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Published On: Thu, Mar 29th, 2018

How Kebbi feeds the nation with rice

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Kebbi State is one of the states that are making maximum use of the Anchor Borrower Programme of the Federal Government. In this interview with our correspondent Ahmed Idris, Kebbi State SSG, Alhaji Babale Umar, explains how Kebbi is feeding Nigeria with Rice, through the programme. He also x-rays the administration of Governor Atiku Abubakar Bagudu and some of its achievements in three years.

Kebbi State is now known as the leading state on Agriculture, especially rice production. Sir, what is the secret?
Kebbi is a State blessed with many agricultural and agro allied potentialities. And our governor, Senator Abubakar Atiku Bagudu saw an opening to positively impact on the sector, thus putting smiles on the faces of both large and small scale farmers. He enrolled strategies to provide inputs and expertise, as well as invite agencies and companies to partner for the overall development of the sector.
For turning Kebbi State into the largest rice producing State in Nigeria, Governor Atiku was aptly appointed Chairman of the Presidential Task Force Committee on Rise and Wheat Production.
In consideration of the importance agriculture, in the production of food and income for the general populace, the Governor initiated an agricultural revitalization, transformation and diversification drive through partnership with the Bank of Agriculture, Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN). President Muhammadu Buhari personally launched the Anchor Borrowers’ Programme aimed at production of food, job creation, income generation and self-sufficiency.
Under this programme, we mobilized over 70,000 farmers in the first instance. The over three million tons production, and other successes recorded in the state, have earned Governor Abubakar Atiku Bagudu the Chairmanship of the Presidential Task Force Committee on Rice and Wheat Production in Nigeria, the post which comes with additional responsibilities that go beyond the shores of Kebbi State – to reach-out to other States Governors, Legislators, Fanner Associations, Millers and all stakeholders towards reviving agriculture and making Nigeria a leading rice producer in Africa.
Governor Bagudu’s relentless, untiring, and sustained efforts in agricultural revitalization and development of the agricultural sector have attracted investors from far and near. Kebbi State has become a model and a hub in rice and wheat production and sales that attract the attention of many individuals, companies and states across the country. They come, not only to borrow a leaf but to buy paddy rice which lay in abundance.
A landmark is the partnership between Lagos and Kebbi states on rice value chain and other commodity that produced the LASKEB. This positive result did not go unnoticed by some of the country’s leading newspapers. The newspapers have closely monitored His Excellency’s human capital investment and interventions in this area, and found it worthy of rewarding. He was thus named Vanguard Newspaper Governor of the Year 2016 and Leadership Newspaper Person of the Year 2016.
The pre-commissioning of WACOT mill recently held in the state is a true attestation of the administration’s investment drive. His Excellency’s investment effort has placed Kebbi second only to Kano in rice milling in the whole of the Northwest.
To consolidate on the gains recorded in dry season rice farming and improve output in wet season, Governor Bagudu entered into partnership with Katsina, Kano, Jigawa, Sokoto, Zamfara states and the Moroccan Government to receive the supply over 300,000 tons of fertilizer. The present administration Procured for distribution to famers 100 tractors, 1000 Ox-drawn ploughs, 100 rice threshers and the procurement of 100 motorcycles for trained Agricultural Extension Workers for help in the monitoring.
The agricultural transformation drive for income and Job creation led the state government to empower several vegetable growing communities to produce more to meet the Kebbi- Lagos MOU and also encouraged more than 20,000 farmers to produce soya beans, a potential the state has not harnessed.
Sir, how would you assess the three years performance of the APC Government in Kebbi State in other areas?
The present administration, under All Progressives Congress, APC, has achieved a lot. Senator Abubakar Atiku Bagudu, who is the 4th Executive Governor of Kebbi State, is a visionary leader whose preoccupation is to make things better.
Indeed, when he assumed office, his penchant for re-engineering and revitalization of the state took him to all the 21 local government areas where he interacted with his people. This was aimed at uplifting their living condition. He visited schools, health institutions and met with the people, even the farmers in their own farms, to assess the challenges being faced in the different sectors. What he saw in the schools were appalling. From the students’ hostels, classrooms, laboratories and even the food served was dehumanizing.
Governor Atiku also took development to the power sectors where the epileptic power supply, which pitched the people against PHCN, and strangulated small scale industrialist and businesses were restore.
Looking back at the issue of epileptic electricity supply in the state, when the present administration took office, the story was different. Today, the state capital is enjoying regular power supply on daily basis, which ranked Birnin Kebbi, the only state in Nigeria that’s enjoying 24 hours electricity power supply.
He also provides significant and strategic water. In the past, roads and electricity projects were left unattended to, while the people continue to groan under the weight of dearth of critical infrastructure.
Today, all schools in the state are undergoing proper rehabilitation of infrastructure. Furniture, computers and sports equipment have been provided for conducive learning and teaching environment.
Furthermore, in his efforts to provide good and sound education in the state, the Governor joined his counterparts of Sokoto and Zamfara States in setting-up a committee of eminent scholars led by Professor Attahiru Muhammad Jega, which recommended the establishment of Ministry of Higher Education, culminating in the creation of Ministry of Higher Education in Kebbi State to take care of tertiary education.
Senator Atiku Bagudu is a politician endowed with wisdom, who cherishes collective decision in the course of governance, driving him to engage in consultations with fellow politicians, traditional rulers, religious leaders, civil servants and labour unions on how best to develop Kebbi.
How about infrastructural development?
Within these three years, the administration has done so many works on roads such as the repairs of the potholes that riddled Koko-Mahuta-Dabai road, which was completed at the cost of 200 Million Naira.
The government had also executed various road projects that include construction of bridges, culverts, and anti-erosion control measures. It had also completed the
repairs of Bridges along Suru, Giro and on the Kao’je-lllo roads. The government had also spent 50 Million Naira on the construction of bridge on the Shema Bakoshi Road through the Nigerian Army Engineers Corps.
The administration constructed culverts and a 2.0 Kilometer erosion control project in Bunza, the Kwanar Dabai- Zuru township road construction, as well as the construction of Maga-Ribah road and the 56.8 kilometer Ribah-Beni road projects. Other road projects embarked upon were the construction and completion of access road Mechanic village. Birnin-Kebbi by G.N.I.C, at the cost of N236,683,965:53k; and 31 km Jega township road at the cost of N582,840.171:35k. Construction work of Tudun Wada road in Birnin-Kebbi metropolis is awarded, while, the abandoned Sabiyel-Kashinzama road inherited from the previous administration, because of its importance, Governor Atiku Bagudu directed the Ministry of works to mobilize the contractor back to site and was completed.
Rehabilitation of Sultan Abubakar road which runs from First-Bank to Rima round about through the Government House and the First Bank round about to Sir Yahaya round about, as well as Ahmadu Bello way has been completed.
The extension of Ratin Bara’u outfall, one of the major drainages in Birnin-Kebbi metropolis, is also a strategic project carried out by the administration. It could be recalled that there are re-occurring problems of flood in Birnin Kebbi. The administration discovered that unless the drainage is extended, the problem will persist, thus contract has been approved by the state government to extend the outfall down to the Fadama area. The work on the Badariya-Kola Zuguru road, which has been completed, was awarded to the Nigerian Army Corps of engineers on direct labour.
Equally, construction of access road at the Adamu Aliero Estate has been completed. Also, work will soon be completed for the six access roads at Gwadangaji Quarters, in the state capital. In order to assist people affected by the various infrastructural problem, the state government has paid out compensation to property owners to the tune of about N240, 000,000 at Bayan Kara, Makerar Gawanddu and Tudun Wada in Birnin Kebbi, Zuru, Zauro, Jega, Argungu, Unguwar Nakalgo and Yauri.
To encourage land and housing ownership, the present administration has allocated 10 hectares of land at Gwadangaji to the Federal Government for its Mass Housing Project. 140 applications have been processed for the grant of Statutory Rights of Occupancy, 20 applications for consent for Mortgages and 88 certificate of Occupancy processed.
To give the state capital a race lift, Government has rehabilitated existing and installed new double arm streetlights on major roads such as Murtala Muhammad, Emir Haruna and Gwadangaji roads and embarked on maintenance of drainages and desalting of culverts in Birnin Kebbi, Yauri and Zuru.
People of Kebbi State have, for long, grappled with problem of inadequate water supply. The State capital and other major towns were having problems with their water works, while villages have their hand pumps, because boreholes and other schemes were not functioning. In realization of the importance of potable drinking water to the generality of the urban and rural populace, the administration of Governor Bagudu earmarked the sum of 280 Million Naira for the expansion and renovation of broken down water supply schemes in various parts of the State. These include motorized, solar operated boreholes as well as hand pumps; and another 151.7 Million Naira released for the procurement of water treatment chemicals for the supply of clean and health water to Bimin Kebbi, Zuru, Argungu and Yauri.
It also spent 93.5 Million Naira for the improvement of water supply to Yauri town as well as 36.7 Million Naira on repairs of broken pipes at Aliero Quarters, Birnin Kebbi, removed as a result of road construction in the area.

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