…calls for increased participation in agricultural ventures
Akwa Ibom State Governor, Pastor Umo Enọ, has urged residents in the state to embrace agricultural revolution championed by the A.R.I.S.E Agenda blueprint of his administration by returning to the farms, saying the measure is a panacea to the prevailing hardship occasioned by fuel subsidy removal.
Governor Eno was speaking during the September edition of the monthly Covenant Service held Friday, at the Banquet Hall, Government House, Uyo, .
The Governor reasoned that he was not leading a communist state where citizens depend on handouts from government for survival and encouraged residents of the State to resort to agriculture at various scales to increase availability of food for all.
He explained that his administration has taken steps to reduce the cost of governance by cutting on excesses and ploughed back the proceeds into the society to address the enormous intervention needs it is facing.
Speaking further, he said, in addition to the 7200 bags of rice and N2 billion received from the Federal government, the state government has acquired 100,000 more bags of rice at a unit cost of N40,000, adding that each of the 2, 772 villages in the state will get 40 bags and announced that the state government has also released N2 billion for settlement of gratuities of retired local and state governments employees.
He said Primary and Secondary school students will get free exercise books, Students of the state origin in tertiary institutions are to be paid a N10,000 bursary, civil servants will receive N10,000 non-taxable allowances for three months while operators of informal sectors like transporters and traders will operate ticket-free on all Fridays within the next three months.
Nevertheless, Governor Eno stressed that such palliative interventions can only proffer temporary solutions, as it can not be sustained for a long time and encouraged young people to channel their energies into the agricultural ventures promoted by the state government and shun restiveness and public disturbances.
“Times are hard but the question is how long will we continue on palliatives? The answer is how can we help ourselves. We have green land everywhere and we have good weather. The best answer is for us to go back to work. Let’s go back to agriculture. This is not a communist country where you wake up and there’s milk in front of your house.
“Agric business is a serious business. Our young people have to get involved. That is what will help us. All these interventions cannot really help us for too long. If you collect rice today, you’ll finish it. Will you keep coming back and wait on government for another? Truth be told, we cannot continue like that.”he stated.
In the new agriculture drive, Governor Eno said local governments are expected to donate 50 to 100 hectares of land for the state government to engage people, provide seedlings and other input with readiness to off-take the proceeds.