17 June 2016
The Enugu State Executive Council on Friday made it compulsory for its members to own and operate hectares of farms in the state.
Briefing newsmen at the end of its weekly meeting in Enugu, the Commissioner for Information, Dr. Godwin Udeuhele, said that the policy was to encourage and boost agriculture.
Udeuhele said that the state government would view violation of the policy as sabotage.
He said that a monitoring team would be set up to ensure compliance, adding that top government functionaries needed to lead the agricultural initiative of the government.
He said that the commissioner for lands had been mandated to work out the number of hectares that would be allotted to each member for the purpose.
“All members of the Enugu State Executive Council are now mandated to cultivate some hectares of land as the government is no longer business as usual.
“This is in view of the harsh economic situation in the country and the government’s desire to leverage on our vast arable land as an alternative means of revenue generation,” he said.
Udeuhele said that the policy which was thrown up in form of a motion by the commissioner for agriculture received an overwhelming support by members of the cabinet.
“All members were then mandated to ensure strict compliance with the resolution as the government would view non-compliance as a serious offence.
“We, therefore, call on the residents of the state to do same as Enugu State is blessed with vast arable land with comparative advantage in many cash crops of economic value,’’ he said.
Udeuhele said that the council also approved N535 million being the 2016 outstanding counterpart fund for the activities of the Nigeria Erosion and Watershed Management Project in the state.
“This sum will be paid on a staggered arrangement subject to availability of funds,’’ he said.
The commissioner said that an approval was also given for the development of 250 housing units on 40 hectares of land at Ede-Oballa in Nsukka Local Government Area.
He said that the land was acquired many decades ago by the then Premier of the defunct Eastern Region, Dr Michael Okpara, adding that government had deemed it necessary to develop the site.
“The development of this site is intended to ensure affordable housing for the people as well as improve our revenue generation,’’ he said.
Udeuhele said that the estate would have a retreat centre and accommodate government offices scattered in and around Nsukka and its environs.