President Goodluck Jonathan yesterday said activities of insurgents have seriously over-stretched the nation’s security resources and affected the nation’s economic growth.
Speaking at the opening of an International Conference on Security and Development Challenges of Pastoralists in West and Central Africa, Jonathan said that criminals masquerading as pastoralists have waged war against the country.
Jonathan, however, called on all stakeholders in the country to rise to the occasion and work for the peace and stability of the country, rather than resort to violence.
Jonathan, who was represented by Vice President Namadi Sambo, said that the resilience of the pastoralists has ensured that the plan by those he regarded as enemies of the state did not come to pass, adding that the objectives of those fighting against the nation have not materialized, owing to resilience by the pastoralists.
“Were that objective to be realised, it would have been at a great cost to our country,” he said, adding that the government is committed to the development of the nation’s agricultural sector into a business.
He stressed that the agricultural sector is undergoing massive transformation with the intent of developing agriculture as a business, aimed at turning the nation into a global agricultural power house, a scheme that is vigorously being pursued by the government.
He noted that the agricultural sector has contributed an average of 40 percent to the nation’s GDP between 2011 and 2012.
He maintained that government would continue to encourage pastoralists to engage in more viable and productive system that will benefit them, farmers and the country in general, stressing that this cannot be achieving without the cooperation of all stakeholders.
Earlier, the Minister of Agriculture, Dr. Akinwunmi Adesina, said there was the need for a regional solution to the constant clashes between farmers and pastoralists, pointing out that climate change has led to higher frequencies of drought and desertification in neighbouring countries, as pastoralists from there move down to Nigeria in search of pasture.