The Council of State presided over by Muhammadu Buhari, the president of Nigeria, on Thursday, February 22, 2018, rose from its over five hours’ meeting in the State House with a resolution approving the investment of $1 billion in agriculture including livestock farming.
Briefing journalists at the end of the meeting, Ibikunle Amosun, the Ogun State governor, said the council observed that the sum of $200 million hitherto being spent on agriculture is meagre when compared to the volume of investment being made in the oil sector.
According to him, if the country must attain the level where it grows all it needs and be prepared to put paid to dependence on foreign products, funding of agriculture must improve and planting done throughout the year.
Amosun also said the council commended the government for raising the annual budget from over N4 trillion when it came on board to over N8 trillion now.
“ The council advised that we improve on the funding on agriculture. That the paltry sum of $200 million when compared to what is being pumped into the oil sector is insignificant. The council recommended that at least about $1 billion be pumped into agriculture.”
“Council noted how Nigeria moved the budget from about N4 trillion to now about N8 trillion. It also noted that when this president came in… oil had nose dived from $112 in 2014 and in 2016, it was $30. in 2016 Council also appreciated the efforts of the Ministers of Agriculture and Budget and National Planning after their briefings, on the efforts they are giving to the president, and agreed they should continue in what they are doing.”
“The Council advised that planting should be done all year round and not only during planting seasons and that we should grow what we will need, what we will eat and eat what we will grow. The era of wasting our scare foreign exchange on everything that we will need is over,” Amosun said.
In his briefing, Abubakar Badaru, the governor of Jigawa State, said the council also discussed all security crises confronting the country, including herders’ violence, Boko Haram insurgency, militancy in the Niger Delta and kidnapping, and observed that in some instances, violence is perpetrated by bandits.
Against this background, he said it was agreed that security forces should be deployed to comb existing forests in various states with a view to flushing out such bandits.
“On the security situation in the country, we received a very long briefing from the National Security Adviser ranging from farmers/herdsmen clashes, Boko Haram, militancy in the Niger Delta, kidnapping to cattle rustling.”
“Farmers/herdsmen clashes were discussed thoroughly and we learnt that these take three dimensions. First is the real farmers/herdsmen clashes, where the normal herdsman moves around with his cattle and get into a farmer’s land and eats up his crops.”
“In some situations, it’s pure banditry. Some of the pastoralists that are not herders attack, steal and kidnap, and that has to be defined as such. Some of them rustle cattle and move into the deep forests, and because of the thickness of the forests, response are usually very difficult. That was also discussed today (yesterday) and solutions were proffered on how to get deep into the forests to check those bandits that hide and continue to commit havoc.”
“The third aspect usually classified as farmers/herdsmen clashes is also the settlers and indigenes’ clashes like in the Southern Kaduna. Some migrant farmers or herders stay in an environment for a very long time and when you have such clashes, they are also classified as farmers/herdsmen clashes.”
“So, we understand and acknowledge these three aspects, and all have different approaches in solving the whole problem. And from the discussions today, a lot has been done, solutions have been proffered and the government believes solution is near.”
“The Minister of Agriculture also presented a position on how to resolve the first part of the farmers/herdsmen crises. That is the actual migrating herdsmen that pass through towns and farms, eat up crops in the farms and create a lot of problems,” Badaru said.
Also briefing, Anambra State Governor, Willie Obiano, said the council approved appointments of 23 members of National Population Commission, NPC, and unspecified numbers of Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, commissioners as well non-legal practitioners in the Federal Judicial Service Commission.
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