A community leader in Okpuje, Nsukka local government in Enugu State, Mr Sunday Ezema, has urged the Federal Government to invest more in agriculture to diversify the country’s economy.
Speaking with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Nsukka on Friday, Ezema recalled that before the advent of oil, agriculture was the major foreign exchange earner for the country.
He said that the present hunger and poverty in the country was not there in the 1970s when the economy was better.
“The level of poverty and hunger now was not there because agriculture received serious attention and every family had a farm or a garden,’’ he said.
Ezema said that it was unfortunate that when oil was discovered, the country abandoned agriculture and it became a profession for old men and women in rural areas.
“Today we are paying the price for that neglect because of the easy oil money that made our leaders to throw agriculture to the dustbin.
“Now oil has crashed in the international market; we have no option than to go back to agriculture.
“The government should, as matters of necessity, establish farm settlements in all the local government areas and pay those who will work there handsomely to attract others.
“It will be impossible for a country that cannot feed its citizens to achieve security and dream of becoming one of the best economies in the world by 2020,’’ he said.
The community leader said that with massive investment in agriculture, both local and foreign investors would be attracted.
“With massive investment in agriculture, the level of unemployment will reduce as the sector and other subsidiary industries will engage many hands.
“The level of armed robbery, kidnapping and other heinous crimes will reduce because the youths will be engaged in useful ventures,’’ he said.