…Says Nigerians must go back to farming
By MSUE AZA, Kafuna
President Muhammadu Buhari yesterday 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.
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 its positive impact on Nigerians.
The President who arrived at premises of the Olam grains company along Kilometer 24 Abuja-Kaduna expressway, left shortly 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 speech, 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 the 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.
The President said: “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.
“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 has released the cheering news that we are getting out of the fit of recession. 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.
Earlier, Governor Nasir el-Rufai, said Kaduna 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.
Also speaking, the Central Bank of Nigeria’s Governor, Godwin Emefile, who described the project as laudable, said it would reduce unemployment and youth restiveness as well as reduce the importation of items and save foreign exchange for the country.