BY ABDULLAHI ISAH, MAIDUGURI
Former president, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo has said that the Zero Hunger programme is the best way to effectively fight Boko Haram terrorism and other violent crimes not only in Nigeria but across the African continent.
Chief Olusegun Obasanjo, who disclosed this at the 3rd meeting of Zero Hunger strategic Forum meeting which held at the Government House Maiduguri on Thursday said “among the Millennium and Sustainable Development Goals (MSDGs), the zero hunger programme is the number one goal, as it not only fights hunger but unemployment, maternal mortality, malnutrition, poverty to mention but few. In fact, zero hunger addresses 14 different development challenges,” he said.
He noted that 25 out of 26 members of Boko Haram insurgents join the group as a result of hunger and unemployment and called on governments at all levels, corporations, organizations and individuals to embrace agriculture with a view to ensure food security, job and wealth creation and above all economic development.
Chief Obasanjo, who is the chairman of the Nigeria Zero Hunger Committee said the committee does not have money but has what it takes to enhance agricultural development in the country.
Also speaking at the occasion, Governor Kashim Shettima of Borno state said the fight against hunger is a fight that must be won, as it will not only ensure food security but also address poverty, unemployment, violent crimes among other crimes and criminality.
He said “despite the security challenges facing Borno state, the state has invested massively in agriculture. No state in the federation has invested half of what we have invested in Borno state. I don’t want to make noise but tomorrow Insha Allah you will be taken round and see for yourselves”.
While making his remarks, the Minister for Agriculture, Chief Audu Obeh, who was represented by a director in the ministry, Dr. Obiano Opara said the meeting of the Zero Hunger Forum is a peer review mechanism among the states to strategise on ways to fight hunger, poverty and unemployment and ensure food security in Nigeria.
He said the meeting was apt and timely, as it came when the Federal Government is trying to diversify its economy through agriculture and fight hunger by embracing all year round agricultural production.
The meeting has in attendance, Chief Obasanjo, Governor Shettima, the Deputy Governors of Ogun and Benue states, commissioners of Agriculture, representatives of Wold Food Programme, DG IITA, FAO among other stakeholders and different agricultural produce and poverty alleviation materials were also showcased.
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