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Published On: Mon, Nov 21st, 2016

Buhari Urges Niger Delta Indigenes Embrace Peace and focus on Agriculture

Buhari

Buhari


Amos Okioma, Yenagoa
LAGOS NOVEMBER 21ST (URHOBOTODAY)-President Muhammadu Buhari has appealed to the people of the Niger Delta to embrace peace and focus on agriculture for sustainable economic development and wealth creation, instead of pipeline vandalization , militancy and kidnapping which has continued to slow the rate of development in the area.
Buhari also urged them to take advantage of the huge potential in agriculture and stop the destruction of oil and gas pipelines which only served to destroy the country’s ecosystem and economy.

The President, represented by the Minister of State for Agriculture and Rural Development, Senator Heineken Lokpobiri, made the appeal on at the weekend during the 20th anniversary of Nigerian Agip Oil Company’s Green River Project Farmers Day in Yenagoa, Bayelsa State capital.
Buhari said, “I wish to acknowledge the unrelenting efforts of the Nigerian Agip Oil Company, who in their bid to prove that oil production and agriculture can coexist, has for the past 29 years supported their host communities to focus on agriculture through the GRP, a corporate social responsibility initiative which has resulted in sustainable development in these communities.
“I appeal to the people of the Niger Delta region to embrace peace and focus on agriculture for sustainable economic development and wealth creation.
“I urge you to take advantage of the huge potential in agriculture and stop the destruction of oil and gas pipelines which only serve to destroy our ecosystem and economy.
“The present administration is committed to doing everything possible to support the people of the Niger Delta to achieve their potential in agriculture which is far more than its endowments in oil and gas.”
The occasion, with the theme, ‘Sustainable Farming for Sustainability’, had in attendance representatives of host governors of Bayelsa, Rivers, Delta and Imo states; Chairman, Agip, Mr. U. Carrara; Vice Chairman and Managing Director, Agip, Massimo Insulla.
Others were General Manager, District, Marco Rotondi; former Military Governor of old Rivers State, Alfred Diete-Spiff; Vice-Chancellor, Niger Delta University, Prof. Humphrey Ogoni, and the president of Ijaw Youth Council Worldwide, Mr. Elvis Donkemezuo, among others dignitararies.
Buhari said the focus of his administration was to redirect attention to agriculture in its entirety and empower Nigerians in a productive and sustainable manner.
He said the process entailed treating agriculture as a business to create wealth and provide employment and take the country from being an import dependent country to a self – sufficient nation with surplus
for export to earn foreign exchange.
The President noted that Nigeria spent an average of $22bn annually on wheat, rice, sugar and fish imports. Buhari said that Nigeria had an estimated 84 million hectares of arable land with an estimated 10 per cent only being optimally utilized.
He said there was an abundance of land available for cultivation to meet the demand of about 170 million consumers in the Nigerian domestic market and the entire West Africa sub region.

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