President Muhammadu Buhari has described the country’s journey in the last three years of his administration as being “a very turbulent one.”.
President Buhari who spoke yesterday during the inauguration of the Food Security Council at the Presidential Villa , Abuja, however pointed out that the full results from the administration’s sundry programmes would not be felt or seen overnight.
He noted that “the journey is long,” but it was the collective responsibility of all Nigerians to ensure the actual and potential positive impacts of these programmes are sustained, improved and expanded.
According to him, the country’s need for critical job creating sectors, which had been neglected was beginning to yield the desired results.
President Buhari said his administration was also poised to develop new programmes and projects that would protect as well as create more jobs in farming, fisheries, animal husbandry and forestry.
“As we all know, land is used for farming, grazing and forestry. Water is used for irrigation, livestock sustenance and fishing. Therefore, any strategy for land and water management must take into account the interconnectivity of all these key sectors to ensure equity and sustainability.’’
He said the administration would also not lose sight of the other issues that will impact our food production ambitions.
It is against this background that he said the government recently launched agricultural programmes focusing on import substitution, job creation and rural development thereby bringing socio-economic transformation to the millions of citizens living in some of the most remote rural parts of our country.
He said: “We commenced the long term Pollution Remediation Projects in the Niger Delta with the hope of restoring dignity and normalcy to the millions of Nigerians impacted by decades of pollution in their communities. Fishing and farming will resume once blighted areas are rehabilitated.
“We intensified our participation in the Lake Chad Basin Commission (LCBC) with the goal of reversing the shrinkage of the lake, which impacts the livelihoods of over 45 million farmers, herdsmen and fishermen in the LCBC countries.
“We issued the first ever green bond that will act as a catalyst for investments in renewable energy and afforestation projects. This was oversubscribed, sharing market confidence in the country and our Government.
“We established the Agro Rangers Unit within the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps to protect the billions of naira of investments recorded in Nigeria’s agricultural sector across the country.
“We continued to equip the Nigerian Navy and Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency to fight maritime criminals such as pirates and sea robbers who adversely impact offshore and inland fishing activities in our waters.’’
These programmes and many more, he said, have started yielding results and if sustained, would transform the lives of millions of Nigerians across the country.
The President however noted that the country is not insulated from global and regional events but explained that his administration would not lose sight of events from afar and their impact on Nigeria.
“Specifically, issues such as smuggling and dumping, which is our responsibility to ensure we develop and enforce strategies to protect Nigeria from these illegal and unhealthy imports.”
President Buhari said the key mandate of the Food Security Council inaugurated is to continuously assess and enhance these infant, but impactful programmes, thereby guaranteeing they achieve their full potential.
The council includes governors representing the six geopolitical zones. The platform is to further enhance the collaboration between the Federal and State Governments with regular consultations with investors, development partners, financiers, academia and the country’s allies abroad.
Speaking after the inauguration, the Lagos State Governor, Akinwunmi Ambode, said the decision of President Buhari to serve as chairman of the council is an indication that the country was ready to move away from being a monolithic economy.
The Chief of Defence Staff, General Gabriel Olonishakin, said it was a step that would ensure that the country adequately addresses not only food security issues but increasing security concerns including killings by suspected herdsmen.