Council of States has recommended that an additional $1 billion be spent on the agriculture sector from its present $200 million.
The decision was reached at its meeting presided over by President Muhammadu Buhari at the presidential villa, on Thursday.
The meeting, which was the third since the inception of the present administration, lasted for about six hours and was attended by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo and three other former Heads of State including Gen. Yakubu Gowon, Olusegun Obasanjo and Gen. Abdulsalami Abubakar.
Notable absentees included former Presidents Shehu Shagari, Ibrahim Badamasi Babangida, Goodluck Jonathan and former Head of Interim National Government, Ernest Shonekan.
The fund is expected to be disbursed through Anchor Borrower and Commercial Agriculture Credit Scheme (CACS) Programmes, to encourage diversification of the economy and promote food security.
Governor Ibikunle Amosun of Ogun state who was one of the governors who briefed State House correspondents on the outcome of the meeting said the meeting deliberated extensively on how to diversify the economy and efforts being made to pull Nigeria out of doldrums.
He said while council commended efforts made to revive the economy through diversification.
He said: “Council advised that we improve on the funding on agriculture, that the paltry sum of $200 million, when compared to what is being pumped into the oil sector, is insignificant.
“Council recommended that at least about $1 billion be pumped into agriculture.”
Amosun said Council recalled that at the inception of the administration, it had lean finances because of the low price of crude oil.
He added that Council appreciated the efforts of the minister’s agriculture and budget and national planning “on the efforts they are giving to Mr President and agreed they should continue in what they are doing,”
He further noted: “Council advised that planting should be done all year round and not only during planting seasons and that we should grow what we will need, what we will eat and eat what we grow. The era of wasting our very scare foreign exchange on everything that we will need is over.”
Amosun said Council also noted that Nigeria had moved 24 places up in the ease of doing business but added that there is a lot more to be done.
Also speaking on national security, Jigawa Governor, Abubakar Badaru, said Council was briefed by the National Security Adviser, Maj. Gen. Babagana Mungonu on the issues of farmers/herdsmen clashes, Boko Haram, militancy in the Niger Delta, kidnapping and cattle rustling.
According to him, “Farmers/herdsmen clashes were discussed thoroughly and we learnt that this takes three dimensions.
“First is the real farmers/herdsmen clashes, where the normal herdsman moves around with his cattle and get into a farmers land and eats up his crops.
“In some situations, it’s pure banditry. Some of the pastoralists that are not herders, attack, steal and kidnap and that has to be defined as such.
“Some of them rustle cattle and move into the deep forests. And because of the thickness of the forests responses are usually very difficult. That was also discussed today and solutions were proffered on how to get deep into the forests, to check those bandits that hide and continue to commit havoc.
“Third, aspect usually classified as farmers/herdsmen clashes is also the settlers and indigenes clashes like in the Southern Kaduna.
“Some migrant farmers or herders stay in an environment for a very long time and when you have such clashes, they are also classified as farmers/herdsmen classes.
“So, we understand and acknowledge these three aspects and all have different approaches to solving the whole problem. And from the discussions today, a lot has been done, solutions have been proffered and the government believes the solution is near.
“The Minister of Agriculture also presented a position on how to resolve the first part of the farmers/herdsmen clashes, that is the actual migrating herdsmen that pass through towns and farms, eats up crops in the farms and create a lot of problems.
“He proffered a lot of solutions ranging from those states that have already designated cattle routes, grazing reserves and activating the grazing reserves to ensure the farmers and herdsmen live in harmony. That is for those states that have the capabilities to do this.
“And in the states that do not have the capabilities to do this, ranching was proffered and the federal government has promised to support the states and indeed the Fulanis or the livestock producers to settle in one place and do businesses like it is done in a modern way.
“Already, Kaduna State has visited Denmark with some Fulani leaders, to study a kind of livestock production with the aim of establishing same in the country.
“We believe it is possible and profitable to do and those states that want to key into this option can do so.
“Generally, we believe that every state has its own peculiar problem and each state will be analyzed and solutions will be proffered so that these farmers/herdsmen will be a thing of the past.
“That is what has been discussed and we believe that with the committee has shown at the council to bring this to an end is so clear and we believe we will put an end to these frequent clashes as most of the Governor were in council.”
The Anambra Governor, Willy Obiano said Council approved the appointment of two non-legal practitioners to the Federal Judicial Service Commission and a national electoral commissioner for INEC and the 23 members of National Population Commission.
The meeting was also attended by former Chief Justice of Nigeria present at the meeting are Mohammed Uwais, Idris Kutigi, Alfa Belgore and Aloma Mukhtar.
Governors present were those of Sokoto, Delta, Adamawa, Imo, Benue, Lagos, Nasarawa, Abia, Bauchi, Jigawa, Kebbi, Plateau, Kano, Wike, Akwa Ibom, Edo, Ekiti, Kogi, Zamfara, Osun, Ogun, Niger and Ebonyi.
Bayelsa and Enugu states governors are represented by their deputies.
Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami, was also in attendance.
Officials from Independent Electoral Commission (INEC) led by the chairman, Professor Mahmud Yakubu and the Central Bank of Nigeria led by the governor, Godwin Emefiele, were invited to brief the council on some issues.
The council, which comprises president as chairman and vice president as deputy chairman, has as members; all former presidents and Heads of State all former Chief Justices of Nigeria, President of the Senate, Speaker of the House of Representatives, all state governors and Attorney-General of the Federation.
Its duties include advising the president in the exercise of his powers with respect to the National population census and compilation, publication and keeping of records and other information concerning the same; prerogative of mercy; award of national honours; the Independent National Electoral Commission (including the appointment of members of that Commission); the National Judicial Council (including the appointment of the members, other than ex-officio members of that Council); the National Population Commission (including the appointment of members of that Commission).
The council also advises the president whenever requested to do so on the maintenance of public order and on such other matters as he may direct.
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