Home News Obasanjo Identifies How Nigeria Can Reduce $20b Spent On Food Imports

Obasanjo Identifies How Nigeria Can Reduce $20b Spent On Food Imports

Chief Olusegun Obasanjo, ex-President of Nigeria..
Chief Olusegun Obasanjo, ex-President of Nigeria..

Nigeria’s annual spending of $20 billion on food imports can be reduced by exploring farming opportunities in the over 80 per cent arable lands in the country, former President Olusegun Obasanjo has said.

Speaking during the Africa Methodist Council of Heads of conference summit and Women’s Movement Leadership summit at Lekki in Lagos, the former President attributed the huge expenditure on food imports to the country’s inability to produce sufficient food to feed its population.

Obasanjo, who was the chairman of the conference’s public lecture with theme: Leadership in a Volatile, Uncertain and Ambiguous (VULCA) World, said Nigeria neither got enough foods for its citizens nor produced sufficient food to feed its population.

The former President decried the development, saying it worsened after the discovery of crude oil, which shifted government’s interest from agriculture to oil exploration.

He said: “We spend almost $20 billion annually to import food in a country where we still beat our chest and say 80 per cent of our arable land is not yet cultivated. The area that is cultivated is not used to maximum capacity. We need leaders who will lead us to the Promised Land.

“The discovery of oil in different parts of Nigeria was, to some extent, a misfortune for the country. Oil made Nigerians to abandon agriculture, and oil is a wasting asset, which can finish any day. But agriculture is renewable.

“We have to go back to agriculture. I believe that if we need to have anything to bring employment to our teaming population which is becoming restive, frustrated and dangerous; if we are going to curb that, it is giving them skills, empowerment and employment. If we don’t, they will soon come to attack us in our homes in daytime, and that will be a matter of time.”

Obasanjo also said there was no race in the world that has suffered like Africans through slavery, slave trade and colonialism.

“In America, some schools are teaching that slave trade did not happen and that the white and the black went to America in search of the green grass. We didn’t go there in search of green grass; we were shipped there from Africa. And if we allow them, we will be enslaved again. What form it will be, I do not know,” he said.

The ex-President said he had given himself the task of working with some people on both sides of the Atlantic to keep slave trade in history.

The conference’s keynote speaker/General Secretary of World Methodist Council, Dr. Ivan Abraham, said Africa needed quality leadership that would carry all its citizens along and protect the vulnerable.

He said Africa needed to rise together without anyone being left behind.

According to him, the litmus test for any government policy is to ascertain to what extent it protects the most vulnerable within the society.

Abraham noted that without good leadership, poverty would continue to be a challenge in Africa.

The chief host/Prelate of Methodist Church of Nigeria, Dr. Oliver Ali Aba, described the church as the voice of the voiceless, hence the need for the conference to gather people to examine political, socioeconomic, and religious challenges affecting the continent.

Credit: thenationonlineng.net

author avatar


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here