Kogi State governor, Alhaji Yahaya Bello, has urged President Muhammadu Buhari to use proceed of corruption to fund agriculture.
The governor, who was speaking in Lokoja while flagging off the wet season farming programme, said the country’s potential can be harnessed if properly funded.
“Those who criticised the federal government have forgotten that the 2 billion dollar stolen by a canal in the previous administration would have engaged millions of our youth in agriculture.
“Today, our Godsent president is doing what they failed to do. We experienced the same thing here when officials of government in the previous administration sat round the table to share the N2 billion meant to empower the youth and women through Small and Medium Scale Enterprises. With half of that, we are creating 5000 millionaires among our farmers.
“Kogi State government will continue to collaborate with the Federal Government to take our people above the poverty line through agriculture”.
Governor Bello appealed to the beneficiaries of the program to make maximum use of the opportunity, urging Nigerians to resist the antics of corrupt elements who conspired to bring the country on its knees.
He said looters are unhappy with President Buhari’s determination to free the country from the pangs of corruption.
Impressed with the success recorded in the fight against corruption, Governor Bello urged that recovered loots be channeled into empowering farmers, artisans and small businesses.
His words: “Let me congratulate Mr President for using his global reputation as an uncompromising anti-corruption crusader to repatriate our stolen wealth. The biggest victims of corruption are the downtrodden in the society who were deprived of quality standards of living.
“To this end, I want to make a passionate appeal to Mr President to invest recovered funds in agriculture in fulfillment of his promise to ensure the economy of Nigeria depends on agriculture and other non-oil sectors”, he said.
He revealed that the vision of the APC government is to end importation of staple food, by investing in agriculture so as to make the country self sufficient.
Also speaking at the event, the Kogi State Commissioner for Agriculture, Mr Kehinde Oloruntoba thanked the Governor for “sparking a silent revolution in the agricultural sector”, saying agriculture has employed and empowered more farmers than the number of civil servants in the state.
He said the successes recorded in Omi Dam and Osara are redefining the economy of the state.
A farmer at the event, Mrs Grace Samuel told reporters how the Kogi State Government has made farming lucrative for the farmers.
According to her, the State Government has walked its talk in agriculture.
She said: “I have been a farmer for 15 years now. But I have never seen any administration in Kogi State that has done so much to promote agriculture like the present administration of the agriculture-friendly Governor, Alh. Yahaya Bello.
“We are having it good here and getting this loan will boost our production. The State Government has already cleared land for us at no cost to us. This is how we can stop complaints from civil servants about salaries. I will earn more than most civil servants from my farms”.
No fewer than 4,809 farmers in Kogi State are to benefit from this year’s Anchor Borrowers, wet season rice farming program in the state.
Each of the farmers would be provided with 207,959 as soft loan in a program which is a collaboration between the Federal Government and States.