By Clifford Ndujihe & Gabriel Ewepu
ABUJA—Africa’s richest man and President of Dangote Group, Alhaji Aliko Dangote, has raised the alarm over insecurity in the country, particularly kidnapping, saying investors are being scared away from the country.
Dangote made this known at the ongoing Agric Expo and Conference, organised by Nigeria Agribusiness Group in collaboration with other private and public sector agencies.
He was represented by Executive Director, Public Sector, Dangote Group, Mosul Ahmed, who spoke on ‘Challenges Facing Agribusiness Investors in Nigeria.’
He lamented the spate of kidnapping on the Kaduna-Abuja Expressway, which he said has made investors, who own commercial farms to practically abandon them for fear of being attacked or kidnapped.
It will be recalled that kidnapping has been on the increase across the country, particularly the Kaduna-Abuja Expressway, forcing the Inspector General of Police, Mr Ibrahim Idris to deploy a large number of policemen on that axis.
He said: “The security situation in the country is discouraging agribusiness investors. Most of the people that own large farms on the Kaduna-Abuja Road have abandoned their farms due to the menace of kidnapping.”
He also lamented bottlenecks in access to land by agribusiness investors, which he traced to the Land Use Act, and cautioned that if the Act was not revisited, it will impede the expected and desired diversification of the economy.
He therefore, advised that government at all levels should begin to work together, where necessary, on proactive approach, particularly on securing land for commercialised agriculture.
He also accused governments at all levels of lack of cooperation and protection of investors in the agricultural sector, noting that there is no synergy on inter-governmental relationship for better performance and productivity by the sector.
“Agriculture cannot thrive in this country, except there is cooperation between all the agencies of government. Inter-governmental cooperation is lacking in terms of galvanising the kind of support that investors need in the sector,” he stated.
Major kidnap cases in recent times
The polity is replete with an avalanche of kidnap cases. In 2016, Lagos State recorded 51 kidnap incidents. Some high profile abduction and kidnapping witnessed in recent times included that of Mrs. Margaret Emefiele, wife of Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN governor, Godwin Emefiele. She was kidnapped on September 29, 2016, and regained freedom two days after an intense manhunt by security agencies. Other prominent Nigerians who were kidnapped in recent times include: Lagos Monarch, Oba Oniba of Ibaland, Oba Yushau Oseni (July 16, 2016); Reverend Father John Adeyi (April 24, 2016), later killed by the abductors despite receiving about N2 million ransom; Osun State Permanent Secretary, Mrs Adebimpe Ogunlumade (April 21, 2016); Madam Beauty Siasia, mother of former Super Eagles player and coach, Samson Siasia (November 16, 2015); and former Finance Minister, Chief Olu Falae (September 21, 2015), who was released after an undisclosed amount of ransom was paid by his family.