By; Bala B. Bitrus, Minna.
States and federal governments must evolve practical approaches beyond paper work to ensure food security for the teaming population of the country, the Etsu Nupe and Chairman, Niger state council of traditional rulers, Alhaji Yahaya Abubarkar has said.
The first class monarch argued that so much emphasis on policy formulations in the country’s agricultural sector without practical approach to guaranteeing food availability had wrecked so much pains and frustrations on the citizenry in the post independent Nigeria.
The Etsu Nupe therefore called for the implementation of such agricultural policies that would guarantee immediate end to hunger and poverty which have been killing Nigerians in great numbers every year.
He said though governments always come up with such policies supposedly to end hunger and poverty, much of such policies have not truly helped in checking the downward slide in the economic fortunes of the country.
Etsu Yahaya argued further that the various paper works on agriculture in the country appears to be slow in yielding good results even as such poor policies have continued to take their tolls on the citizens because the vast majority of the populace do not seem to be feeling any impact.
The Etsu Nupe made the observation during the opening of the 6th Regular Meeting of the National Council on Cooperative Affairs, (NCCA) which was held in Minna on Tuesday.Represented by the Emir of Borgu, Alhaji Haliru Jikantoro, the Etsu Nupe said Nigerians were getting agitated by too much paper works and policies that do not seems to answer the questions on the lips of the citizens.
“What the mass of the population have been hearing have not added anything in alleviating the sufferings of the people so they are agitated” he noted.He therefore urged participants drawn from across the 36 states of the federation and Abuja to evolve practical approaches that would quickly end poverty and hunger. This he said was the only way to restore the confidence of Nigerians on their leaders.The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Chief Audu Ogbeh had disclosed in his address that available statistics indicates that there were at least 185,000 registered Cooperative Societies involving at least 10 million households, farming families in Nigeria.Ogbe was represented at the occasion by Mrs. Janet Jiya. The theme of this years’ Council Meeting is “Strengthening of the Cooperative Sector in Nigeria” for which he noted was timely as the federal government was already diversifying and focusing on agriculture as the major source of revenue for Niger and from its years of over dependence on petroleum.The Minister disclosed that the federal Ministry of Agriculture is partnering with other relevant Ministries, Departments and Agencies, the Central Bank of Nigeria, the National Insurance Commission and other critical stakeholders to promote a harmonised integration for effective cooperative scheme to ensure successful operation of Cooperative societies according to global best practices.
The Minister lamented over encumbrances placed on Cooperatives for credit facilities despite various windows provided by the present administration.
He said such low access to credit facilities to Cooperative Societies was largely responsible for the ravaging hunger and poverty in Nigeria.Commissioner of Investment, Commerce and Industry in Niger State, Hajiya Ramatu Mohammad Yar’Adua had in her welcome address at the occasion, disclosed that Niger State had worked out modalities to ease access to credit facilities by targeted Cooperative Societies in the state.
With the legislative backing obtained by Governor Bello, Niger State has successfully established a financial agency for cooperative societies which has led to a functional ‘Niger Cooperative Financing Agency’ (NICOFA) which directly coordinates and empowers various categories of rural women and artisans to generate employment.She said at present, there were over 20, 000 Cooperatives Societies registered in the state with a membership strength of over 485,000 persons who are restructured into sectors for various government interventions.