The Ministry for Agriculture and Rural Development has announced that the Federal Government is looking into safety and security measures for Nigerian farmers and their farms, in a bid to protect them from the nefarious activities of kidnappers. This, in turn, will help secure the future of the country’s agricultural sector. Chief Audu Ogbeh, the Minister for Agriculture and Rural Development disclosed this to the press in Abuja on Friday. According to the report, farmers and agricultural investors in the country may need to consider paying a fee in exchange for the Federal Government providing them with security on their farms. Minister Ogbeh stated that, although the kidnappings might never really stop, the security measures which the government is considering is a step in the right direction.
He reiterated that with the recent spate of kidnappings, investors and farmers, without exceptions (citing the kidnap of former Finance Minister, Olu Falae, in September last year), are constantly at risk. This is especially so, since most farmers live on their property. Also, seeing as investment in the sector appears to be on the increase with foreign investors trooping into the country, a department of specially trained security agents needs to be created.
Two weeks ago, former Senator Patrick Ani was kidnapped on his herbal farm in Cross Rivers State. He was released on Sunday under unknown conditions. Earlier in May, a farmer was kidnapped on his farm in Ikorodu, Lagos State. His abductors demanded an N8million ransom. Also, in January, an 85-year-old farmer who was kidnapped in Ekiti State was released after an eventual sum of N10million was paid on his behalf.
As Ogbeh pointed out in his address yesterday, securing those who make huge investments in farms is crucial to the development of the agricultural sector of the Nigerian economy and this is our ticket to self-sufficiency, reduced dependency on oil, and an adequate diversification of the economy in general.