Buhari banks on border closure to revive Agriculture
•says Nigeria’s future lies in education
President Muhammadu Buhari has expressed the hope that the current closure of Nigeria’s land border will rekindle the nation’s agriculture sector.
This followed the reduction in smuggling activities, especially rice, two months after the federal government took the action.
According to a statement issued by in Abuja on Monday by Garba Shehu, Senior Special Assistant to the President (Media & Publicity), President Buhari’s administration was confident that the directive will save the country billions of naira on import bills.
Receiving a delegation of Katsina State Elders Forum at his country home in Daura, the President said the country’s domestic fuel consumption had dropped by more than 30 percent, following the closure of land borders.
According to the statement, President Buhari said he had not given any date for the reopening of the land border until the situation improves.
He commended the actions taken by the President of Niger Republic, Muhammadou Youssoufou, including the dismissal of officials and a ban on the use of the country as a dumping ground for Nigeria-bound smuggled goods.
President Buhari noted that the measures taken by the President of Niger were helpful and supportive.
Buhari acknowledged the hardship of border communities following the ban on the sale of fuel at stations 20 kilometers to the border, a restriction that also saw to the closure of all fuel stations in his native home, Daura.
”Farmers must be protected. Dishonesty is deep-rooted in the country. Otherwise, the border closer would not have been warranted,” he said.
According to him, the restriction was a temporary measure as the Nigerian Customs Service needed to ascertain outlets involved in the real sale of products and those being used for smuggling.
President Buhari told the delegation that he intends forging ahead with poverty alleviation schemes and the agricultural and livestock reforms started by the administration in the first term since the election was behind him and a government now in place.
He explained that the reforms, especially those relating to the settlement of livestock herders would take time to accomplish, assuring that his deliberate choice of tested farmers as his past and current ministers of agriculture was informed by the need to carry his vision through.
Earlier in his remark, the representative of the Chairman of the Elders Forum, Alhaji Aliyu Saulawa, commended the achievements of President Buhari and Governor Aminu Bello Masari of Katsina State in curbing the menace of bandits, kidnappers and cattle rustlers.
He, however, drew a long list of requests which included a special intervention fund to assist victims of attacks, completion of the 10 megawatts wind power project in the state, setting up a North-West Development Commission and setting up of Ruga farm settlements.
He said the farm settlements were urgently needed.
The Elders Forum also made a case for numerous infrastructure projects for the state, as well as for keener federal government’s scrutiny of benefits of social investment schemes.
President Buhari promised to look at the requests.
The President added that his constituency is the whole country, and he is determined to be fair to all, including those that voted him into the office and those that did not.
Meanwhile, President Buhari has observed that Nigeria’s socio-economic and political salvation will come from education, urging citizens to embrace learning as a way of life while the government will do its best to provide access.
The President, who was honoured in his country home, Daura, to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the founding of Community Secondary School, Daura, said he became an orphan at a young age, but his nine years in boarding school and joining the army shaped his life.
The President and five others founded the Community Secondary School as community service.
“I spent nine years in the boarding school where the teachers showered us with love, care, and total commitment. They treated you like their own children.
“They commended you when you did well, and flogged you on bare buttocks if you misbehaved,” said the President.
He praised the current management of the school, which is now renamed Pilot Secondary School, Daura, for maintaining high standards.
President Buhari implored the old boys association to carry on the good work they were going, leading up to the current position of the school.
The leader of the team, Alhaji M.T Bature, the Sarkin Kudu of Katsina, said the vision of the founding fathers, including the President, had ensured the success of so many sons of the state, with many growing up to become professors, engineers, doctors and military generals.