Food Crisis: Social Crusader Advocates Deployment of Inmates to Farms for Agricultural Revival

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By Stephen Adeleye.

As the country grapple with food and unemployment crises, a foremost social crusader, Mr Ukwunetu Samuel Ali, has advocated for the deployment of unused potentials of prison Inmates into agricultural sector as remedy for the raging national social and economic woes.

Ali gave the advice in a proposal he submitted to the Federal Government of Nigeria, titled: “Optimal Strategies For Reviving The Agricultural Sector In Nigeria Via The Engagement Of Inmates Of The Nigeria Custodian Centers”, and a copy made available to Journalists on Friday in Lokoja.

Ukwunetu Samuel Ali is the author of the popular book, titled: “A Compendium of Biographies of Senator Oluremi Bola Tinubu, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala and Other Notable Women As A Panacea To Negligence Of Girl-Child Education In Nigeria”.

Ali noted with mixed feelings, the abundance of human and material resources in the country, that have been allowed to be wasted with its attendant consequences on the society.

According to Ali, the first primary needs of man is usually food, and this can only be achieved through farming, hence, the ability for government to convert its human resource into agriculture, makes her a better society that would be envied.

He urged government to optimise the energies of the inmates into agriculture for abundance of foods across the country.

“To revive agricultural fortune of Nigeria and to varnish acute hunger, concerted effort should be made to ensure that agricultural policies are tailored toward making farming attractive to the teeming youths across the country.

“The founding fathers of the nation, made conscious effort and produced policies that made farming the mainstay of the people. That mainstreaming Agriculture has earned tremendous growth and self sufficiency of the country,” Ali said.

He lamented that the effort of the Government of the first Republic in creating food sufficiency, was wiped out with the lackluster activities towards agriculture by the successive administrations.

Ali disclosed that while the first Republic economy which was based on agriculture was at par with most Asian and some European countries, but the oil boom of the 70s created armies of dependants was the major cause of present economic and starvation starring the people in the face.

He further explained that the successive administrations have tried to revive agriculture and put the country on the paths of growth again, but the challenges of corruption, free money from oil and policy inconsistencies have become the albatross that has kept the people on their kneels.

He pointed out that many agricultural initiatives in Nigeria have failed since her independence due to corruption or lack of political will as well as the faulty foundation on which the government was attempting to build those policies.

The social crusader stressed the need to strengthen the foundation of agricultural policies in Nigeria as well as making Agricultural Studies a mandatory course in Nigeria’s schools ranging from primary to tertiary.

“The ministry of education and agriculture must collaborate to develop a curriculum for the country’s tertiary institutions that will allow students to study agricultural studies as a borrowed course.

“This will lay the groundwork for the government at all levels to reap a significant reward in agricultural growth in Nigeria,” he said.

Ali asserted that for the country to wiggle out the potential of mass deaths and hunger, the leadership should as a policy remove bottlenecks that were hindering the youths and investors from participating actively in agricultural value chain.

According to him, “food security has declined in both urban and rural areas as a result of the large number of nimble, educated youths who were less conscious of farming which produces foods for societal existence and raw materials for industrial revolution.

“In spite the government’s large budget for revitalising the country’s agricultural industry, many youths have abandoned agriculture in search of white collar jobs in urban center, making it difficult for the government to fulfill its programmes of reviving ailing critical sectors of the economy.

“For the youths to embrace agriculture as a passion and vocation for a living and contribute to national prosperity, the government has to reset its brain box to develop a thoughtout agricultural reforms that enunciate policies that will motivate the agile youths both educated and uneducated to embrace agriculture as not only a source of living but also as an occupation that creates wealth and prosperity for their standard of living” He emphasised.

Ali explained that for the government to succeed in his proposed agriculture scheme, three critical ministries– Agriculture, Interior and Justice, must work in synergy to put in place mechanism that ensures inmates in correctional centers are drawn to farming.

He added that the unemployed youths should also be motivated to take interest in agriculture as means of self reliance and self actualisation.

He opined that the three ministries with their core mandates should collaborate and fashion out modalities on the deployment of inmates, legal relationship in the establishment of correctional centers, quick dispensation of cases and the provision of security of lives and property of the farm centres.

While calling on President Bola Ahmed Tinubu to give accelerated consideration to his proposal, Ali assured that the buy-in of the proposal would solve the twin challenges of hunger and insecurity facing the country.


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