FG Approves N27.5bn Agriculture Intervention Fund for States Devastated by Conflicts

  • Okays N3.03 bn for Ogoni clean-up, N1.121bn for Enugu water project

Omololu Ogunmade in Abuja

After a seven-hour meeting, the Federal Executive Council (FEC) Wednesday in Abuja approved N27.5 billion intervention fund for the restoration of farming and other agricultural activities in states where conflicts, flooding and other devastating events had affected economic activities of Nigerians.

The council also approved N3.03 billion remediation contract for Ogoni clean-up to five companies.

Briefing journalists at the end of the weekly FEC meeting in the State House, Kebbi State governor and Vice-Chairman of National Food Security Council, Senator Atiku Bagudu, said the council approved two memoranda presented by the food security council, acting on information from the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA),

According to the governor, the council approved a memorandum seeking the award of N18.942 billion contract to 15 companies for the supply of seedlings, fertilizers and agro-chemical products to 163,117 citizens in 14 states where farming activities were devastated by flooding.

The governor said the memorandum was approved in acknowledgement of the negative impact of flooding and other emergency activities on farming and livestock activities in the affected states.

Bagudu who said the intervention fund was meant to help victims return to their economic activities, added that other initiatives meant to cushion the effects of the crises on citizens were still being worked out.

He listed beneficiary states to include: Adamawa, Delta, Jigawa, Kebbi, Kogi, Kwara and Rivers States. Others are Sokoto, Taraba, Niger, Edo, Bayelsa, Benue and Anambra.

He said: “Last year, there was unusual amount of flooding in some states about 14 of them and the national food security council considered the impact of that flooding on the agricultural sector, food security, animal husbandry and fisheries. And so, today the council approved an intervention fund totalling N18,942,818,912.14. Contracts would be awarded to 15 companies to provide seedlings, agro-chemicals and fertilizers to 163,117 beneficiaries located in 14 states.

“The states are Adamawa, Anambra, Beyelsa, Benue, Delta, Edo, Jigawa, Kebbi, Kogi, Kwara, Niger, Rivers, Sokoto and Taraba.As part of the work of National Food Security Council, other interventions have been considered and are being worked upon by the beneficiary communities and also the livestock sector.”

Bagudu also disclosed that FEC approved another memorandum which sought the award of N8.558 billion contract for the supply of fertilizer products, seedlings and chemicals in six states where many residents were displaced by conflicts and insecurity such as herdsmen violence.

According to him, no fewer than 69,872 victims of such conflicts will benefit from the federal government’s efforts to restore such Nigerians, some of whom he said had lost their homes and now taking refuge in internally displaced persons (IDPs) camps, to their means of livelihood.

Bagudu who enumerated the states that will benefit from this intervention as Adamawa, Benue, Borno, Plateau, Yobe and Zamfara States, said the memorandum was presented by the president as the chairman of the food security council.

“First, it (FEC) approved the intervention for states that have been affected by conflicts and insecurity, where many have been displaced from their homes and some are living in internally displaced persons camps.

“While support has been given in terms of accommodation, food, welfare, the National Food Security Council considered the importance of helping them restore their livelihood activities, particularly agricultural activities. Council approved the memo by Mr. President and approved N8,558,529,755 for intervention in Adamawa, Benue, Borno, Plateau, Taraba, Yobe and Zamfara.

“The beneficiaries are estimated to be about 69,872 people. The intervention includes: provision of fertilizer, seedlings, chemicals, poultry and animals husbandry to enable them resume economic activity.”

In his own briefing, the Minister of Environment, Mr. Suleiman Hassan, said in line with the flag off of Ogoni clean-up by President Muhammadu Buhari in June 2016, N3.03 billion was approved by FEC yesterday for the award of contracts to five companies.

The minister who said the Ogoni clean-up was spurred by the report of the United Nations Environmental Project (UNEP), disclosed that appreciable progress had been made in the clean-up project following the earlier award of contracts to 16 companies in January.

Also yesterday, the Minister of Water Resources, Malam Suleiman Adamu, said the council also approved the augmentation of the cost of a water project in Evoh, Enugu State from the initial N985 million approved for the project in 2013 to N1.121 billion. He said the project is 80 per cent completed.

Also briefing journalists, the Minister of Education, Malam Adamu Adamu, said the council also approved N613.309 million for the construction of Faculty of Arts in Adamawa State University.

He also said the council endorsed safe school initiative and expressed its commitment towards its implementation.