Adedayo Akinwale in Abuja
President Muhammadu Buhari has assured that armed banditry and kidnapping that had bedeviled Katsina and other Northwestern states would be overcome, the same way the farmer-herders attacks were subdued.
The President stated this at a meeting with Katsina State Elders Forum at the State House in Abuja on Thursday.
In a statement issued Friday by Senior Special Assistant to the President on
Media and Publicity, Mallam Garba Shehu, said, “President Buhari also broached the issue of armed banditry and kidnapping that had bedeviled Katsina and other Northwestern states and gave assurances that the situation will be overcome in the same way the farmer-herders attacks were subdued.”
He said that Nigerian farmers stood to reap the benefits of his government’s reforms as he continued to accord the highest priority to agriculture, describing it as the country’s largest employer of labour and engine of growth.
The President stressed that his administration would continue to take steps to enhance output and productivity by ensuring the availability of cheap agricultural credits, farm inputs, fertiliser and the introduction of latest technologies.
He equally told the meeting that he had charged his ministers of Agriculture to Works with the states to rediscover the lost animal grazing routes and reserves as a means to ending the frequent outbreak of violence between farmers and herders.
Buhari noted that the choice of practicing farmers as Ministers in charge of Agriculture, first Chief Audu Ogbe and now, Alhaji Sabo Nanono, was a reflection of his strong wish to protect the interest of farmers and the attainment of national food self-sufficiency.
He agreed to look into the request of the Katsina Elders for the expansion of existing irrigation schemes at Zobe and Sabke dams to enhance employment and profitability in agriculture, saying that a situation in which 60 per cent of the state is productive in rain-fed agriculture for three to four months, and idle for the rest of the year was unacceptable.
The President also pressed the necessity of educating school-age children, saying that once the opportunity of early education is lost, it often turns out very difficult for them to make up.
According to him, “This is the best preparation we can give to them. We destroy their lives by denying children education.”
The leader the delegation, Alhaji Aliyu Saulawa representing the Chairman, Alhaji Ahmadu Kurfi, Maradin Katsina, commended the President for returning peace to most parts of the state and for the various infrastructure projects, including the Kano-Jigawa-Katsina-Maradi rail link.
They welcomed the recent decision by government to elongate the service of teachers and improve their condition of service.