Anambra Youths Protest Move To Scrap SARS

Following the call by some groups to scrap the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS), more than 2,000 youths on Monday took to the major roads in Awka, Anambra State capital, in a peaceful protest.

The group, under the aegis of Concerned Anambra Citizens and Non-Indigenes, drawn from various parts of the state, converged at the entrance gate of the SARS office in Awkuzu, Oyi Local Government Area of the state.

The protesters displayed placards with various inscriptions which read, “Removal of SARS, an invitation to kidnapping, robbery”, “We want crime-free Christmas and New Year”, “Let SARS be”, etc.

Addressing newsmen, the convener, and the Special Assistant to the state Governor on Political Matters, Okafor Emeka, said the protest was embarked on to drive home their demands on the consequences of scrapping the security unit.

While stating that any attempt to scrap SARS would amount to return of all forms of crimes and criminality in the state, he attributed the relative peace existing in the state to the active and aggressive operations of that arm of the police force.

On his part, the Police Community Relations Committee, Chief Francis Ezenwankwo said those calling for the scraping of the unit had selfish and ulterior motives, and called on them to have a rethink.

He however acknowledged that the officials of the unit might have their shortcomings, but insisted that rather than scrap the unit, they should be reformed and repositioned for better service delivery.

His words: “We have a system where erring officers are disciplined, including redeployment, training and retraining to bring out the best from them.”

The Governor’s aide, who later handed over the letter written to the Inspector General of Police by the group to the state Commissioner of Police, Garba Umar, pleaded with the IGP to use his good offices to ensure that SARS remained in the state.

According to him, refusal to heed their call would compel the group to carry the protest to the police headquarters in Abuja.

In his response, the Deputy Commissioner of Police, Chris Owolabi, who represented by the Commissioner of Police, commended the group for their peaceful conduct, promising that their message would be delivered appropriately

First African Youth Agribusiness Forum Held In Nigeria

For the first time, Youth from all over Africa came together for the African Youth Agripreneurs (AYA) Forum held in Ibadan, Nigeria. The forum provided an opportunity for the youth to show their skills, creativity, and innovativeness in agribusiness, and also relate with other youths, development partners, and stakeholders in the sector.

The forum, hosted by the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA) at its headquarters, was organized by the African Development Bank (AfDB) in collaboration with IITA, the Technical Centre for Agricultural and Rural Cooperation (CTA), the Africa Agribusiness Incubation Network (AAIN), and Africa 2.0. The forum served as a platform for aggregating agripreneurs across Africa and escalating the impact of their activities on agriculture and development in the continent.

The Forum targets over 200 youths in Africa who are active in agribusiness or the agriculture sector or related value chains; who are promoting their own innovation for increased production and marketing; who are currently members in a youth network or association, and possess skills to share and disseminate agribusiness information and knowledge; and who have the potential of being a youth mentor and/or incubatee through incubation activities.

The forum comprised a two-day conference/workshop with thematic discussions and presentations of success stories, an Agri-Pitch Entrepreneurship Competition and side events including a mentor and incubator training program that will gave agripreneurs an opportunity to demonstrate and showcase the success and business potential of agribusinesses across Africa.

During the Agri-Pitch Entrepreneurship Competition, participants between the ages of 18-35 pitched their innovations before their peers after which prizes were awarded to three categories of winners. The selected winners received an invitation to the AfDB’s Annual Meetings in India in May 2017 to present their pitches. The overall winner will be presented with a prize by AfDB President Akinwumi Adesina.

During the forum, the agripreneurs were expected to develop and pitch ideas on innovations in agriculture which cover information and communication technology (ICT), production, harvesting and processing, marketing, logistics, research, and financial services, among many other topics.

Also during the workshop, plenary presentations were made by and to the youth, to showcase how they designed solutions addressing the typical challenges facing young people who have ventured into agribusiness.
The two-day forum offered agripreneurs across Africa an opportunity to interact and connect with business and development organizations that could assist in linkages with potential markets as off-takers within and outside Africa.

“IITA will support initiatives that would ensure that the young people in this continent contribute to the transformation of African agriculture through agribusiness and value chain development,” said IITA Director General Nteranya Sanginga.

“The AYA Forum will become a flagship element of AfDB’s key initiative for youth employment in agriculture, the ENABLE Youth Program – Empowering Novel Agri-Business-Led Employment,” said Chiji Ojukwu, AfDB’s Agriculture and Agro-Industry Director. This five-year program funded and being championed by AfDB aims to develop the next generation of African entrepreneurs in agriculture. Its overall goal is to contribute to job creation, food security and nutrition, rural income generation, and improved livelihoods for youths in both urban and rural areas.