By Bashir Bello
KATSINA – President Muhammadu Buhari on Monday expressed worry over the current insecurity bedeviling the nation saying kidnapping has now become an occupation and industry for the youths.
President Buhari represented by the Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Chief Audu Ogbeh stated this during the flag-off distribution of cotton seeds and inputs to 100,000 cotton farmers for 2019 planting season in Katsina.
Ogbeh who attributed the insecurity to lack of jobs for the youths was however quick to say that revival of the cotton production and the textile industries will help create more jobs.
According to him, “The mistakes of yesterday are causing us anxieties today. Our children are graduating from universities and polytechnics and they can’t find a job to do. Some will return home to another childhood begging you and myself for recharge cards, clothing because there are no factories, no agriculture programme, no industries and because government can no longer employ more workers because paying those who are working today is not easy.
“So our youths, our children have turned to a new industry which is causing fear in the heart of all of us, namely kidnapping, abduction and all kinds of crimes including rustling of cattle. How long can we endure as a country in this circumstances? How can we survive when kidnapping is a new occupation and a business? And what is the cause of this situation? Anger and frustration among our youths. The crisis was being borned by the disenchantment and anger among our children.
“The textile industry engages close to One and the half million people. The textiles in Kaduna, Kano, Ikeja, Aba disappeared and we became a nation of importer of textiles.
“Imagine how much we spend importing textile materials. All these are jobs that were here disappeared and the consequences are now what we are seeing, kidnapping, totally unreasonable violence.
“We became nation of importers. And we were told by some brilliant economist that it was cheaper to import than to produce. Of course, because of certain criteria, yes. But the cost of importation is the cause of crises we have today. Our children are angry, they have gone out of control and doing things which are frightening everybody. We have to change.
“We have to make fundamental changes in our approach to life. And agriculture has a key to solving many of the problems we are facing.
“We have to create jobs. We need to get every Governor on board supporting youths, supporting this programme because we have to create jobs and spread wealth. And in so doing we would find the peace and prosperity which President Muhammadu Buhari has been preaching.
“The good news however is we have a Central Bank Governor and his team who have decided that they must innovate and find new ways of supporting the Federal government to improve agricultural production.
“If CBN had not done this, this country’s disaster could have happened much faster. Farmer must have cheap credit. Every where in the world, agric credit is about 3%, in Nigeria, for nearly 30 years it is 20% – 25% agricultural interest rate. So there was complete decline in agriculture. We give thanks to CBN for their interventions.
“We are here in Katsina to start up a programme led by the Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN. It’s about reviving cotton. You know the story of cotton in Nigeria. The disappearance of cotton from the scene and the cost to the Nigerian economy in jobs and in money.
“I am particularly happy that the CBN has been leading way in finding funding for farmers.
“If this administration of the CBN had not decided to invent this method of by passing the obstacles and mountains standing in the way of Agriculture development, by now this country could have been far worst in situation than Venezuela. Because accessing credits has been the problem. And I commend him and his team for the courage in inventing what they have done by creating the anchor borrowers programme at one digit interest rate. It is one of the greatest things that happened in this country in the last 40 years.
“However, with the new launch of the cotton seeds, we give out to farmers here today, we believe that with this initiative, in a short while, we shall be back among the leading nation’s in textiles production because we are among the biggest consumers of textiles.
“Mr. President ask me to inform you that his commitment to revive of the Nigerian economy is unshaking. Improving on the Nigerian economy will never happen unless and until we revive the agricultural sector,” Chief Ogbeh however stated.