What Nigeria needs to worry about, says Obasanjo
• Sultan Wants More Funds For Research And Extension Services
Former President, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo, has said that Nigerians should be worried of the nation’s changing demography, economic stagnation and retrogressing agricultural production.
The elder statesman said this at the just concluded Nigeria Zero Hunger Forum (NZHF) held in Sokoto. He noted that by 2050, the country’s population would be over 400 million and that the increase in population would put pressure on food production, as there would be more people to feed.
Obasanjo said Nigeria should begin to think and proffer solutions on how to overcome this impending challenge.
Former Adamawa State Governor, Alh. Murtala Nyako, who reechoed Obasanjo’s position, also canvassed for greater youth involvement in agriculture.
Nyako underscored the importance of nutrition to peace and security of the nation, stressing that a well-nourished population is calmer than one that is not.
He added that the restiveness being experienced across the nation is correlated to poor nutrition among children, who end up stunted and with low intelligence quotient.
The Sultan of Sokoto Mahammadu Saad Abubakar, while commending Obasanjo for taking the driver’s seat urged the Federal and State governments to fund agricultural research and extension services.
Deputy Director General for Partnerships and Delivery at the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA), Dr. Kenton Dashiell, said the task of ending hunger required partnerships and collaboration among all actors in the agriculture value chain.
While reading the communiqué, Dashiell disclosed that the participating states, Benue, Borno, Ebonyi, Ogun, Sokoto and Kebbi, of the Zero Hunger Forum are on track and have made progress towards the attainment of zero hunger.
Commending the efforts of Sokoto State government in agriculture financing, Dashiell said Sokoto and Kebbi were among the few states in the country that have met the Maputo Declaration agreement of allocating 10 per cent of their annual budgets to agriculture.
Efforts by Sokoto State to tackle malnutrition was also appreciated, especially its’ Ready-to-Use Therapeutic Foods (RUTF) programme that addresses malnutrition in children.
The State Governor, Aminu Waziri Tambuwal, reiterated commitment of the states to end hunger.
He promised to constitute a technical committee on zero hunger to help the state achieve its targets in the Sustainable Development Goals, especially goal number two also known as Zero Hunger.