By Johnbosco Agbakwuru
ABUJA—THE Council of State, yesterday, endorsed $1 billion to boost agriculture and empower livestock farmers, including the Fulani herdsmen.
The council also recommended inter-state security joint operations to flush out bandits, especially those operating from the forests.
Governor Abubakar Badaru of Jigawa State, alongside Governor Ibikunle Amosun of Ogun State and Willy Obiano of Anambra State, stated this while briefing State House correspondents after over six hours Council of State meeting, presided over by President Muhammadu Buhari at the Council Chamber, Presidential Villa, Abuja.
The meeting, which was attended by three former heads of state was centred on security, economy and electoral matters.
The governors said the Council of State endorsed the $1 billion to increase agriculture funding from the current $200 million.
The financial assistance to cattle farmers, they said, was not designed to support the rich livestock producers but movement of the existing herdsmen causing problems and incessant clashes with farmers.
The fund will be disbursed through Anchor Borrower and Commercial Agricultural Credit Scheme, CACS Programmes, to encourage diversification of the economy and promote food security.
Governor Ibikunle Amosun of Ogun State said council deliberated extensively on how to diversify the economy, efforts being made to pull Nigeria out of doldrums, efforts that had been made to move Nigeria out of recession and the progress being made.
He said while council commended efforts that were being made to revive the economy, especially how Nigeria moved from monolithic economy to a diversified one, it advised that agriculture funding should be improved from $200 million to $1 billion.
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. It noted how Nigeria moved the budget from about N4 trillion to about N8 trillion . It also noted that when this President came in, the prices oil had nose dived from $112 in 2014 to $30 in 2016.
Briefing on security, Governor Abubakar Badaru of Jigawa State, said council was briefed by the National Security Adviser, Maj. Gen. Babagana Mungonu (retd).
He said: “On the security situation in the country, we received a very long brief from the National Security Adviser, ranging from farmers/herdsmen clashes, Boko Haram, militancy in the Niger Delta, kidnapping and cattle rustling.”