Akwa Ibom State Governor, Umo Eno, has tasked each Local Government in the state to give up 50 to 100 hectares of land to be committed to empowering the state’s populace on agribusiness.
Eno gave this order during the September edition of his monthly Covenant Service held on Friday at the Government House, Uyo.
According to Leadership, he said the development was part of measures for promoting a return to the farm as a component of his A.R.I.S.E development agenda and panacea for rescuing the people from growing hardship posed by fuel subsidy removal.
He said he was not leading a communist state where citizens depend on handouts from the government for survival, and encouraged residents in the State to embrace agriculture at various scales to improve food security.
He stated, “Times are hard but the question is how long will we continue on palliatives? How can we help ourselves? We have green land everywhere and good weather. Let’s go back to agriculture. This is not a communist country where you wake up and there’s milk in front of your house.
“Agric business is serious business. Our young people have to get involved. That is what will help us. All these interventions cannot really help us for too long. If you collect rice today, you’ll finish it. Will you keep coming back and wait on government for another? Truth be told, we cannot continue like that.”
In the new agriculture drive, Governor Eno emphasised that LGs are expected to “donate 50 to 100 hectares of land for the state government to engage people, provide seedlings and other input with readiness to offtake the proceeds.”
He revealed that in addition to the 7200 bags of rice and N2 billion received from the Federal Government, the state government has purchased 100,000 more bags at N40,000 unit cost with each of Akwa Ibom’s 2772 villages to get 40 bags.
In other activities of his administration ahead of 100 days in office, the governor announced release of N2Bn for settlement of gratuities of retired local and state governments employees.
He said primary and secondary school students would get free exercise books, indigenes of the state in tertiary institutions to enjoy N10,000 bursary, civil servants to receive N10,000 non-taxable allowances for three months while informal sectors operators like transporters and traders would operate ticket-free on all Fridays within the next three months.