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Officers from the Nigeria Defence College visit Governor Rochas Okorocha

-         as governor blames current economic challenges on the total neglect of agriculture by past leaders

IMO STATE GOVERNMENT HOUSE, OWERRI

PRESS RELEASE

Governor Rochas Okorocha has said that the current economic challenges facing the nation came as a result of total neglect of the Agricultural sector by the country’s past leaders, stressing that before the advent of oil, agriculture provided over seventy per cent (70%) of the employment and resources of the country and seventy-five percent (75%) of the country’s foreign reserve.

Governor Okorocha spoke when the officers from the Nigeria Defence College (NDC) paid courtesy call on him at the Government House on Monday October 10, 2016 explaining that before now, with agriculture playing dominant role in the economy and resources of the nation, the country was regarded as a rich nation but regretted that the discovery of oil made Nigerians lazy and the resultant effect is what is called recession today.

The governor told the officers who were in Owerri for a course with the Theme “Enhancing Food Security for National Development; The Role of The State Government”, that the subject-matter of the course was timely and key, given what the nation is passing through at the moment.

His words, “I think what we call recession has been over dramatized.  I say so because agriculture had remained the Nation’s main pivot upon which all the sectors of our economy revolve and because this vital sector has been neglected, it has given rise to what is called poverty today including the rise in the dollar and the fall of Naira.”

He added “Most of the times in this country, we treat the symptoms of the disease rather than the disease itself.  Rather than discussing more about this recession, let us discuss more about the disease that is bringing us back, one of which is the total neglect of the agricultural sector of the economy by our past leaders.  Before the advent of oil, agriculture provided over 70% of the employment and resources of our land and 75% of our foreign reserve and that time we were a rich nation.  Oil made us lazy which led us into this “recession.”

Governor Okorocha continued, “Your topic is key at this moment because if we get agriculture right, there will be lesser importation and dollar will have no choice but to fall.  I encourage the federal government to come out with a policy statement that will help drive the agricultural sector forward.”

According to him “Imo as a state is keying into the revitalization of the agriculture sector as we have already gone deep in our palm plantation and we are moving speedily into rice farming.  This will help sustain our local economy in the years to come and drive out hunger and poverty in the state.”

Leader of the team from the National Defence College (NDC), Air Vice-Marshal H.C. Okpala in his speech earlier said that the NDC is the highest military institution in the country, and a strategic military institution where potential strategic leaders are trained, people that will soon be conferred with the onerous responsibility of managing the affairs of our armed forces and other para-military institutions.

He said “The theme of the NDC Course 25, 2016 is “Enhancing Food Security For National Development:  The role of State Governments…  The course will afford the participants opportunity to access, suggest and recommend solutions to the federal and State governments for implementation.”

Air Vice-Marshal Okpala also said that the team also came to Imo to see what the state is doing in the area of food security and production.  He pleaded for assistance where necessary from relevant quarters of the state government especially in the areas of data accessibility and site visitations.”

Sam Onwuemeodo

Chief Press Secretary to the Governor

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