Osinbajo inaugurates 200,000 capacity yam storage facility in Benue

• As Ortom calls on FG to stop free entry policy of armed herdsmen, says herdsmen have killed over 60 people in Benue since April

Vice President, Professor Yemi Osinbajo, on Tuesday, inaugurated the 200,000 Capacity Yam Storage Facility for Micro, Small And Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) Yam Market in Benue State to boost agriculture.

The storage facility located at Zaki Biam, headquarters of Ukum local government area of the state was built by the Federal Government and donated to Benue State government to promote agricultural value chain.

Inaugurating the project via virtual and online medium, the VP said it was part of the Federal Government’s determination to support the growth of small businesses across the country through the provision of critical infrastructure.

Prof Osinbajo noted that the Zaki Biam International yam market accounted for over 70 per cent of cultivated yams in Nigeria, revealing that over 200,000 trucks of yams go out of the market on a daily basis.

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He explained that the current status of the market would now help to serve as a meeting point for all regulatory bodies including Bank of Industry and other financial institutions to offer services that will enhance the expansion of agricultural production by MSMEs.

“The market has little storage facility hence the construction of the storage facility. However, our government will provide access to roads, solar street lights in the market. We have promised to construct homes for the displaced persons in the state and we will keep to our words,” Osinbajo said.

The Vice President commended Benue State for his support for the success of the project, saying the Zaki-Biam Yam Market remains the biggest in Nigeria.

Earlier, Benue State Governor, Samuel Ortom, called for review of the Economic Community Of West African States, ECOWAS Protocol on free entry for member countries in order to stop the influx of foreign herdsmen into Nigeria.

He urged the Federal Government to stop armed herdsmen from freely entering Nigeria, even as he also called for the arrest of leadership of Miyetti Allah Kautal Hore for making inciting statements and accepting responsibility for killings in Benue.

He said, “we are worried that with the Federal Government’s Economic Diversification Programme, there is a resurgence of armed Fulani herdsmen attacks on Benue communities especially in the rural areas.

“Between April and June this year, over 60 people have been killed by armed herders across the state. Benue alone is ready to provide food security to the entire country but activities of Fulani herdsmen militia had continued to thwart the efforts.

“I want to use this opportunity to remind Vice President of his promise that the Buhari administration would rebuild homes ravaged by militia herdsmen in Benue during his last visit to the state, thousands of displaced people are still living in Internally Displaced Persons camps.

“Let me from my deep heart commend President Muhammadu Buhari for the reconstruction and inauguration of the Zaki Biam yam market. This project has direct impact on millions of poor households and would go a long way in preventing post-harvest losses and ensuring food security,” Ortom said.


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