By Rotimi Ojomoyela – Ado-Ekiti
Founder of Afe Babalola University Ado-Ekiti (ABUAD) Aare Afe Babalola has thrown his weight behind the Federal government over the continuous closure of the nation’s land border, saying the action would in no small measure improve the economy of Nigeria.
Babalola said unrestricted inflow of foreign goods into the country has crippled the nation’s economy, through massive unemployment and capital flight.
The legal luminary added that some of the products being imported into the country through the nation’s various land borders are substandard and constitute serious drain to the nation’s economy.
Babalola said this yesterday in ABUAD, at the closing ceremony and award of grants of the batch two for the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) project, where youths from Ekiti and Oyo states were trained on how to increase incomes through agriculture-based investments.
No fewer than 160 youths in the two batches were awarded financial grants of N180,000 each after the training to establish their businesses.
While reiterating the importance of farming to the country, he advised the Federal government not to open the border so as to enable farmers put forward their products for food security.
According to him, “The borders were so porous in the past which allow some many people to bring products into Nigeria which were not even allowed to be sold in their countries.
“The closure of the borders is helpful to the farmers because farming is the mainstay of this country and we have to maintain it.
“The only way to do so is to close the borders. I support the Federal government in this regard. They should not open it in the interest of our economy.”
He stated that he was committed to eradicating poverty among the youths, adding that the training would help in transforming their lives and be financially independent.
” I am keenly and committedly interested in the happiness of our people. I knew what poverty means because I grow up in it and I overcome it. I don’t people to go through that part.
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“There is poverty now because we have abandoned agriculture. That is why I have decided to spend my time, resources and energy to eradicate poverty in the land. Indeed, I want the state to be the centre of agriculture, in education and above all in peace.
“We are training these youths in batches. The first were trained development of crops, the second batch in farming.
“We are not limiting it to one aspect of agriculture and we are going to continue until we met our target where vast majority of youths will make way for themselves through agriculture, ” he said.
The project manager, Professor Amos Onasanya revealed that the training in partnership with International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA) was put together for enhanced technical and business skills for improved incomes and employment opportunities among the youths.