing is a vast industry and source of employment for coastal communities in particular. As a source of protein, the Gulf is a major supplier of food for generally poor societies and thus an important element of food security as far as access and availability are concerned. Secondly, its growing energy stocks located at sea or in the coastal zones represent the bedrock of economic income for several countries.
It is certainly not by coincidence that the waters of the Gulf of Guinea are a special attraction to littoral African states. They are a vast depository of natural resources. From fisheries to hydrocarbons, these resources generate valuable revenue to the 470 million people of the 26 countries grouped in two economic communities. The Gulf of Guinea waters are a serious source of food and employment for these countries and form an important connection to each neighbouring country. The waters of the Gulf of Guinea form an important part of the whole setup of the region including its land component.
Gulf of Guinea piracy
Analysts say piracy and maritime insecurity are some of the symptoms of growing regional insecurity, but the triggers can be attributed to economic deprivation and exclusion, poor governance and limited legitimacy, pollution, natural resources management, as well as the impact of the crisis in the Sahel region.
Although maritime security incidents increased in the Gulf of Guinea, on Africa’s western coast, the same time the Gulf of Aden pricy was a menace, this area did not initially generate the same degree of diplomatic and military response. To an extent, this reflects the decades of neglect of the region’s maritime domain by countries in the region and broader stakeholders.
In recent years, Nigeria has increased political will in combating maritime insecurity in the Gulf of Guinea, as the government aims to strengthen the country’s blue economy and develop Nigeria as a maritime hub for West and Central Africa.
NIMASA in 2017 hosting the G7++ Friends of the Gulf of Guinea met in Lagos to discuss lasting solutions to the menace of piracy on the waterways, even as its interventions led to the establishment of the ECOWAS Integrated Maritime Security Strategy (EIMS) and Inter-Regional Coordination Centre (ICC) in Yaoundé, said Dr Dakuku peterside, director general of NIMASA. He also disclosed that Nigeria played a leading role in the establishment of the African Integrated Maritime Security (AIMS).
At the operational level, he said the agency, through collaboration with the Nigerian Navy in 2012-2013, established “Operation Prosperity”, a security taskforce, among others, which had helped to reduce criminal activities in the region. Other initiatives include the establishment of a legal framework to fight maritime crimes through an anti-piracy bill.
Gulf of Guinea in global oil production
Speaking on the forthcoming security conference, the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) said it will go a long way in addressing security concerns in the maritime domain of the entire Gulf of Guinea.
Secretary-General of OPEC, Mohammed Sanusi Barkindo stated this in a statement to the organising committee of the conference.
Barkindo noted in the statement that the Gulf of Guinea was strategic to the stability of oil production globally. He said the area was a major shipping route and any infraction there would be felt beyond the region.
He said: “The strategic importance of the Gulf of Guinea is undisputed and any disruptions in the area has a direct negative impact on our industry and, indeed, is of global concern. This conference is timely in bringing together the relevant and critical stakeholders to allow them to discuss in a constructive manner what concerted action could be undertaken to ensure the sustainable use and long term security of this important and strategic body of ocean.”
Barkindo said the conference would create renewed confidence in investment in the oil and gas sector in the Gulf of Guinea, with a multiplier effect of addressing the challenges associated with the sector globally.
Maritime security conference
Over the past two years, the states of West and Central Africa have demonstrated commitment to support and protect the development of the blue economy. The 2013 “Declaration of the Heads of State and Government of Central and West African States on Maritime Safety and Security in their Common Maritime Domain” (Yaoundé Code of Conduct) represents a pioneering framework to collaborate, cooperate, and share information.
This conference will provide an opportunity for senior officials from the Gulf of Guinea region to develop strategies to improve maritime safety and security. At the national level, the focus will be on: interagency coordination; cooperative mechanisms between state institutions and private sector stakeholders; and preparedness for potential maritime emergencies. At the regional level, the conference will be an important step in the implementation of the 2013 Yaoundé Code of Conduct.
Speaking on the product, Chairman of Association of African Maritime Authorities (AAMA), Dr Dakuku Dakuku said the conference would provide a platform for stakeholders of all shades to brainstorm and collectively find solutions to the challenge of maritime insecurity in the Gulf of Guinea.
“We shall have a no-holds-barred discussion on security in the Gulf of Guinea at the conference, which promises to be a watershed event in the history of maritime security in Africa and, indeed, the world,” Dakuku stated.
According to him, the summit will also afford the international community an opportunity to tap into the vast investment potentials in the Nigerian maritime industry. These potentials span ship building and repairs, fleet development, ship financing, port infrastructure development, maritime tourism, renewable energy ferry services, seafarer training, research and development, offshore logistics for the country’s oil industry, and aquaculture.
He noted that “the conference will bring together officials from international agencies, governments, donor partners, shipping firms, oil and gas industry, navies and coastguards and maritime regulators across the globe, to discuss the options for tackling security challenges in the Gulf of Guinea, an area which accounts for more than 70 per cent of Africa’s oil and gas production and five per cent of global proven energy reserves”.
The objectives of the conference include defining the precise nature and scope of coordinated regional responses to maritime insecurity, evaluating the relevance of various external interventions and moving towards policy harmonisation and regional cooperation. The conference will also tackle threats to maritime security, strategise alternative approach to prevent cyber security threats and advocate for deeper global commitment to the deployment of resources for ending maritime insecurity within the region in the shortest possible time.
Dakuku said the success of Nigeria in tackling insecurity along its own stretch of the Gulf has been down to robust investment in intelligence and maritime security assets as well as the commitment of the authorities to ending the threats.
These investments made under Nigeria’s Deep Blue Project will see to the acquisition of two special mission aircrafts, three helicopters and unmanned air vehicles. Others are two special mission vessels and 17 interceptor patrol crafts. This is in addition to the land assets which include 16 armoured vehicles and an intervention team of 340 highly trained personnel. The entire project also takes advantage of satellite technology to monitor the Nigeria’s exclusive economic zone and feed real time information to a command and control centre.
He said the Nigerian zone of the Gulf has become relatively free of security threats and is now relatively safe, a position corroborated by the Norwegian ambassador to Nigeria, Jens-Petter Kjemprud.
The ambassador said Nigeria’s tackling of the security issue is so impressive that for more than a year he has not had call for help from Norwegian seafarers plying the route.
With over 70 countries already indicating interest to attend the conference, it is expected that this conference will be an important step in a continuing shift in strategic thinking about harnessing the rich potentials of the African coastal waters.
Dakuku: Nigeria’s maritime reforms attracting foreign investment
he Director-General of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), Dr. Dakuku Peterside, says policies of the Federal Government of Nigeria in the maritime industry are targeted at encouraging Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) into the sector.
Dakuku stated this while addressing delegates at the West African Shipping Summit, a side event of the ongoing London International Shipping Week.
According to him, Nigeria has set up an International Maritime Arbitration Centre in Lagos to facilitate the timely resolution of disputes within the Gulf of Guinea area and significantly reduce the current trend where maritime players in the region head to London, Dubai or Singapore for arbitration on maritime issues.
He assured his audience, which included key players in the global maritime industry, that the reforms in the Nigerian maritime sector were opening up vast opportunities in the industry and invited investors to take advantage of them.
He said: “I believe that the Nigerian maritime environment has the largest potential. With a population of about 200 million, which represents over half of the entire population of West Africa, potentials in shipbuilding and ship repair are available.
“In the next five years, vessels built outside Nigeria will not be allowed to participate in Cabotage trade. So you are all invited to come and invest in the shipbuilding and ship repair industry in Nigeria.”
Dakuku also disclosed that the Nigerian Ship registry was being reformed to make it more attractive by having provisions for both national and international players.
“We are also reforming the Nigerian ship registry. The bigger picture is that over time, we are going to have dual ship registry, which will effectively take care of national interest and international interest. It will make it more dynamic, more responsive and it will be one of the most business-friendly registries in the world,” he said.
CIG Motors opens GAC showroom in Port-Harcourt
IG Motors Co. Limited, authorised distributors and marketers of GAC range of automobiles, last week, inaugurated the Port-Harcourt showroom in realisation of the company’s cardinal objective of intensifying the brand and getting its services closer to its growing customers across the country’s six geo-political zones.
An internationally recognised and award winning automobile brand, GAC Motors made a debut in the passenger car and Sport Utility Vehicle (SUV) segments five years ago, when it launched series of breathtaking Chinese engineered vehicles that apparently increased its share of the keenly competitive Nigeria vehicle market.
Currently adjudged one of the leading Chinese vehicles in Nigeria, GAC seeks to pointedly grow its share of the automobile market, promising to woo oil majors and servicing companies in the Niger Delta region just as the South-South region joins the growing lists of emerging GAC showrooms in Nigeria.
Already, GAC Motors ranks among choice automobiles of the Nigeria Police and other renowned establishments such as the Dangote Enterprise.
Group Managing Director CIG Motors Co. Ltd., Parvir Singh, who gave these hints at the inauguration of the Port-Harcourt showroom said: “The desire to always enhance customers’ experience, while helping vehicle enthusiasts optimize the value of their GAC vehicles influenced the inauguration of the Port-Harcourt showroom.
“We will continue to champion the development of GAC showrooms across the country’s geo-political zones.”
He described GAC range of vehicles as remarkable and superbly engineered automobiles with unprecedented premium features that could turn heads.
Hordes of company executives and representatives of oil companies witnessed the unveiling ceremony of the GAC showroom, where an on-the-sport 10 percent discount was extended to willing customers to initiate purchases.
The GAC director also said that the opening of the Port-Harcourt GAC showroom/service centre would further help customers optimize the value of the brand and make value-driven decisions.
He said: “At GAC Motors, we understand the growing need for customer-dealer relationship and we won’t stop at doinganything possible to make owning and driving GAC vehicles a cinch.”
All the GAC range of passenger cars and sport utility vehicles including the latest GS8 were showcased at the event that drew the applause of visiting admirers.
PZ opens entries for Cussons Baby Moments Season 6
ussons Baby, one of the foremost brands in the baby toiletries category in Africa, has announced the kickoff of yet another season of its titular baby competition in Nigeria – Cussons Baby Moments. The leading brand, manufactured by PZ Cussons, announced the commencement of the popular family competition’s sixth edition on September 12, 2019, at a press briefing at the company headquarters in Ilupeju, Lagos.
With the new season comes a few changes to the competition such as a new panel of judges including fast-rising Nollywood actor, Deyemi Okanlawon; veteran actress, Ufuoma McDermott; and food and lifestyle blogger, Yemisi Odusanya, popularly known as ‘Sisi Yemmie’.
The mechanics of the competition have also been reviewed so as to reduce the stress on the participants, and the competition will now allow for multiple entries, giving every entrant many chances to be shortlisted for the voting stages. Furthermore, the voting stages will be hosted on an independent voting site to avoid any hitches; and entrants now stand a chance to earn weekly rewards during the call-to-entry stage. The theme of this year’s competition tagged ‘Sharing Magic Memories’ emphasizing the need ‘to celebrate and share special moments between babies and their families’.
The press conference also presented an opportunity for the brand to announce the relaunch of its new Cussons Baby Gift Pack which will be hitting the stands next month and contains all the brand’s products, essential for newborn babies.
According to the Brand Manager, Cussons Baby, Oluwabusayo John, the Cussons Baby gift pack has been revamped and contains differentiated products that “gently care and protect various baby skin types,” meeting the gifting needs of Nigerians as “gifting a new born is part of the Nigerian culture.”
The Cussons Baby Moments (CBM) competition, which celebrated its 5th anniversary in 2017 witnessed one of the highest entries in the competition’s history, and subsequently took a break in 2018, returning this year revamped to give participants more opportunities and even greater value. The winner of the competition will be awarded at the grand finale and will receive a cash prize of N1, 000, 000. The second-runners up will win N750, 000 and the third-runners up will win N500, 000. All three will also be awarded with a year’s supply of Cussons Baby products.
To enter for the competition, interested participants are required to “purchase the Cussons Baby gift pack, register and upload a picture of their baby with the Cussons Baby Gift Pack, and submit the picture on the Photo Uploader App; and then get loved ones to vote for the baby’s picture if eventually shortlisted.”
The competition is only open to babies within the ages of 0 – 24 months. Entry opens on September 13, 2019 and closes October 19, 2019. Entrants have also been advised to familiarize themselves with the terms and conditions of the competition available on the website’s entry page.
Brand and Activation Manager, Cussons Baby, Oluwabusayo John expressed her excitement at the prospect of the competition’s 6th edition.
Customs appoint new ACG
usuf Bashar, a Comptroller of Customs has been promoted to the rank of Acting Assistant Comptroller General (ACG).
Confirming this to our reporter, Joseph Attah, Customs Public Relations Officer, said Bashar will be in charge of the Information Communication Technology – Modernisation Unit of the service headquarters.
Attah said: “Bashar is taking over from Benjamin Aber, an Assistant Comptroller General who is proceeding on retirement.”
Bashar, who has close to two decades experience in the heart of Customs ICT operations from stages of Automated System for Customs Data (ASYCUDA) , ASYCUDA ++, Pre Arrival Assessment Report (PAAR) and ongoing Nigeria Customs Information System ( NICIS), was a Comptroller in the PAAR Ruling Centre .
He had served as Customs Area Controller of Tin Can Island Port between 2016 and 2018 and earned four commendation letters from the Controller General of Customs, Col Hameed Ali for various outstanding feats.
He achieved increased revenue collection, strict anti- smuggling enforcement, trade facilitation and promoted ease of doing lawful business without compromising national security.
This earned the command, under him, an award from the World Customs Organisation (WCO)
Under his watch, Tin Can Customs deployed ICT cargo profiling that resulted in the discovery of concealed pump action rifles at different times totaling 2010 various units of weaponry and several illicit drugs imports intercepted during his time at the command.
New Land Rover Defender dubts
his is the new Land Rover Defender. An icon reimagined for the 21stcentury, it is clever, capable and safe for all the family, and in a category of its own. New Defender is built for adventurous hearts and curious minds, for those who know the value of community and strive to make a difference.
The unmistakable silhouette is familiar yet new. It looks tough and is tough but designed with purpose and engineered to excite. Iconic in name, shape and capability, Defender can be personalised to allow owners to make the most of their world.
Across seven decades of pioneering innovation, Land Rovers have earned a unique place in the hearts of explorers, humanitarian agencies and adventurous families across the world. Proven in the harshest environments on earth, the new Defender maintains this bloodline.
Beside the peerless luxury and refinement of the Range Rover family and the highly capable and versatile Discovery SUVs, new Defender completes the Land Rover dynasty. The 110 is just the start for this family of the most capable and durable 4x4s in the world. It will be swiftly followed by a short wheelbase 90 in 2020.
Driven by a passion and respect for the original, new Defender delivers transformational breadth of capability. Advanced all-terrain technologies redefine adventure for the 21stcentury, remaining true to the pioneering spirit that has been a Land Rover hallmark for 71 years.
Emotionally charged design
A distinctive silhouette makes the new Defender instantly recognisable, with minimal front and rear overhangs providing excellent approach and departure angles. Land Rover’s designers re-envisioned familiar Defender trademarks for the 21st century, giving the new 4×4 a purposeful upright stance and Alpine light windows in the roof, while retaining the side-hinged rear tailgate and externally-mounted spare wheel that make the original so identifiable.
Gerry McGovern, Chief Design Officer, Land Rover, said: “We have created the new Defender to ensure it is ready for anything, with a design that has been inspired by the past, not constrained by it. Its elemental grille, sophisticated surfacing and commanding stance give the entire family a modernity and confidence that set it apart, while simultaneously retaining the essential elements that make a Defender so recognisable.”
The stripped-back personality of the original Defender has been embraced inside, where structural elements and fixings usually hidden from view have been exposed, with the emphasis on simplicity and practicality. Innovative features include a dash-mounted gear shifter to accommodate an optional central front ‘jump’ seat, which provides three-abreast seating across the front like early Land Rovers.
As a result, the Defender 110 offers five, six or 5+2 seating configurations, with a loadspace behind the second-row seats of up to 1,075 litres, and as much as 2,380-litres when the second row is folded. The Defender 90 will be able to accommodate six occupants in a vehicle the length of a compact family hatchback.
User-friendly features include practical touches and advanced technological innovations. Durable rubberised flooring shrugs off the spills of daily adventures and once-in-a-lifetime expeditions, providing a brush or wipe clean interior.
The definition of durability
Land Rover’s new purpose-engineered D7x (for extreme) architecture is based on a lightweight aluminium monocoque construction to create the stiffest body structure Land Rover has ever produced. It is three times stiffer than traditional body-on-frame designs, providing perfect foundations for the fully independent air or coil sprung suspension and supports the latest electrified powertrains.
The new Defender has been through more than 62,000 tests for engineering sign-off, while the chassis and body architecture have been engineered to withstand Land Rover’s Extreme Event Test procedure – repeated and sustained impacts, above and beyond the normal standard for SUV and passenger cars.
During development testing, prototype models have covered millions of kilometres across some of the harshest environments on earth, ranging from the 50-degree heat of the desert and sub 40-degree cold of the Arctic to altitudes of 10,000ft in the Rocky Mountains in Colorado.
A world-class expert off and on-road
A transformational breadth of capability sets new Defender apart. Permanent all-wheel drive and a twin-speed automatic gearbox, centre differential and optional Active Locking Rear Differential ensure it has all the hardware required to excel in the soft sand of the desert, the freezing tundra of the arctic and everywhere in between.
Configurable Terrain Response debuts on new Defender, allowing experienced off-roaders to fine-tune individual vehicle settings to perfectly suit the conditions, while inexperienced drivers can let the system detect the most appropriate vehicle settings for the terrain, using the intelligent Auto function.
The new body architecture provides ground clearance of 291mm and world-class off-road geometry, giving the 110 approach, breakover and departure angles of 38, 28 and 40 degrees (Off Road height) respectively. Its maximum wading depth of 900mm is supported by a new Wade programme in the Terrain Response 2 system, which ensures drivers can ford deep water with complete confidence.
On dry land, Land Rover’s advanced ClearSight Ground View technology helps drivers take full advantage of Defender’s all-conquering capability by showing the area usually hidden by the bonnet, directly ahead of the front wheels, on the central touchscreen.
As a result, the new Defender redefines breadth of capability, raising the threshold for both off-road ruggedness and on-road comfort. It can negotiate crowded city streets as effortlessly as climbing mountains, crossing deserts and withstanding freezing temperatures. Its carefully honed handling delivers both a rewarding drive and first-class long-haul comfort across all terrains.
21st century technology
New Defender is as technologically advanced as it is durable. It introduces Jaguar Land Rover’s new Pivi Pro infotainment system. The next generation touchscreen is more intuitive and user-friendly, requiring fewer inputs to perform frequently used tasks, while its always-on design guarantees almost instant responses.
Nick Rogers, Executive Director, Product Engineering, Jaguar Land Rover, said: “We’ve embraced Defender’s stunning capability and minimalistic, functional interior to reinvent the icon for the 21st century. New Defender gives us the licence to do things differently, to push the boundaries and do the unthinkable, without ever losing the character and authenticity of the original. From the start we had an absolute obsession with functionality beneath the skin, from choosing the right materials through to state of the art connectivity. The result is not only the most capable Land Rover ever made, but also a truly comfortable, modern vehicle that people will love to drive.”
Auto dealer puts smiles on hospital patients
The Chief Executive Officer of H O Agboola Autos, Lagos, Mr Agboola Olarenwaju Hakeem has put smiles on the faces of 30 patients at the hospital, in commemoration of his 45th birthday.
“I feel excited that today marks my birthday and being here at Lagos Island General Hospital, Marina, to pay a courtesy visit and give a token to those who are in need of assistance. I thank God for His grace upon my life to mark another year in the land of living,” he said.
He said he decided to have a low key birthday and opted to celebrate the occasion with those on their sick beds in the hospital and pray to Almighty God to give them sound recovery to because he believes that being alive and healthy is by the grace of God.
“Okoro”, as he’s fondly called by friends, demonstrated the human side in him by the gesture which went a long way in helping those in need. Some of the beneficiaries, who received Hakeem’s financial support in defraying their medical expenses, wished him many happy returns for remembering them on his birthday and prayed to God to continue to bless and protect him.
Ethiopian Airlines’ revenue jumps with rise in passenger numbers
Ethiopian Airlines saw a big rise in its operating revenue in the year to the end of June, as a surge in passenger numbers helped to offset the impact of higher fuel costs, the carrier told Reuters on Friday.
Africa’s biggest airline said operating revenue rose 17 percent in dollar terms while passenger numbers were up 14 percent.
In March, one of the airline’s Boeing planes crashed a few minutes after take-off from Bole airport in Addis Ababa en-route to Nairobi, killing all 157 people on board.
“In one of the most challenging years, we managed to continue our fast, profitable and sustainable growth,” the airline told Reuters, sharing its preliminary results for the period.
The full set of results is expected in the next two weeks, the company said.
It flew 12.1 million passengers during the period, helping to cushion an increase in fuel costs of about 25 percent, the airline said.
Planes were three quarters full on average, a key performance measure for the industry.
Ethiopian said it offered 13% more flight seats per kilometre during the reporting period.
BA begins cancelling hundreds of flights ahead of further strike action
British Airways has begun cancelling hundreds of flights ahead of the next strike by pilots on September 27.
Tens of thousands of BA passengers are expected to be hit by the disruption which follows a two-day strike on Monday and Tuesday this week when 1,700 flights were cancelled affecting 195,000 people.
British Airways has offered a pay rise of 11.5% over three years, which it says would boost the pay of some captains to £200,000, but Balpa says its members want a bigger share of the company’s profits.
Both sides have said they want to resume talks, but there is little sign of the deadlock being broken.
The airline began contacting affected passengers on Thursday afternoon, 15 days ahead of the strike.
Under EU law, passengers are only entitled to compensation if they receive less than 14 days’ notice of a cancellation.
Balpa said it “set a gap between the first and second periods of strike action to give BA time to work with us to settle this dispute with their pilots”.
“We had today been exchanging new ideas to do that via Acas (the independent arbitration service) and so it’s irresponsible and inconsiderate to its customers that BA has pulled out and decided to start cancelling flights now, just to save money on compensation.”
A spokeswoman for BA said: “We have put forward new ideas through Acas this week and have called on Balpa to meet us face to face as soon as possible to return to negotiations.
“However, we need to give our customers certainty, so we have contacted all those affected by the union’s strike on September 27.”
When BA cancelled flights ahead of this week’s walkout, many passengers complained about difficulties contacting the airline, while some were sent cancellation emails in error, reports Sky News.
The airline said it had added extra staff to its customer relations teams and had up to 900 people answering phones at peak times.
During last week’s 48-hour warning strike, BA flights out of Abuja and Lagos were also affected with the planes grounded at both airports.
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