From Mohammed Salisu in Birnin Kebbi
President Muhammadu Buhari, has restated the commitment of his administration to further restore the security of lives and property , expand food production, as well as bolster the general welfare of Nigerians.
President Buhari spoke on Thursday, at Argungu, Kebbi State, when he flagged off the Agricultural Show held at Argungu Stadium, Kebbi State.
The event is part of the activities lined up for the 60th Edition of the globally-acclaimed Argungu International Fishing and Cultural Festival that was last held eleven years ago .
The much-elated President noted that, the renowned UNESCO Heritage Festival could not hold since the past eleven years, sequel to the disturbing and obnoxious trends of insecurity, hitherto .
Buhari averred , ” happily, the festival is now back and it is back for good, and its revival is a strong indication that, the security situation had greatly improved.”
The President further expressed delight that, the National Food Security Programme headed by Governor Atiku Bagudu , was now yielding myriad of dividends .
According to Buhari ,” Nigerians have seriously and positively embraced all the programmes and policies of the Federal Government, as such , they are now able to feed themselves .
” Six years ago, we cannot conveniently boast of many large scale rice producing firms that now abound across the nation , as direct results if these policies .
” When we Nigerians our heads together, we can solve our problems . Many festivals bring Nigerians together, shore up our bonds and closeness.
” The Tourisim sector is however not yet fully developed and festivals like the Argungu International Fishing and Cultural festival should be supported by all Nigerians .”
Buhari lauded Governor Bagudu, Emir of Argungu, Alhaji Samaila Muhammadu Mera, the Information Minister, Alhaji Lai Mohammed , as well as all the Local Organizing Committee members for a diligent job.
Speaking, Gov. Bagudu scored Preaident Muhammadu Buhari high for transforming Nigeria into a self-sufficient country in rice production in just nearly five years .
Bagudu appreciated President Buhari for his special interest in Kebbi State, noting that, the people of the state had immensely benefited from the Central Bank of Nigeria’s Anchor-Borrower Programme.
The Governor appealed to Buhari to extend the programme to other staple crops, to enable farmers of other farm produce benefit from the invaluable gesture.
The governor said, ” the State Government in collaboration with NNPC was implementing an ethanol plant at Gwazawa in Zuru Emirate, Danko/Wasago Local Government Area.
” The festival was not celebrated for over ten years due to security challenges, however, under President Buhari’s leadership, patriotic and realistic policies were put in place which paved the way for the celebration.”
Bagudu futher lauded the Presidential Fertilizer Initiative which according to him, had brought succour to the farmers by making assorted fertilisers readily available across Nigeria.
On border closure, Governor Bagudu said , “you have closed it not because you are at war with other nations, but because of your patriotism.”
In his welcome address, the Emir of Argungu, Alhaji Sama’ila Muhammadu Mera, commended the Federal Government for the concerted efforts in addressing the security challenges that culminated in the conduct of the festival .
According to him, ” the concerted efforts made by the federal government in addressing the security challenges are what made the event realistic.
“We commend the federal government for improving the security situation in our country, and also the closure of borders that, the government deemed it as a measure to improve our economy and security in the country.
” We thank President Muhammadu Buhari for the launch of Anchor Borrower programme in 2015 that resulted in the establishment of rice processing mills, foreign investment and employment generation to our teeming unemployed youths in the state, ” he commended.
Mera further commended Governor Bagudu for his untiring efforts in making sure that the ABP was successful, as well as supporting the farmers with farm inputs and techniques for the improvement of rice production.
The Emir happily recalled that, the the fishing festival dated back to over 86 years ago.