The former Vice-Chancellor of the Federal University of Technology, Owerri (FUTO) Prof Jude Njoku has contended that the rising insecurity in the country will not allow Nigeria to achieve its quest for sustainable agricultural development.
Presenting a public lecture organized by the Faculty of Agriculture, University of Nigeria, Nsukka (UNN), Njoku bemoaned the spate at which investment in agriculture is jeopardized due to insecurity.
According to him, the impact of insecurity on the agricultural sector has resulted in a decline in crop and livestock output and to an overall decrease in agriculture’s contribution to overall national Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in real terms.
“Reports of Nigeria’s GDP for the first quarter of 2021 show that growth in the agricultural sector slowed down from 3.43 per cent in the fourth quarter of 2020 to 2.28 per cent in the first quarter of 2021,” he said. Prof Njoku, who spoke on “National Insecurity and the Quest for Sustainable Agricultural and Economic Development in Nigeria” further lamented that increasing insecurity in the country has put inflationary pressure on food prices and worsened the poverty conditions of Nigerians. The professor of Agricultural Economics advised the government to improve on its strategy and invest in modern technological equipment in its fight against insecurity in the country.
He further suggested that national security architecture should be decentralized to enable states and local governments to make security-related decisions and take full responsibilities in their areas of jurisdiction.
While describing the practice of open grazing as “an outdated technology”, Njoku advised the Federal Government to support the ban on open grazing in order to end the famers-herders clash which is affecting the development of agriculture in the country.
In his remarks, the Dean Faculty of Agriculture, Prof Augustine Ani said that the lecture series was instituted to discuss topical issues that concern the development of agriculture in the country.
“Our aim is to contribute to the advancement of the agricultural agenda of the Federal Government through research and informed intellectual discuss,” he said.
Ani said that Nigeria’s foremost Faculty of Agriculture would continue to play its role in proffering solutions to challenges facing the agricultural sector in the country. Dr Nwajesus Anthony Onyekuru, Chairman of the lecture series said that prominent Nigerians would be featured in the coming months to discuss topical issues that would advance agriculture in the country.