By Johnbosco Agbakwuru
Abuja —President Muhammadu Buhari has said the directive to the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, to stop providing foreign exchange for food importation was to improve agricultural production and attain full food security.
The president also said he would use his second term in office to improve the lives of Nigerians by paying close attention to the poor and those on the lower rung of the society.
Malam Garba Shehu, the president’s spokesman in a statement, said Buhari stated this when he hosted All Progressives Congress, APC, governors to Eid-el-Kabir lunch at his country home in Daura, Katsina State, yesterday.
According to the president, the foreign reserve will be used strictly for diversification of the economy and not for encouraging more dependence on foreign food.
“Don’t give a cent to anybody to import food into the country,” he said.
The president noted that some states such as Kebbi, Ogun, Lagos, Jigawa, Ebonyi and Kano had 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, Buhari said: “We have achieved food security, and for physical security, we are not doing badly.”
The President 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.
To monitor performance of ministers
He said the incoming ministers would be guided to meet the targets of the APC-led government for the people.
President Buhari added that regular monitoring of their performances and scaling up of targets would be done by the Office of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation.
Buhari gave the assurance of attending the Presidential Policy Retreat organised for the ministers by Office of the Secretary to the Federal Government.
He insisted on compliance with laid down targets on key sectors of the economy that would directly impact on the livelihood of Nigerians.
Challenges faced by states enormous—Govs’ forum
In his remarks, the Chairman of the Nigerian Governors’ Forum, Gov. Kayode Fayemi of Ekiti, said the president’s sense of justice and fairness had been inspiring to governors.
He said the challenges faced by states “were enormous,” but noted that governors had remained undaunted, assuring the president of strong support and “the very best effort” to overcome the obstacles.
Chairman of the Progressive Governors Forum, Gov. Atiku Bagudu of Kebbi, appreciated the President for the unique leadership style of maintaining a healthy relationship with governors on individual and collective basis.
I’ll use second tenure to fight for the poor—Buhari
Meanwhile, President Buhari, yesterday, in Daura, said he would use his second term in office to improve the lives of Nigerians by paying close attention to the poor and those on the lower rung of the society.
Buhari, who stated this while 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, said he was convinced that majority of Nigerians understood who he was and his mission, on account of which they returned him for a second term in office with larger margin of votes than 2015.
He said: “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 people 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 in a statement by the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Mallam Garba Shehu, emphasized the important place of agriculture under his administration, promising to appoint a minister who was knowledgeable and 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 said.
President Buhari expressed happiness with the changing attitude of young people to agriculture, with many earning respectable incomes.
He urged those without regular income to return to the farm.
In his remarks, Yusuf Bello Mai’Aduwa, one of 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 would not let the country down.
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 such as 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.