President Muhammadu Buhari Tuesday in Daura, Katsina State, disclosed that he has directed the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to stop providing foreign exchange for importation of food into the country, with the steady improvement in agricultural production, and attainment of full food security.
The President, who hosted All Progressives Congress (APC) governors to Eid-el-Kabir lunch at his country home in Daura, said, according to a statement by Garba Shehu, Senior Special Assistant to the President(Media & Publicity), the foreign reserve will be conserved and utilized strictly for diversification of the economy, and not for encouraging more dependence on foreign food import bills.
The President noted that some states like Kebbi, Ogun, Lagos, Jigawa, Ebonyi and Kano had already taken advantage of the Federal Government’s policy on agriculture with huge returns in rice farming, urging more states to plug into the ongoing revolution to feed the nation.
“We have achieved food security, and for physical security we are not doing badly,’’ he said.
President Buhari said he was particularly delighted that young Nigerians, including graduates, had started exploring agric-business and entrepreneurship, with many posting testimonies of good returns on their investments.
President Buhari said the incoming ministers will be “taught’’ and thoroughly guided to ensure they meet the targets of the APC-led government for the people, with regular monitoring of their performances and scaling up of targets by the Office of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (OSGF).
The President assured that he will attend the Presidential Policy Retreat organized for the ministers by the OSFG, and insisted on compliance with laid down targets on key sectors of the economy that will directly impact on the livelihood of Nigerians.
In his remarks, the Chairman of the Nigerian Governors’ Forum and Governor of Ekiti State, Dr John Kayode Fayemi, said the President’s sense of justice, fairness and forthrightness had turned a major inspiration to governors on the way forward for the country.
He said the challenges faced by states “were enormous’’, but the governors had remained undaunted, assuring the President of strong support and “the very best effort’’ to overcome all the obstacles.
The Chairman of the Progressive Governors Forum and Governor of Kebbi State, Alhaji Atiku Bagudu, appreciated the President for the unique leadership style of maintaining a healthy relationship with governors on individual and collective basis, pointing out that they had been “energized’’ to do more in their states.
The governor commended the President for making bold and courageous efforts to reposition the economy for majority Nigerians through inclusive policies.
“The country is more secure than in 2015, and the country is more prosperous than in 2015 because you are working for the majority of the people,’’ he added.
The governor said the party had been repositioned, after the 2019 elections, to work for the benefit of the majority of Nigerians, noting that “there will be two elections this year and we need to work towards winning the two states.’’
The President, also on Tuesday in Daura, said he will use his second term in office to improve the lives of Nigerians by paying close attention to the poor and those on the lower rungs of society.
Addressing leaders of various communities from five Local Government Areas of Daura Emirate, who paid him a visit as part of Eid El-Kabir celebration, the President, according to another statement by Garba Shehu said he is convinced that majority of Nigerians understand who he is and his mission, on account of which they returned him for a second term in office with larger margin of votes than 2015.
“You know how much I laboured to get here. I ran three times in the past. The fourth time, God used technology to do it for me. The fifth time I ran (February 23, 2019), I went to all the states of the federation. The turnout of crowds was overwhelming.
“Truly, the people know and understand my mission. This is what the votes showed. The administration will dwell on our campaign issues — security, economy and corruption. We will fight for the poor,” the President said.
He emphasized the important place of agriculture under his administration, promising to appoint a minister who is knowledgeable and will know how to promote interest and investment in the sector.
“I will appoint a minister who knows agriculture and its role in providing jobs and growing our economy. You have seen how we broke the fertiliser jinx in the country. We will do more to better the lots of our farmers. Agriculture is our strength,” he added.
President Buhari expressed happiness with the changing attitude of young people to agriculture, with many earning respectable incomes, urging all of those without regular incomes to return to the farm.
In his remarks, Hon. Yusuf Bello Mai’ Aduwa, one the leaders of the delegation, thanked Nigerians for giving the President a second mandate to lead the country for another four years, stressing that he will not let the country down.
Mohammed Saleh, another community leader, said the communities under the Daura Emirate were grateful to the President for signing a bill to establish a Federal Polytechnic in Daura, after they had complained that the area needed a tertiary institution to encourage the youth to pursue higher education.
In her remarks, Hajiya Talatu Nasir, a Permanent Secretary with the Ministry of Information, said President Buhari’s government had empowered many women, with many already owning businesses like poultry and livestock farms.
The Daura community offered special prayers for the President, urging him to pursue the vision for a better Nigeria with the fear of God, courage to stand by the truth always, and mindful of the needs of the poor and underprivileged.