Borno State Governor, Alhaji Kashim Shettima
By Yemi Akinsuyi
As part of efforts in ensuring that the teeming Nigerian unemployed youths are gainfully employed, Borno State Governor, Alhaji Kashim Shettima, has said his state would do everything possible, including partnering with the National Programme for Agriculture and Food Security (NPAFS), for its agricultural development.
Shettima, who disclosed that agriculture contributes over 70 per cent Growth Domestic Product (GDP) in Nigeria, said with the development of this sector, especially in his state, the problem of unemployment, which he said had pushed some people into crime, would be a thing of the past.
Explaining that with the throng of not too educated people in Borno, the governor said the only way to find jobs for them was through agriculture, and this he said would be achieved by the assistance of the NPAFS.
Shettima, who played host to the National Coordinator and key officials of the Programme at the Governor’s Lodge, Abuja, said Borno, which is the second largest state in the country after Niger, has vast land that had not yet been cultivated.
“Statistics have it that Nigeria has 150 million mouths to feed and that by 2020, we would have increased to 300 million. Agriculture now becomes handy. We all have to come together to fight poverty, hunger, anger, and of course unemployment through agriculture.”
Promising to achieve the purpose of the counterpart funding for agriculture in his state as a way of boosting the sector’s development, Shettima enjoined his people to join hands with him in achieving the feat.
“I want to assure you that in the next two years, there will be massive transformation in Borno State and this will be achieved through agricultural development. I know it sounds unattainable, but with the co-operation of you all, it will be like a child’s play. We are developing our rural areas with agriculture and by the time we have spent two years in doing it, Borno will be a place to be at all times.”
The former Commissioner for Agriculture, Borno State, therefore called on investors within and outside the country to seize the opportunity to come to the state and invest in the sector.
Earlier in his address, National Coordinator, NPAFS, Abdulazeez Mohammed, had promised to work with Borno State to achieve food security agenda. Mohammed however expressed regret that because of bureaucratic bottleneck, some of the counterpart funds for agricultural development in the country were yet to be disbursed.
He vowed to do everything within his power to ensure that agricultural sector was developed and the whole essence of food security achieved soonest.
While appreciating the government and people of Borno State for how far they had gone in putting food on the table of some Nigerians, Mohammed called for more input into agricultural development in the state.