*Says journey to prosperity still far
*Inaugurates Food Security Council
By Chesa Chesa
President Muhammadu Buhari has declared that the past three years of his administration have been very turbulent for Nigerians.
Buhari made the affirmative statement on Monday in Abuja when he inaugurated the National Food Security Council.
The President, who is the councila��s chairman, incorporated the Nigerian military into it to curtail increasing insecurity in several parts of the country which has hindered food production.
In his address, Buhari listed the programmes and policies initiated by his administration to ease the three years of turbulence, adding that the results are beginning to manifest.
According to him, “Nigeriaa��s journey in the last three years has been a very turbulent one. The countrya��s need for critical job creating sectors which has been ignored for decades is now beginning to yield results”.
He admitted that the full results of the numerous initiatives in agriculture would not be felt or seen overnight because “the journey is long”, noting therefore that “it is our collective duty to ensure the actual and potential positive impacts of these programmes are sustained, improved and expanded”.
The programmes include the National Social Investment Programs (NSIP); Pollution Remediation Projects in the Niger Delta; Agro Rangers Unit within the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC) to protect agricultural investments; focus on import substitution, job creation and rural development; reversing the shrinking of the Lake Chad Basin; and issuance of green bond that will act as a catalyst for investments in renewable energy and afforestation.
Buhari noted that a key mandate of the Food Security Council is to continuously assess and enhance these infant, but impactful programmes, thereby guarantee their full potential, while new programs and projects that will protect and indeed create more jobs in farming, fisheries, animal husbandry and forestry, will be created.
The President also highlighted the imperative of tackling smuggling and dumping, to the success of the Council, which include governors representing the countrya��s six geopolitical zones, some of which have similar eco-climatic conditions and expected to form useful alliances.
Briefing State House Correspondents at the end of the meeting, Kebbi State governor, Atiku Bagudu and his Delta State counterpart, Ifeanyi Okowa, said that the governors representing the six zones briefed the Council on food security initiatives they were undertaking in their states.
Okowa said that in the last few years, a lot had been done on rice production which he said, had reduced the amount of money hitherto spent on rice importation, adding that the trend had given confidence that in no time, Nigeria would be self-sufficient in rice production.
He listed the challenges confronting rice production to include the influx of rice through the borders, which he said, needs to be addressed.
He also said the Council discussed the need to develop oil palm plantations and spend a lot of money on wheat production, with a view to achieving food sufficiency.
In his briefing, the Chief of Defence Staff, Gen. Gabriel Olonisakin, said that the military was aware of security challenges facing the country and listed them as: farmers-herders clashes and militancy, which have direct effects on food value chain.
Admitting that the job of the military is to ensure that a safe environment is guaranteed for food production, Olonishakin listed the measures put in place by the armed forces to achieve such a safe environment as a�?Operations Lafiya Dole, Nawase in Niger Delta, Sarendaji in North West and Save Haven in Jos, North Central.
Governor of Lagos State, Mr. Akinwumi Ambode, said that the Councila��s inauguration was a paradigm shift in the economy of Nigeria.
According to him, the decision of the President to personally chair the Council marked the commencement of the framework meant to take Nigeria from a monolithic economy to a diversified economy.
*Says journey to prosperity still far