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Minister says lifestyle of Nigerians is cause for economic crisis


* Prof Anthony Anwukah says the lavish lifestyles of Nigerians is an added factor to the economic crisis

* The minister of state for Education says Nigerians lack the ability to adjust to the country’s current predicament

* Anwukah has expressed regrets that all that all Nigerians consume is borrowed

Professor Anthony Anwukah, the Minister of State for Education has said that Nigerians must try to acclimatize to the current unfavorable condition of Nigeria’s economy.

Minister of state for education, Professor Anthony Anwukah

The erstwhile Vice Chancellor of Imo State University Owerri, , has blamed Nigerians for their “inability to swiftly adjust to the present economic recession” in the country due to their “over-bloated lifestyle.”

He expressed regrets that most of the products that are consumed in the country are imported.

Anwukah, who spoke during the Special Senate Session organised by IMSU in honour of four senators of the university was, however, optimistic that the nation would come out of the economic hardship stronger.

He noted that the lifestyle and inability of Nigerians to readjust to the present economic situation is responsible for why the recession is severely felt.

He said: “Though there is hunger, starvation, penury and pain in the land following the economic crash, I know that after this timeout, it will be better for all  Nigerians”.

Earlier in her remarks,  the IMSU Acting Vice Chancellor, Prof. Adaobi Obasi, said the essence of the grand reception was to honour the alumni of the university who have been elevated and given higher and sensitive portfolios.

Obasi said, “We appreciate you to have come from IMSU. You are really good ambassadors of the university.

Punch reports that honoured were: Anwukah, who was appointed by President Muhammadu Buhari as the Education Minister for State; Prof Chinedu Nwajuba, the Vice Chancellor Federal University, Ebonyi State; Prof Chima Iwuchukwu, the Vice Chancellor, Tansian University, Umunya, Anambra state; and Prof Charles Okoroafor, the Vice Chancellor, Gregory University Uturu, Abia state.

Meanwhile, the Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Chief Audu Ogbeh, on Tuesday stated that hunger as well as the economic recession Nigerians are currently experiencing will last longer than expected.

Ogbeh, however, noted that the situation might be salvaged if Nigeria pursues farming vigorously.

Speaking during the ‘One man, One hectare’ demonstration in Ezillo, Ebonyi State, the Minister blamed past administrations for the development, stating that they were responsible for the present predicament.

He said: “Past administrations in the country depended wholly on oil and resorted to massive importation. The country imported virtually every item; from toothpicks to palm produce but, the country doesn’t have money again to import.

“The hunger in the land might last for a while, but soon, there will be enough food in the country and also for export.”

He noted that the effort of the Federal Government in vigorously pursuing farming would be unrelenting.

He said: “Government will provide machines for Ebonyi State for the harvesting of rice and other farm produce and those to prepare crop nursery before planting.

“The Federal Government will inaugurate dams in all states of the country in the next two years, to ensure all year farming activities.

“All political office holders in the executive and legislature have farmlands in this demonstration farm as the programme would be the order of the day in the state.

“We want to excel in palm produce sector as we have done in rice production, as we are going to plant the produce at 10 metres of verges of roads in state and federal roads.

“All citizens of the state would cultivate at least one hectare because the government did not want any land to lie fallow,” the Minister added.

In his remark, the Governor of the state, David Umahi, noted that the state was into agricultural revolution to make its economy self-sufficient.

Meanwhile, the United States envoy to Nigeria has urged the Federal Government to resolve the Niger Delta crisis through dialogue and the implementation of practical measures aimed at improving the safety and well being of the Niger Delta people.

The Deputy Head of the Mission of the United States in Nigeria, Ambassador David Young, stated this during a courtesy call to Bayelsa state Governor Henry Seriake Dickson in the Government House in Yenagoa on Wednesday.

The envoy, who is visiting Bayelsa State for the first time, implored the federal government to put in place measures that would improve the living conditions of the Niger Delta people.

While calling on all stakeholders to embrace dialogue as part of the process of resolving the crisis in the region, Mr. Young observed that successive governments in the country have been making efforts to achieve the best possible means to deploy the wealth generated from the Niger Delta to impact the lives of the people.

According to him, the U.S. government was ready to partner with Nigeria and Bayelsa State in the area of funding development and economic prosperity through a variety of programs, including agriculture, health, education and maritime security, without losing focus on transparency and fiscal responsibility.

“The U.S. government feels very strongly that all stakeholders should be engaged in dialogue as part of the process to arrive at an equitable and fair solution for all involved. We believe that a bit of challenge for Nigeria is to transform the region of oil wells (the Niger Delta) into improvement in the life of the average Deltan. And that is something we feel very strongly about,” Mr. Young stated.

“We encourage Nigerians to work for common goals against violence and criminal activities. We encourage Nigeria to establish conditions and mechanisms for lasting change over time and provide economic opportunities and services for Deltans.”

He explained that the U.S. would provide assistance to the region in the form of “maritime security training, aviation security, treatment and prevention of HIV/AIDS, good governance planning, and agricultural training.”

In his response, Mr. Dickson lamented the level of environmental damage in the Niger Delta and renewed his call on multinational corporate organizations, particularly oil corporations, to adhere to international standards in their operations in the region.

While calling for caution on the part of troops being deployed to the region, the governor said that the solution to the problems of the Niger Delta lie squarely on development and environmental justice, which he noted could only be achieved through meaningful dialogue.

Describing the environment as a critical heritage of any people, Mr. Dickson commended the federal government for kick-starting the Ogoniland Clean-Up Program and called for its extension to other parts of the region, stressing that the Bayelsa state environment remains the most polluted in the Niger Delta.

According to him, as the place where oil was first struck in commercial quantity, Bayelsa State records an average of three oil pollutions in a day and requires special attention from the federal government and the multinationals.

Mr Dickson expressed gratitude to the U.S. envoy and his team for the visit and solicited their assistance in the areas of education, infrastructural development and promotion of peace and stability in the Niger Delta.

“We believe that the issues of the Niger Delta are not such that can be resolved by means of confrontation or show of military strength. We believe that these are essentially issues of development; they are issues about the environment.

“So, we as a government, community leaders, corporate executives, particularly the oil majors that are operating here and the federal government, its agencies and the friends of our country should work together to resolve the challenges of the Niger Delta.

“These are issues that through working together sincerely and following a clear roadmap, we think can be resolved in such a way that communities will be prosperous. Government agencies and businesses within our region will benefit from the overall climate of stability and security that will be generated when there is a consensus building effort. That is where we stand and I believe that has been the position of the U.S. Mission,” the governor stated.

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