The Nigerian government has been asked to fast track the diversification of the economy with agriculture and solid minerals as the main focus.
The National Director, Civic and Political Affairs of the Church of Nigeria Anglican Communion, Mr. Joseph Unuayan said at a special Voice of Nigeria interview “In the News” in Abuja that leaders had been talking about diversification but haven’t translated it to realities on ground.
Mr. Unuayan said solid minerals have the capacity to create many jobs and improve the value chain in the mining and exploration opportunities in Nigeria.
He said there are a lot of minerals that are yet to be explored “do you know the number of companies that would spring up if Nigeria decides to focus on solid mineral extraction and development? It will be so enormous and you will be so surprised that all the graduates that are running the streets will be employed”
On agriculture development he said the issue of mechanisation should be the only way to balance the trade with other nations in the world.
“Let the issue of mechanisation be a major focus so that the graduates can have something to do so that Nigeria can have something to produce and export rather than importing always”
Mr. Unuayan said Nigeria must walk the talk by changing its approach to diversification.
He also urged the government to take cash crops seriously and focus on initiatives like the Cassava revolution initiative by former president Olusegun Obasanjo.
Mr. Unuayan commended the Nigerian government for restoring hope in the fight against boko haram and hoped that the issues involving the Internally Displaced Persons and their treatment at the various camps will be reviewed.
The clergyman said Nigeria’s handling of the internally displaced persons needed to be improved upon to achieve the desired objectives, especially in the areas of food, basic amenities and education to make life meaningful.
“The most important need is food and shelter, aside these then education in the IDP camps while government is thinking of how to resettle these people,” he explained.
He said certainly the various interventions by international organisations and other donor groups have been helping and disclosed that the church of Nigeria now has a national commissioner for welfare who goes to the camps and assesses their needs.
He said “the church created a special fund called St Mathias fund that mobilised about N160 million in the first one year that provided support to those in the IDP camps”
He said the desire by the IDPs to be taken back to their local communities should not be rushed and called on the government to secure the communities in the affected areas of Borno, Yobe and Adamawa states and provide amenities before relocating them.
“We commend the efforts of the government and the military in trying to push the boko haram back and recover territories, then the next thing is to make the recovered territories secured…. to go back to such places they need some major assurance that what they experienced before will not occur again” he stated.
Mr. Unuayan said what government would do on ground by way of reconstruction, rebuilding will give the people some assurance to go back to their communities and rediscover themselves.
He called on the leading opposition party the Peoples Democratic Party to put its house in order to enabled it provide credible opposition to the ruling government of the All Progressives Congress in Nigeria.
Mr. Unuayan blamed the Nigerian courts for the problems of the PDP and called on the National Judicial Commission to sit up and do the needful for a sustainable democracy in Nigeria.