The Deputy Governor of Imo State, Prof Placid Njoku says the Senator Hope Uzodinma led government plans to make agriculture the driving force of its intended industrial revolution.
The Deputy Governor who interacted with Newsmen after he led the committee on agriculture development to inspect agricultural facilities in some parts of the state., said the tour was to give the committee set up by the governor and headed by him first-hand information on agricultural facilities in the state so as to know the best way to build on the foundation already on the ground so as to hit the ground running.
He revealed that there will be no need for a fresh start since the state has been in existence since 1976 and have a wonderful foundation for growth laid by some progressive minded government of the long past.
Prof Njoku, however, frowned at the encroachment of government land especially in Nekede where individuals connived with whom he termed some dubious past government officials to take over government land and built personal properties on them and made it clear that the law on ownership of land and illegal occupation will take its place in the matter.
“Government is a continuum, so we will continue to adopt those foundational things that have been done for our state. We believe we can bring agriculture back to feed people of the state, as well as be used to drive industrial development of the state”.
“I don’t think the government that held sway in the state in recent past cared much about agriculture, starting from the Agricultural Development Programme (ADP) to the Songhai farms that are supposed to be a beautiful agricultural facility for the state”.
“Everything is totally run down and worse still the land is very badly encroached on by citizens of the community whose forefathers freely donated the land to government and compensations were paid to them”.
The Commissioner for Agriculture, Dr. Lambert Orisakwe, on his part said the governor made approval for the over 200, 000 Costa Rica palm seedlings to be transferred from pre-nursery to nursery and then to the main plantation while the Commissioner for Entrepreneurship, Noble Atulegwu said he is in the committee to identify entrepreneurial opportunities for youths in the agricultural sector.
The Committee were conducted round facilities in ADP, Songhai and Small Holders Oil Palm Management Unit (SMU), managements of the areas where they found largely dilapidated agricultural facilities.
Other members of the committee include; Commissioner for Livestock Development, Lady Obiageri Ajoku and Special Adviser to the Governor Strategy and Development.