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Cross River’ll commence banana export soon –Ayade

• Declare state of emergency on kidnapping, security, NMA urges gov

From: Judex Okoro, Calabar

Cross River State Governor, Ben Ayade, has disclosed that the state will soon commence the export of banana to Europe.

The governor stated this when he paid an unscheduled visit to the 105-hectares banana plantation being cultivated in Odukpani Local Government Area of the state.

“It is very exciting to see the deep seaport project giving birth to all of these ideas. You cannot build a seaport without planning on the outbound cargo, which is the mistake other ports suffer from.

“We expect that the agro-based industry, which is the focus of the President Muhammadu Buhari administration which I have keyed into, focuses on finding agricultural products that we will be exporting.

“The zero oil road map is very clear to us that, indeed, in the next few years, oil will be a thing of the past, so, for us to move into agriculture, we have to go into the most sophisticated technology, hence, our partnership with San Carlos of Mexico,” the governor said.

Hinting that the first harvest is expected in May, while the commercial export harvest will be in 2019, Ayade explained that, “if we must grow agriculture, we must make sure we take it away from subsistence farming and ensure that those farming don’t do so in agony, pain, hunger and melancholy, but follow the latest trend which is mechanised and technology driven.”

Meanwhile, the state branch of Nigeria Medical Association (NMA) has called on the governor to declare a state of emergency on kidnapping .

The call is contained in a communiqué jointly signed by NMA state Chairman, Dr. Effiong Mkpanam, and the Secretary, Dr. Ikechukwu Ukweh, yesterday in Calabar.

NMA had, last week, threatened to shut hospitals and withdraw their services over the kidnap of one of their members, Dr. Ekanem.

Ekanem was kidnapped on December 26, 2017, by gunmen and released on January 7, 2018.

The body expressed dissatisfaction with the incessant attacks on its members, disclosing that five of its members and three of their family members were kidnapped in 2017.

The association, which has called off planned withdrawal of its services following the release of one of its kidnapped members, said: “It is noteworthy that in 2017, within the state capital alone, five doctors and three of their family members were kidnapped at various locations.

“We have noticed, with utter dismay, and drawn attention of the authorities to an upsurge in the cases of targeted kidnapping of medical practitioners.

“We have also observed, with dismay, a dangerous trend in which the security and lives of doctors are being threatened by some disgruntle members of the society, while the state authorities and security agencies stand aloof and remain complacent at the very least.

“We wish to remind the state government that it is its duty to provide adequate security for the citizens. The state government should, as a matter of urgency, declare a state of emergency on security in Cross River.”

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