Niger State Governor, Hon. Mohammed Umaru Bago, has called on youths in the state to go back to farming. He said the government will ensure 250,000 hectares of land are cultivated and urged the youth to take advantage of the arable land.
The governor made the charge yesterday during the flag-off ceremony for the distribution of improved seedlings, fertilisers, and farm inputs to 640 farmers across the 25 local government areas of the state.
The programme was a partnership between the Niger State government and the World Bank-funded Agroclimatic Resilience in Semi-Arid Landscapes (ACReSAL).
He said the government was determined to ensure that each local government cultivated about 10,000 hectares of land for various crops. He ordered the relevant ministries to facilitate the noble idea as part of his administration's strive towards developing agriculture.
At the event, the governor thanked the partners for their support, disclosing that the state will meet its counterpart funding to facilitate more interventions in the state. He then called on the beneficiaries to make judicious use of the items and avoid the temptation of selling them.
He said each of the 640 beneficiaries was to get two bags of 50kg NPK fertiliser, one bag of 50kg urea fertiliser, two litres of herbicide, one litre of pesticide, and 10kg of rice and maize, as well as 5kg of improved sorghum seeds.
He reiterated his administration's resolve to reach out to bandits terrorising the state, disclosing that his government has created the Ministry of Nomadic and Pastoral Affairs and has appointed a Fulani man into the cabinet as commissioner to bring them into governance.
He said this was aimed at finding solutions to the security challenges in the state by ensuring that the ungoverned areas are occupied and monitored by the herders, who are mostly in the bushes.
The National Coordinator of ACReSAL, Abdulhamid Umar, highlighted that about 700 million dollars have been earmarked for the project to be tapped by the 19 northern states in Nigeria and the Federal Capital Territory, and that the project was also targeted at improving the agricultural sector to enable farmers to boost agriculture to ensure food security.
The permanent secretaries of the ministries of agriculture, environment, and state planning commended the partnership, saying it will improve agricultural yields and the living conditions of farmers in the state.
The Archbishop of Lokoja Province and Bishop of Minna Diocese, Anglican Communion, Most Revd Daniel Yisa, has charged women not to push their husbands into desperation by making the home uncomfortable for their spouses.
In a sermon delivered during the opening service for the five-day retreat for clergy wives, organised by the Church of Nigeria, Anglican Communion, and hosted by the Cathedral Church of St. Peter's Minna, the bishop said that it was only when leaders have peace at home that they will be able to concentrate on their duties.
Daniel Yisa frowned at church leaders who always want to be served by the members of their congregation instead of being servants themselves, adding that many church leaders were making access to their offices and homes difficult for the people they were shepherding.
"Some of us who are church leaders treat our fellow priests with disdain; our members do not have access to our homes even as we have free access to God; what type of leadership do we portray to the public?" he queried.
He admonished leadership at all levels to live a life worthy of emulation and advocated for constant discipleship.
In her address, Mothers' Union President and the wife of the Primate, Church of Nigeria, Most Rev'd Henry Ndukuba, Mrs. Angela Ndukuba, said that as partners in shepherding God's people, they were expected to look up to the Holy Spirit to enable His words to make an impact on their lives so that, by extension, they impact the women and girls under their tutelage as priest wives.
Mrs. Ndukuba charged the women to partner with and support their spouses to effectively shepherd God's people.
The senior clergy wives' retreat is an annual event that brings together senior wives of clergy of the Church of Nigeria and the Anglican Communion from across the country with a view to having a cross-fertilisation of ideas, experiences, and testimonies concerning faith in Christ and also equipping them to build the body of Christ to which they are ministers.
This year's event, which has as its theme "Shepherding God's Flock," taken from the books of Psalms 23:1 and 1 Peter 5:1-4, emphasises the importance of leading by example and protecting the shepherd they lead.
The five-day retreat is expected to be wrapped up on Saturday, August 19.