Education Not An Automatic Ticket To Govt Jobs, Buhari Tells Nigerian Youths

 

President Muhammadu Buhari has told Nigerian youths to use their education and exposure to improve themselves and not see them as tickets to depend on the government. 

Buhari said this on Wednesday during an interview with Channels Television

“I wish when they go to school; when they work hard; when they earn their degree, they don’t do it thinking that government must give them jobs,” he noted.

“You get educated because an educated person is certainly better than an uneducated person even in identifying personal problems. So, education is not just meant to hang on to the government to give you jobs and then what the colonialists indoctrinated in us to believe – have a car, have a house; start work by 8:00 am and close by 2 pm.”

A file photo of President Muhammadu Buhari.

 

Aside from this, Buhari also spoke on a wide range of national issues including his decision not to sign the Electoral Act Amendment Bill.

READ ALSO: I Am Not Happy With The State Of Power In Nigeria – Buhari

Buhari had declined assent to the bill, citing the inclusion of the direct primaries mode of elections.

Speaking during the interview, he said he will sign the bill if the National Assembly makes the needed adjustment.

“All I said (is that) there should be options,” he said. “We must not insist that it has to be direct; it should be consensus and indirect.”

Asked if he would sign if the lawmakers effect the change in that direction, he affirmed, “Yes, I will!” I will sign.

“There should be options, you can’t dictate to people and say you are doing democracy. Give them other options so they can make a choice.”

Earlier in the interview, President Buhari had also reiterated his government’s resolve to tackle banditry in the country’s northwest region.

“So, I think the only language they understand – we have discussed it thoroughly with the law enforcement agencies; the security chiefs, the Inspector General of Police – is to go after them; the terrorists,” he added.

“We labelled them terrorists, are we are going to deal with them as such.”

Participate In Political Activities To Move Nigeria Forward, Peterside Tells Youths

 

President and founder of ANAP Foundation, Atedo Peterside has asked Nigerian youths to participate in political activities to move the country forward.

Speaking during an interview on Channels Television’s Newsnight which aired on Monday, Peterside said the young people should develop an interest in the nation’s affairs and be involved in the voting process.

According to him, a situation whereby the young people do not show interest in elections would mean them selling their birthrights to politicians.

READ ALSO: 2023: Zoning Presidency To South-East Will Stop IPOB Agitation – Northern Group

“Many more people have to get involved in that activity. A large volume of educated youths deciding to opt out, saying I have no more interest, I won’t vote and register. When you do that, you have surrendered your birthrights to the politicians who get elected,” he said.

President/Founder of ANAP Foundation, Atedo Peterside speaks during an interview on Channels Television’s Newsnight on December 6, 2021.

 

“On getting into office, he can do whatever he likes because you have told him you are not interested. So, you are not interested in your own future. So why do you expect him to deliver on your own future?

“I think more people will get politically active. It may not necessarily be businesspersons. The people whose destiny is on the line are the youths. They are the ones who must take part in the process right down to register to vote.”

He also reacted to the Federal Government’s plan to remove fuel subsidy by June 2022, noting that it is the job of leaders to present convincing arguments to a large number of people who might otherwise have opposed the removal of the subsidy on the price of petrol.

According to him, such arguments must be compelling enough to make the people accept the choice of a painful but long-term beneficial decision.

This is even as he explained that currently, some of those making the argument and are in leadership positions give confusing signals.

Youths Need Investments And Not Handouts, Says Adesina


 

The President of the African Development Bank, Akinwumi Adesina has advised Nigeria to make its youths drivers of the new economy through the creation of Youth Entrepreneurship Investment Banks.

He said that making Nigerian youths the drivers of the economy will put new financial ecosystems around them to fully unleash their potential.

Mr. Adesina stated this on Monday at the opening of a two-day Mid-Term Ministerial Performance Review Retreat organized to assess progress made towards the achievement of the nine key priorities of the President Muhammadu Buhari administration.

“We must move away from so-called ‘youth empowerment programs.’ The youth do not need handouts. They need investments,” the former minister added. 

“This is why the African Development Bank is currently working with central banks and countries to design and support the establishment of Youth entrepreneurship investment banks”.

He explained that 75% of youth in Nigeria are under the age of 35 and more decisive actions are needed to turn this demographic asset into an economic dividend.

“We must unleash the potential of the youth of Nigeria. Today, over 75% of the population is under the age of 35,” he explained. 

“A young, productive, youthful population, with access to education, skills, social protection, affordable housing, and medical care, will power Nigeria’s economy, now and well into the future”.

He said the establishment of the new financial institutions, run by young, professional, and highly competent financial experts and bankers will develop and deploy new financial products and services for businesses and ventures of young people.

According to him, several African countries have already indicated their readiness to establish Youth Entrepreneurship Investment Banks, hence Nigeria should make its youth the drivers of the new economy.

“One of the industries that will dominate the future is the FinTech industry. By 2030, 650 million Africans will have smartphones, and 50 million will have 5G phone networks. Digital payments, mobile money accounts, savings, credit, and money transfers will revolutionize businesses.

“Nigeria’s FinTech is surging as one the leaders in Africa today. Google recently announced plans to invest $1 billion in Africa. That tells you something: they see the demographic and mobile tech growth and how this will rapidly change the future of e-commerce, trade, health, and finance.

“The African Development Bank will support the Federal Government efforts, being led by Vice President Osinbajo, on Digital Nigeria. The Bank is preparing investment in the Digital and Creative Enterprises (I-DICE) program, a $600 million investment to be co-financed with several partners, which will promote entrepreneurship and innovation in the digital technology and creative industries,” Adesina said. 

He said Nigeria should take the FinTech industry as a major driver of the economy and invest heavily in digital infrastructure and as an economically resurgent country, Nigeria must be a more peaceful and secure nation.

“Today, more than ever, several African countries are spending a significant share of their budgets on security, displacing the resources needed for development.

“Increasingly, the investible space in many parts of Africa, including Nigeria, is shrinking due to insecurity and insurgencies. Yet, resources are not there to enable countries to cope with these rising challenges. We must recognize the strong linkages between security, investment, growth, and development,” the AfDB boss noted. 

“This is why the African Development Bank is working on developing Security-Indexed Investment Bonds to help African countries and Regional Economic Communities to mobilize resources to tackle these challenges”.

The AfDB leader added that the Security-Indexed Investment Bonds will raise funds on the global capital markets to support countries to upgrade their security architecture, rebuild damaged infrastructure in conflict-affected areas, rebuild social infrastructure and protect zones where there are strategic investments.

Mob Razes Sokoto Commissioner’s Home, Destroys District Head’s Properties

Some of the properties destroyed at the district head’s residence.

 

A mob has razed the residence of the Sokoto State Commissioner of Career and Security Affairs, Colonel Garba Moyi.

The house, located in Isa Local Government Area of the North West State, was burned down on Tuesday.

Sokoto Police Command Public Relations Officer Sanusi Abubakar confirmed the attack on Wednesday, explaining that arrests have also been made following the incident.

While narrating how the incident took place, the police spokesman said a peaceful gathering was organised by some residents of the area to discuss the way forward over security issues.

READ ALSO: Sokoto Govt Shuts Down Telecom Networks In 14 LGs Over Banditry

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The gathering, according to Abubakar, was organised in good faith and resolutions were to be forwarded to appropriate quarters for further action.

A Toyota car (right) was damaged when the mob attacked the district head’s residence.

 

However, he said some bad elements hijacked it for a protest that went violent, leading to the unfortunate incident.

Sources in the area said after torching the commissioner’s home, the youths also stormed the residence of the District Head and Sarkin Gobir of Isa, Nasiru Ahmed, destroying vehicles and other items.

The attackers had earlier razed a commissioner’s residence.

 

Meanwhile, the Sokoto State Commissioner of Police Kamaludeen Okunola has ordered a full scale investigation to ensure those involved are prosecuted. He also warned residents of the state against taking laws into their hands.

Nine Key Things To Know About Jubilee Fellows Programme

 

A few days ago, President Muhammadu Buhari launched the Nigeria Jubilee Fellows Programme (NJFP). The scheme is part of his administration’s effort to create more jobs and stimulate the economy.

The initiative which was put together in partnership with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), is expected to avail jobs to about 20,000 graduates.

Here are nine other key things young people need to know about the NJFP.

12 Months Fully Paid

The NJFP is a 12-month fully paid programme designed to enhance graduates’ employability; build leadership, entrepreneurial and on-the-job skills; and expose them to real-world business environments.

Placements

Talented young Nigerians who are chosen for this project will be placed in private and public sector organisations across the country where they will be mentored by highly seasoned professionals in various fields.

Requirements

Participants should be at most 30 years old and should possess a Bachelor’s Degree from any discipline. The graduate year, however, must not be earlier than 2017.

Those interested must have completed the mandatory National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) or have a certificate of exemption from the NYSC.

Work Experience

Participants need no work experience as the fellowship is designed to help fresh NYSC graduates who often find it challenging to break into the professional world.

Other Attributes Fellows Must Have

Those who long to be a part of the programme must not be currently engaged in any employment. They must demonstrate interest/commitment in their chosen career field.

Also, they are expected to demonstrate interest/commitment to contributing to Nigeria’s socio-economic development. Having excellent time management and a professional attitude would come in handy. Of course, good verbal and written communication skills are very important.

What Regions Can Apply

All eligible Nigerians regardless of the region they come from can apply for the fellowship which is free of charge; no bias of tribe. This is to ensure that organisations and youth from all corners of the country can participate through merit-based selection.

How Fellows Are Connected/Paid

According to the NJFP’s official website, participating companies are connected directly to graduates to find the best young talent that Nigeria offers.

Once matched, they are able to welcome a talented and skilled young person to their team for a year, with the salary covered by the programme.

Eligibility Of Host Organisations

To become eligible hosts, organisations must provide up-to-date regulatory documentation including –

CAC Certificate of Registration

Provision of an official letter of interest detailing a clear understanding of the objectives of the NJFP and commitment to supporting the programme by accepting fellow placements.

Provision of clear descriptions of available role requirements.

Agreement to provide mentorship support to fellows through dedicated sessions with existing experienced professionals within their organisations.

Agreement to abide by the guidelines of the programme and to sign a code of conduct.”

There must also be non-discrimination policies on gender, ethnicity, religion, and disability status, as well as Policies Against Sexual Harassment, Exploitation and Abuse (PSHEA).

Furthermore, the firm needs to have no criminal records or conviction or any affiliation with proscribed organisations i.e., terrorists, drug traffickers, illicit trade, child labour.

Registration And Monitoring

For the first cohort, registration/application begins 6th of September, 2021. According to the government, transparency and accountability are cornerstones of the NJFP.

The programme is equipped with a robust financial management system and internal controls to enable financial transfers to be made directly to participating youths.

There will be a team whose job it is to monitor and audit programme management, procurement and outsourcing with a unique monitoring and evaluation framework to ensure the NJFP stays accountable to its participants, partners and long-term objectives.

Plateau Attack: Youths Storm Assembly, Govt House With Victims’ Corpses

 

The city of Jos and its environs experienced palpable tension on Wednesday following the killing of several persons in Yelwa Zangam village in Plateau State.

Vexed by the latest assault which left many others injured on Tuesday night, a group of young persons stormed the Plateau Specialist Hospital where the corpses of victims had been deposited and evacuated them into vans.

They later proceeded with the corpses to the State House of Assembly, blocking all roads leading to the area.

Despite the address by the Speaker of the House who sued for calm, the youths were not satisfied with the response and proceeded to the Government House where the corpses of the victims were laid.

READ ALSO: Plateau Govt Re-Imposes 24-Hour Curfew On Jos North LGA

In the meantime, authorities in Plateau have summoned an emergency Security Council meeting presided by the deputy governor, Professor Sonni Tyoden, to discuss the present situation in the state.

 

A Brutal Attack

Several persons were reportedly killed on Tuesday at Yelwa Zangam in Jos-North Local Government Area. Sources alleged that herdsmen invaded the community at the dead of night, leaving several people – mostly women and children dead.

Many others were injured in the wake of the attack and several houses were burnt.

Channels Television gathered during a visit to the State Specialist Hospital on Wednesday that no fewer than 16 corpses were at the morgue, while the injured were receiving treatment.

According to witnesses, the corpses at the funeral parlour do not include another set of over 15 persons that were burnt in their houses and have yet to be evacuated.

A group of angry youths stormed the Plateau State House of Assembly on August 25, 2021, to protest the killing of villagers at Yelwa Zangam.

 

Peace Threatened?

The latest attack tends to add salt to injury and further threatens to cut the brittle thread that currently holds the peace within Plateau State.

It comes just days after Governor Simon Lalong imposed a curfew on Jos North, Bassa, and Jos South Local Government areas following an attack on Rukuba Road in Jos North.

A curfew became imperative after 23 people who were travelling from Bauchi en-route Jos to Ikare in Ondo State were killed and 23 others were left injured.

At noon on Wednesday, the Plateau State Government ordered a reinstatement of the 24-hour curfew earlier relaxed in Jos North Local Government Area.

According to Governor Lalong, the 24-hour curfew will come into force from 4pm on August 25. He said the decision is a proactive one aimed at nipping further attacks and reprisals in the bud.

It is expected that the curfew will also enable security agencies deploy their operatives appropriately to maintain security as the search for the attackers of the villagers continues.

The Governor appealed to the citizens of Jos North to cooperate with the government by abiding by the 24-hour curfew, as security agencies have been mandated to ensure that those who violate the curfew are arrested.

Lalong further noted that the 6pm to 6am curfew in Jos South and Bassa LGAs still remains in place until further notice.

“Only people on essential duties such as health personnel, journalists, fire service and para-military and others, are to be exempted from the curfew but should carry means of identification with them at all times,” the governor stated in a communique.

He called for calm, saying he is seriously grieved by the attacks and sympathises with the victims.

The governor also urged the people to show restraint and allow the government to handle the matter, lest the state experiences an implosion.

Zamfara Youths Block Highway, Destroy Vehicles In Violent Protest

Youths block the Gusau – Kaura Namoda Highway in Zamfara State in protest on May 31, 2021.

 

Angry youths armed with weapons have staged a violent protest along the Gusau – Kaura Namoda Highway in Zamfara State.

Eyewitnesses told Channels Television that the protesters occupied the road very early on Monday over the incessant attacks by bandits in their communities.

One of the commuters who was trapped along the road explained that the youths blocked the highway along Kurya junction and began to destroy public vehicles travelling along the road.

They condemned the unending insecurity and attacks which the people of the area have suffered at the hands of the bandits.

While the demonstration was ongoing, police operatives were said to have dispersed the protesters to ensure the free flow of vehicular movement on the road.

READ ALSO: How Bandits Attacked Five Zamfara Communities, Killed Over 20 People – Witnesses

Residents of Zamfara have been living in fear as a result of the continued attacks by bandits on communities in various parts of the state.

One of the recent attacks was the killing of over 20 people when bandits stormed five communities in two local government areas of the state about two weeks ago.

The affected communities – Gabaken, Rigiya, Donroyi, Torawa, and Riwoji are located in Zurmi and Kaura Namoda local government areas of the state.

Addressing a press conference on April 2, the Commissioner of Information in Zamfara, Ibrahim Dosara, revealed that no fewer than 2,619 people were killed in the state between 2011 and 2019.

He added that bandits abducted 1,190 people from various parts of Zamfara in the last eight years, and over 100,000 people were displaced from their ancestral homes as a result of bandits’ activities, while 14,378 livestock were rustled within the period.

Dosara noted that the Zamfara State government has spent the sum of N970 million on payment of ransom to bandits to secure the release of kidnapped victims since 2011.

He lamented that there were more than 100 different camps and over 30,000 bandits operating across Zamfara and beyond, but the state government’s would continue with its amnesty programme for bandits as part of measures to secure its people.

Insecurity: Buhari Asks Local Leaders To Warn Youths Against Acts Of Violence

A file photo of President Muhammadu Buhari.

 

President Muhammadu Buhari has called on local leaders to advise the youths in their various domains against acts that can harm the country in any way.

Reacting to the attacks on communities and government facilities in parts of the country, he asked the leaders to warn the young Nigerians against being used to incite violence.

“If we attack institutions guarding us, who will protect us in future emergencies?” the President queried in a statement on Sunday by his Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu.

He also condoled with all those who have lost family members due to what he described as the ‘madness’ going on in parts of the country.

As Muslims in Nigeria join their fellow worshippers across the world in preparation for the Eid-el-Fitr, President Buhari directed that celebrations should be limited due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

In the statement, Shehu noted that the President would not be travelling to his country home in Daura, Katsina State for Eid-el-Fitr – a day that is celebrated to mark the end of Ramadan, the month of fasting.

According to him, President Buhari, his family, personal aides, members of the cabinet, and service chiefs who choose to remain in Abuja will congregate in full compliance with COVID-19 protocols at the forecourt of the Presidential Villa to observe the Eid prayers.

The presidential aide added that the celebration would be held low-key, stressing that there would be no traditional Sallah homage to the President by religious, community, and political leaders.

“As was the case last year, the President encourages such leaders to be content with modest celebrations at home in view of the pandemic,” the statement said.

President Buhari thanked the Ulama – also known as Islamic clerics – and all other religious (Muslim and Christian) leaders who have continued to pray for the wellbeing of the nation and its people.

Youths Apprehend Six Suspected Kidnappers In Kwara

A file photo of the hideout of the suspected kidnappers apprehended by youths in Kwara State.

 

Six suspected kidnappers have been apprehended by youths in Odo-Owa, a town in Oke-Ero Local Government Area of Kwara State.

Channels Television gathered that the suspects have been terrorising the people of the area for some time before they were intercepted on Friday.

The suspected kidnappers, whose gang leader was identified as one Ramoni, were said to have kidnapped four persons on Wednesday in Odo-Owa.

Among their victims was a Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC) officer, and the suspects demanded eight million naira as ransom before they would be released.

Sources said the families of the victims had raised and paid a sum of two million naira as ransom to the suspected kidnappers as the first tranche.

They were on the verge of paying the balance of six million naira when the youths in the area pounced on the suspects and detained them.

An eyewitness noted that the suspected kidnappers have been handed over to the security agents in the area.

When contacted, the Police Public Relations Officer in Kwara, Ajayi Okasanmi, said the command has not been officially informed about the development.

The Sector Commander of FRSC, Jonathan Owoade, also told Channels Television that the officer said to have been abducted was not from Kwara but Ekiti State, and cannot make a comment.

Umahi To Ebonyi Youths: Remove Your Minds From Politics, Succeed First

Ebonyi State Governor, Dave Umahi speaks during a meeting in Abakaliki on February 1, 2021.

 

Ebonyi State Governor, Dave Umahi, has cautioned youths of the state against indulging in politics, telling them to be successful first.

The governor gave this directive on Wednesday during an Ebonyi State #EndSARS Summit hosted by the state government in Abakaliki.

Umahi said, “Remove your minds from politics and succeed first. Those who are manipulating politics are the wealthy men and women.

“That man that made every one of us be a councillor, go and find out his situation. Has he made any progress? The answer is no.

“I hear government should provide jobs. Let us even say jobs are provided, N30, 000 minimum wages. In one year, it is N360, 000. What are you doing with that?”

READ ALSO: Return £4.2m Ibori Loot To Delta State, Reps Tell FG

The governor said he is under pressure by the people in his village, noting that his predecessors had employed people from their villages while being at the helms of affairs in the state.

He told the youths that his decision not to follow the path of ex-governors of Ebonyi State was not impoverish the people who he said were the future leaders.

Governor Umahi recalled that while he served as the Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the state, the executive members of the party were business people.

“You can only give what you have. Some of you run after the politicians, some of them never went to school. Some of them have nothing to offer, they brainwash you.

“You become their thugs, their families are overseas. It is our own, what are you doing at a party? A party you know in Ebonyi State is me,” he added.

The governor also charged youths in the state to remain steadfast in the pursuit of their dreams.

The event brought together youths from the 13 local government areas served as an avenue to inculcate right values that aim to make them better citizens.

Nigerian Leaders Should See Young People As Assets, Says Mohammed

UN Deputy Secretary-General, Amina Mohammed, speaks during a visit to the secretariat of the Nigeria Governors’ Forum (NGF) in Abuja on November 17, 2020. Photo: Twitter- @NGFSecretariat.

 

It is important for Nigeria’s leaders to see young people as assets or else they will not eventually have a peaceful retirement.

The Deputy Secretary-General (DSG) of the United Nations, Amina Mohammed, gave the advice on Tuesday when she visited the secretariat of the Nigeria Governors’ Forum (NGF), as part of her tour of some West African States. including Ghana, Sierra Leone, Chad, and the Niger Republic.

A statement from the NGF Secretariat spokesperson, Abdulrazaque Bello-Barkindo, noted that the advice was in reaction to the #EndSARS protest in some parts of the country.

In her response to pleas by the governors for assistance from the UN, Mohammed said the organisation does not write cheques but creates an environment for those who have the cheques to do so.

She, however, commended the governors for the mature manner in which they handled the demonstrations, although she regretted that some ugly influences eventually contaminated the protests.

Welcoming the DSG to the secretariat, NGF Chairman and Ekiti State Governor, Kayode Fayemi, listed some of the challenges of governance in the country and how the COVID-19 pandemic affected Nigeria’s economy.

He stated that while the virus hit Nigeria later than other countries, its impact has been ravaging with over 64,090 confirmed cases and 1,154 deaths.

Other impacts, the governor noted, included the fall in oil prices, contracting tax base, loss of sources of livelihood, unemployment, youth restiveness, increasing inflation rate, worsening exchange rate, and decline in productivity due to necessary lockdown measures initiated globally and nationally.

UN Deputy Secretary-General, Amina Mohammed, pose for a photograph with Governor Kayode Fayemi (Ekiti), Governor Umaru Fintiri (Adamawa), and Governor Hope Uzodinma (Imo), at the secretariat of the Nigeria Governors’ Forum (NGF) in Abuja on November 17, 2020. Photo: Twitter- @NGFSecretariat.

 

Governor Fayemi explained that as a responsive group, members of the NGF worked collaboratively, co-opting ideas and welcoming support from critical stakeholders, including partners and the private sector.

“In the wake of the pandemic, we worked with the Federal Government to ensure the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), Presidential Task Force (PTF), National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) and the Federal Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development got all the support they required in delivering swift containment measures,” he told the DSG.

He added, “At the National Economic Council (NEC) level, we developed a COVID-19 response plan encompassing health, economic and socio-economic, immediate to medium-term measures needed to combat the virus and its impact.”

The NGF chairman said the pandemic compelled governors to see the “need for retooling ourselves on how best to become accountable to the electorate.”

Adamawa State Governor, Umaru Fintiri, and his Imo State counterpart, Governor Hope Uzodinma, attended the meeting in person while many others joined by zoom from their respective states.

President Buhari Calls For More Youth Inclusion In Agriculture, Says It Will Boost Economy, Earnings

 

President Muhammadu Buhari has urged agencies involved in agriculture to further streamline their priorities to include more youths in driving modern methods of farming.

He also gave an assurance that an enabling environment will be created for full participation for all those interested.

The President made the call on Tuesday in Abuja at the launch of the National Young Farmers Scheme, designed by the National Agricultural Land Development Authority (NALDA) to spur more youth interest in farming, the President said agriculture remains the backbone of the Nigerian economy, being the largest contributor to the nation’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP).

“We will do more to expand, modernize and revolutionize our agriculture, which is our most important asset,” he was quoted to have said in a statement signed by media aid, Femi Adesina.

“I have directed that all NALDA’s abandoned farm estates be retrieved to enable thousands of our young men and women to be engaged in farming. This Administration will be achieving agricultural mechanization through this scheme and I am confident that Nigeria under my watch, we will achieve food security in producing most of what we eat. In good harvest years we may even export our surpluses and earn foreign exchange.”

President Buhari also noted that the resuscitation of NALDA will make Nigeria food sufficient and in a few years, the country will begin to earn more revenue from exports of agricultural commodities.

“By virtue of my passion and desire for agriculture and also as a farmer myself, I am directly supervising NALDA as an authority under the Presidency.

“I am asking the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and State Governments to give full cooperation to NALDA in its activities. With the success of Anchor Borrowers programme spearheaded by the Central Bank of Nigeria and new programmes to revive cotton, palm products and cocoa, the next few years will see a vast difference in our agricultural performance.”

The President said all the necessary approvals that NALDA requires for effective take-off, beginning with areas of adequate land preparation for crop farming and livestock rearing, had been given, charging the Executive Secretary/CEO of NALDA and his team to continue to live up to expectations and increase their activities in local communities.

“I am told that, so far, 4,333 families have benefited from this scheme and it is expected that many more individuals and families will benefit as the programme is rolled out.

“I now flag off the National Young Farmers’ Scheme. It is my expectation that the Scheme will take in young Nigerians, graduates and non-graduates alike, and be part of this Government’s effort to reduce unemployment and contribute to the regeneration of agriculture and our economy.”

The Senate President, Ahmed Lawan, who was present at the event, commended the President for what he described as his steadfastness in repositioning the agricultural sector since coming to office.

He further noted that there was a need to encourage agricultural agencies, like NALDA, to work closely with the research institutions in Nigerian universities.

On his part, the Executive Secretary/CEO of NALDA, Mr Paul Ikonne, said the discovery of oil in the country hampered the growth of agriculture and increased poverty in rural communities, assuring the President that the concerted effort to revive interest in farming will tackle poverty and create wealth.

Ikonne said the resuscitation of NALDA after close to 20 years of abandonment will go a long way in reducing unemployment in the country, especially among the youth.

“Our focus is to engage 1,000 farmers from each of the 774 Local Government Areas, thereby creating 774,000, direct employment annually,” he added.

Goodwill messages were given by a representative of the Young Farmers, Fatima Usman Musa and Denmark Ambassador to Nigeria, Amb. Jesper Kamp.

Governors of Abia State, Okezie Ikpeazu; Kebbi State, Abubakar Atiku Bagudu and Yobe State, Mai Mala Buni; also participated in the event.