Federal Executive Council (FEC) has directed Ministry of Petroleum Resources to do everything within its powers to beef up crude oil production capacity back to 2 million barrels per day.
Minister of National Planning, Udo Udoma, while briefing State House Correspondents after the weekly FEC meeting presided over by President Muhamamdu Buhari, said the government was also worried over the unimpressive performance of the agriculture sector based on the latest National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) report.
Government revelations has shown that the level of massive killings and insecurity around Nigeria’s major food producing regions have now began to provide visible negative impacts on the nation’s food security.
Udoma, while reviewing the NBS report, said government , though was pleased with the 2.05% performance of the none oil sector, “Council was a bit concerned” with the performance of the agriculture sector.
According to him, “Council was a bit concerned about agriculture as well as crude oil and so we intend to intensify efforts in agriculture which has been affected by some of the insecurities in some parts of the country and some of the clashes”
Udoma noted further however that the clashes has been containedand therefore “expect agriculture to pick up again.”
It will be recalled that Benue State government had lamented that the state has lost well over N4b to the unrest caused by the constant raids in farming settlements within the state, known for being the “ food basket of Nigeria”
This is just as many of the villages have remained ravaged while the displaced farmers are still dwelling within makeshift camps provided by the government, unable to go back to their farmlands following government’s inability to guarantee their safety.
But Udo Udoma said “We expect agriculture to go back to the 3 percent which we have been experiencing before.”
He also expressed hopes that “ crude oil will return to 2 million barrels par day saying that “ we are going to intensify work to get oil production back to over 2 million barrels a day”
“The economy grew by 1.5 percent in the second quarter but what is encouraging to council is that non-oil has continued to grow.
“The non-oil sector grew by 2.05 percent and we are very encouraged by this. In fact this is consistent with the economic recovery and growth plan objectives.
Deputy Governor of Benue State Benson Abounu while speaking with BusinessDay on the issue lamented that federal government has abandoned the farming communities following failure to implement the proposed N10b planned for rebuilding farming communities ravaged by the Fulani herdsmen
It will be recalled that Vice President Yemi Osinbajo on his visit to Benue in May, promised that federal government had set aside the sum of N10 billion to rebuild the farming areas ravaged by insecurity.
According to Osinbajo, “The President has given me the responsibility of ensuring the implementation of these task. So, at the Food Security Council, the President approved N10 billion to rebuild and reconstruct communities in Benue and other states affected by the crisis.
“We intend to commence that work as soon as possible so that you, the displaced persons, can return to your communities to rebuild your lives and families. “My people say ‘when a king’s home is destroyed, it would be better when rebuilt’, that is what will happen to you the victims of the crisis.
“I must state that we are not by this doing you any favour, it is your rights as Nigerians and it is our responsibility to do it. “I want to assure you that your sufferings have come to an end, this is going to be the beginning of the good God has for you. Your weeping has come to an end.” he said
But Abounu said “ nothing has been heard concerning the promises” since the promise was made
In a quick response to Businessday enquiry on the issue, a source close to the office of the Vice President who spoke on conditions of anonymity told BusinessDay that the “papers have been signed and awaiting disbursement.
“I can assure you that the matter has not been abandoned. You know how bureaucracy work. As l speak to you now, the papers are on the table of the Minister of Finance. l can assure you that it has been signed by the President and is awaiting disbursement”.