The government of Ireland has donated one million Euros to the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) of the United Nations for the emergency seed and tools distribution programme to help farmers affected by the boko haram insurgency in the North-East return to farming.
The Irish Ambassador to Nigeria Mr. Sean Hoy disclosed this when he paid a courtesy call on the Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development Chief Audu Ogbeh in Abuja Nigeria’s capital.
Mr. Hoy said the funding is deliberate to support the process of normalisation and his country wants to be the first to start the process because farmers cannot remain in IDP camps when there is a chance for them to return.
He said “the donation is the first step in the efforts to create gainful employment for the young people in the north east because when young people are not gainfully employed they become vulnerable to radicalisation”
“Agriculture is the big part of the response the government got against this young people that don’t have gainful employment if we can mobilise agriculture and if we can get the people involved in agriculture then those who wants to radicalize them will not find it very easy” he added.
The Irish Ambassador said he was at the ministry of agric because his country cannot give support to the FAO without the ministry of Agriculture, as the ministry is their implementing partner.
While responding, the Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development Chief Audu Ogbeh thanked the Irish Government for their support to the plight of the boko haram victims.
“Let me thank you for this donation of one million Euro through the FAO, we shall put it to the best use, we shall try and organise farmers to their farms as quickly as possible; we are discussing with the military to see if there is a need to demine some areas of the state so that farmers don’t get blown up in an attempt to get back to their farms and we believe that in another six months to one year, reasonable normalcy will return to Borno State,” Ogbeh said.
He said the government needs to plan for the future of the IDPs
“We have to prepare for their economic livelihood, for their housing, for their well being, for industries to absorb them, we have prepared some of them to go into agriculture and agro industry so that they too can become proud Nigerians and have every reason to patriotic” he explained.