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FG’s 9-point agenda: Cross River residents give assessments on agric., security

Some farmers and residents of Cross River have commended the Federal Government over its programmes in the agricultural sector.

They expressed their views while speaking with Our Correspondent in Calabar on President Muhammadu Buhari’s 9 – point agenda among which are agricultural development and provision of security.

Mr Etim Nakanda, Chairman, All Farmers’ Association of Nigeria (AFAN) in the state says that the present administration has performed well in the sector, through its policies and programmes.

Nakanda commends the Federal Government for initiating programmes meant to assist farmers in boosting crop production.

“I must commend the present administration for its various programmes in the agricultural sector. It has really done well,” he said.

Nakanda however, advised the government to put into practice most of its policies, saying that, there is little impact at the local government levels.

“I must say that, the efforts of the government are rarely felt in the local government areas.

“There are no fertilizer; no input distribution and above all, the average farmer still uses hoes and cutlasses,’’ he said.

Nakanda appealed to the Federal Government to provide tractors for each local government area in Nigeria for mechanized agriculture.

Mr. Oliver Ntui, Chairman, Rice Farmers Association of Nigeria (RIFAN), Cross River branch also praised the Federal Government’s rice intervention programme, saying the initiative saved the nation during the COVID-19 lockdown.

Ntui told Our Correspondent that the local rice production sustained Nigerians during the lockdown.

“Everywhere was locked down without movement and importation but the local rice production sustained the economy and I want to say thank you to Mr. President, ” he said.

According to him, through RIFAN, and the Central Bank of Nigeria’s (CBN) Anchor Borrowers Scheme 2020, rice farmers in the state received various inputs.

Ntui said the inputs include organic fertilizer, agro-chemicals, knapsack sprayers and pumping machines which boosted rice production geometrically.

Also speaking, Mr. Godshield Kanjal, Chief Executive Officer of Kalmz Farms, lauded the government’s agricultural initiatives.

“I think the Federal Government is really trying its best but more still need to be done, especially in ensuring that these lofty programmes get to rural farmers.

“This will attract women and the youth to embrace farming,’’ Kanjal said.

In his own assessment, the Deputy Speaker of Cross River House of Assembly, Mr. Joseph Bassey, urged President Muhammadu Buhari to restructure the security system in order to safeguard lives and properties of Nigerians.

Bassey, who represents Calabar 1 Constituency notes that insecurity has continued to threaten the peace and economic growth of the country.

He notes that with an effective security network, businesses will thrive and development of all sectors will be enhanced.

Bassey emphasizes the need for security chiefs to improve on intelligence gathering to stem the tide of insecurity in the country.

He laments that most Nigerians have been displaced from their ancestral homes due to activities of bandits and Boko Haram, especially in the North East region.

The Deputy Speaker suggests that the nation’s security apparatus should be the overhauled to bring in new hands with fresh ideas to tackle insurgency and banditry across the country.

“For me, I think there is a lot to be done in the area of security. The military and all relevant security agencies must rise up and stop these insurgents from killing innocent Nigerians.

“As a country, we need to have a sincere approach towards dealing with matters of insecurity. The issue of killings across the country is taking another dimension and these should be a thing of concern to all of us.

“Nigerian soldiers are one of the most gallant military forces in the world when it comes to ground battle. I want to urge the military to come out with new operational strategies towards handling these issues of banditry and Boko Haram.

“The President should overhaul the security chiefs and bring in new hands because the present ones seem to be running out of ideas or lacking the necessary zeal to go further with the operation,’’ Bassey said.

Another lawmaker, Mr. Hilary Bisong, who represents Boki 2 State Constituency in the state assembly, praises the President for the rehabilitation of the Obubra-Ikom Federal Highway in the state.

Bisong however, appealed to the President to release more funds to contractors to enable them to return to site and continue their work.

He notes that good roads network drives commerce and other economic activities and also prevents road crashes, hence the need for more attention to be paid to road infrastructure.

“Cross River is blessed with abundant natural resources that generate revenue to the Federal Government coffers.

“It is not pleasing to see that our roads have become death traps years after years. The quarries in Akamkpa are taken to other states, yet our roads have remained in a deplorable state,” Bisong laments. 

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