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Council of State approves $1bn for agric, livestock support for herdsmen


The Council of State on Thursday endorsed $1 billion to boost agriculture and empower livestock farmers, including the Fulani herdsmen.

The council also recommended inter-state security joint operations to deal with armed bandits, especially those operating from the forests.

State Governors: Abubakar Badaru (Jigawa); Ibikunle Amosun (Ogun) and Willy Obiano (Anambra), stated this while briefing State House correspondents after over six hours Council of State meeting, presided over by President Muhammadu Buhari at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.

Former President Olusegun Obasanjo, former Head of State, Gen Yakubu Gowon and former Head of State, Gen Abdulsalami Abubakar attended the meeting and exchanged pleasantries with President Buhari.

But former President Goodluck Jonathan, former Military President, Gen Ibrahim Babangida and former President Shehu Shagari did not attend the meeting.

The meeting centred on security, economy and electoral matters.

The governors further disclosed that the Council of State endorsed the $1billion to increase agriculture funding from the current $200million.

The governors added that the financial assistance to cattle farmers was not designed to support the rich livestock producers but movement of the existing herdsmen causing problems and incessant clashes with farmers.

According to the governors, 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 Amosun also stated that the council deliberated 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 added that while the 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.

Governor Amosun 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 $1billion be pumped into agriculture. It noted how Nigeria moved the budget from about N4trillion to about N8trillion . It also noted that when this President came in, the prices oil had nose dived from $112 in 2014 to $30 in 2016.

Briefing journalists on security, Governor Badaru 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.”

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Ihesiulo Grace

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