By Chinyere Anyanwu
The Akwa Ibom State Governor, Umo Eno, has called on Nigerians to embrace agriculture, stating that it provides a lasting solution to fuel subsidy removal.
Eno made the call at the weekend during the September edition of the monthly Covenant Service at the Government House Banquet Hall, Uyo. He urged Nigerians to embrace the agricultural revolution championed through the ARISE Agenda blueprint of his administration by returning to the farm.
According to him, the farm is a panacea to the prevailing hardship in the country caused by the fuel subsidy removal.
The governor said he was not leading a communist state where citizens depend on handouts from government for survival. He, therefore, urged Akwa Ibom residents and Nigerians to resort to agriculture at various scales to increase food supply in the country. He said his administration had taken steps to reduce the cost of governance by cutting on excesses and ploughed back the gains to the society to address the enormous intervention needs it is facing.
“Times are hard but the question is how long will we continue on palliatives? The answer is, how can we help ourselves? We have green land everywhere and we have good weather. The best answer is for us to go back to work. Let’s go back to agriculture.
“This is not a communist country where you wake up and there’s milk in front of your house. Agribusiness is a serious business. Our young people have to get involved. That is what will help us. All these interventions cannot really help us for too long. If you collect rice today, you’ll finish it. Will you keep coming back and wait on government for another? Truth be told, we cannot continue like that,” Eno said.
He further disclosed that the state government had purchased 100,000 bags of rice at the cost of N40,000 each.
He said, “this is in addition to the 7,200 bags of rice and N2 billion received from the Federal Government.” He stated that each of the 2,772 villages in the state would get 40 bags, adding that the state government had also released N2 billion for the payment of gratuities of retired local and state government workers.
The governor also announced that primary and secondary school students would get free exercise books while students from the state in tertiary institutions would be paid N10,000 bursary.
Eno said that civil servants in the state would receive N10,000 non-taxable allowances for three months. He also said that operators of informal sectors, like transporters and traders, would operate ticket-free every Friday within the next three months.
He said that such palliative interventions could only proffer temporary solutions and would not be sustained for a long time. He, therefore, urged young people in the state and across the country to channel their energies into agricultural ventures and shun public disturbances.