…Nigerians Must Go Back To Farming
President Muhammadu Buhari on Tuesday in Kaduna, commissioned the 150 million dollar Olam Poultry Farm and Feed Mill, saying Nigerians must go into full farming to build the nation’s distressed economy.
The inauguration of the farm facility is the first official function performed by President Buhari outside Aso Rock Villa after his returned from medical vacation in London United Kingdom. Although, he celebrated Sallah break in his home town,Daura Katsina state.
Buhari,while declaring that change was gaining momentum in the agricultural sector, noted that Nigeria’s exit from economic recession, according to the National Bureau of Statistics, could only be applauded with it’s positive impact on Nigerians.
Buhari, who arrived at premises of the Olam grains company along Kilometre 24 Abuja-Kaduna expressway on a Air Force helicopter in the morning left shortly after Governor El-Rufai’s speech, to Abuja to receive Ghanaian President.
He stressed that with the country’s exit from recession, it was clear that Nigeria was getting out of its worst economic challenges.
Minister of Agriculture, Chief Audu Ogbe, who read Buhari’s said with the commissioning of Olam Integrated facilities in Kaduna, foreigners have realised that Nigeria is a destination for conducive investments.
Buhari,added that when his administration promised Nigerian change, many did not know what it meant, declaring that that change was currently happening in the agricultural sector.
The President,however, commended Governor Nasir El-Rufai and his Kebbi State counterpart, Alhaji Atiku Bagudu, describing them as the drivers of the nation’s economy.
According to Buhari: “This massive edifice put in place by Olam is one of the largest agricultural firms in our beloved country. I am told that this is one of the biggest investments in poultry industry in Nigeria.
“We are particularly pleased to participate in this event because it is clear evidence that in spite of all odds, economic growth is taking place especially in the agricultural sector.
“This was our promise at the inception of our administration when we came in to deal with challenges in the economy which was almost appearing insurmountable.
“It is our article of faith and our Ernest believe that agriculture offers the most viable and all encompassing options in our attempt to diversify our national economy.
“It is in this connection that we must first be able to say to ourselves that we must be able to feed ourselves on what we grow and grow what we eat before we can comfortably turn our attention to many of the other key concerns of our daily lives.
“The commissioning of this massive facility is a living testimony to our claim that growth, serious and lasting growth is taking place in our economy and that growth can only last if it begins at the grassroots.
“About six months ago, we announced to the world that we are in a recession. We announced the recession ourselves. We were bold enough to admit it and we were honest about it.”
He also said,”when the national Bureau of Statistics presented a green picture of this state of affairs, we accepted the reality and confronted it headlong with courage and perseverance.
“Now a few months down the road, the Bureau of statistic has released the cheering news that we are getting out of the fit of recession.
Buhari added: “Even though the statistics are still fragile and we have no illusion that we need to even work harder to get to that economic level that is satisfactory, we are happy to note and we believe that the majority of Nigerians are also happy that we are getting out of possibly the worse economic scenario in our country’s history.
“Giving this positive development and with the gradual recovery of our economy, we think the great signs of growth and prosperity for this country are at hand.
“We are also aware that the pessimistic ones in our midst may be reluctant to admit that positive development is occurring in economic space for obvious reasons, evidently, the undeniable reality is that we are getting out of the wood.”
Earlier, Governor Nasir El-Rufai, of Kaduna State,said the state was particularly honoured to receive the President because it was Buhari’s first official engagement outside Abuja following his return from medical vacation in the United Kingdom last month.
El-Rufai disclosed that the company (Olam) had come to enhance the capacity of farmers, noting that his state offered the land in which the Singaporean company was sited free of charge.
He also said over N500m was paid as compensation to farmers and other land owners for the acquisition of their land, arguing that economic diversity was on longer a choice but a necessity.
El-rufai said: “This was a company that had invested in Nigeria in the early 80’s and had to migrate to Singapore .Your excellency may wish to recall that when you invited me to be part of your delegation around 2015 for the United Nations General Assembly and I told you that I have an investment trip, you gave me the full support and approval to go.
“This was the outcome of the trip as on 8th April, 2016 the ground breaking foundation laying ceremony was held and after seventeen months it has become a reality.
“The plant will be producing 1.6m chicksweekly .While, it has so far created about 50,000 jobs.”
Also speaking, the Central Bank of Nigeria’s Governor, Godwin Emefile,who described the project as laudable one said it would reduce unemployment and youth restiveness as well as reduce the importation of items and save foreign exchange for the country.
Emefile commended the El-Rufai’s led administration for being a beacon of hope to the people of the state.
On his part, a former CBN governor and Emir of Kano, Sanusi Lamido, said the only way to guarantee food security to cater for the mass population, was to invest massively in the agricultural sector.
Minister of Sports, Solomon Dalung, said the commissioning of the farm was a demonstration of the El-Rufai’s administration to reduce poverty and hunger in the state and by extension, the entire country.
He therefore urged the youth to rise up and defend the investment which he noted was an avenue to take them off the streets.
Among the dignitaries that attended the event were President Muhammed Buhari, Governor of Kebbi State, Alhaji Atiku Bagudu, Minister of Sport and Youth Development, Solomon Dalung, the Central Bank of Nigeria’s Gov, Godwin Emefile, Deputy Gov, Kaduna State, Barnabas Yusuf-Bala, the Emir of Kano, Sanusi Lamido Sanusi ll Emir of Birnin Gwari, Alhaji Zubairu Jibrin Magwari ll , Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Chief Audu Ogbe, Minister for Industry, Trade and Investment, Dr. Okechukwu Enelamah, Minister for Finance, Kemi Adeosun Chief Audu Ogbe, Governor of Kebbi, Atiku Bagudu, members of the diplomatic corps among others.