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VON DG differs with Katsina monarch on poverty in North

By Leo Sobechi, Abuja
07 March 2022   |   4:01 am
The Director-General, Voice of Nigeria (VON), Mr. Osita Okechukwu, has dismissed claims by the Emir of Katsina, Dr. Abdulmumin Kabir Usman, that the rate of poverty in Northern Nigeria is increasing.

Osita Okechukwu

strong>Says Buhari’s policies will banish hunger

The Director-General, Voice of Nigeria (VON), Mr. Osita Okechukwu, has dismissed claims by the Emir of Katsina, Dr. Abdulmumin Kabir Usman, that the rate of poverty in Northern Nigeria is increasing. He disclosed that President Muhammadu Buhari hadlaid the foundation to banish hunger from the country.

The All Progressives Congress (APC) chieftain remarked that data from the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) had been posting positive indicators of steady economic growth.

Usman had, while receiving the entourage of Arewa Organisation Movement for Asiwaju, led by Senator Abu Ibrahim at his palace, declared that while Lagos State was prospering, the entire poverty in Nigeria resided in Northern Nigeria.

The monarch, who is the chairman of Katsina State Traditional Rulers Council, had stated: “I was in Lagos some two to three weeks ago, the first since 1967 and I have seen how Lagos’ commercial activities are transformed. I concluded that all the nation’s wealth is in Lagos. But when you come back here, the whole poverty of Nigeria is in the Northern part of the country. I say my mind, even if it is going to be a problem. I bear it even if it turns out to be a problem.

“I don’t speak from my mouth; I speak from my heart. Prophet Muhammad (SAW) said we should say the truth, and that if we can’t, we should keep quiet.”

Okechukwu told journalists in Abuja, yesterday, that Buhari, as a prudent farmer, had planted the seeds for economic prosperity in the North and, by extension, the entire country.

While insisting that Buhari used the greater part of his regime in office to lay the foundation for freedom from hunger, and declaration that we must produce what we eat, Okechukwu pleaded with the traditional ruler to exercise patience, knowing that seeds of buoyancy had sprouted and ready to start yielding fruits.

“I understand the frustration of His Royal Majesty. However, Buhari’s unprecedented investment in agriculture and infrastructure is aimed at wiping out poverty in Nigeria as a whole,” he said.

That is why he launched a programme to lift 100 million people out of poverty in 10 years,” Okechukwu noted. On the perception that the monarch spoke the mind of many Nigerians, who feel that Buhari has failed the country, Okechukwu contended that investment in agriculture and infrastructure would take some time to manifest their immense gross value.

He regretted that the palpable insecurity in various parts of the country tended to Buhari’s initiatives in agriculture and food security among other prosperity-enhancing economic policies and programmes.

“The enormous investment Buhari made in agriculture and infrastructure are the critical pillars holding the foundation for economic growth and prosperity of our dear country. As insecurity abates, the flowers of agriculture and infrastructure will flourish and bear fruits,” he added.