The Minister of Agriculture, Chief Audu Ogbeh, on Monday urged officers and men of the Nigerian Army to join other Nigerians and invest in agriculture.
Ogbeh spoke at a sensitisation programme organised by the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (FMARD) for the Nigerian Army in Abuja.
“We are here to sentisise army officers and create awareness for them to see agriculture as a business and to strengthen the resolve of those in crops, aquaculture and animal husbandry.
“Food security is an integral part of national security; that is why the army, whose mandate is to provide national security, cannot afford to avoid attending to food security.
“Active participation of the army can never be seen as an incursion into an unfamiliar ground but a step in the direction that agrees in principle with one of its core mandate, which is ensuring peace.’’
Ogbeh, who was represented by Mrs Winifred Ochinyabo, his Special Adviser on Special projects and General Duties, said the strength of a nation lay in its ability to feed itself.
She noted that because security personnel were trained combatants and not business people, they were usually vulnerable in retirement.
He said the ministry was determined to enlighten servicemen on the opportunities in agriculture with a view to broadening their knowledge on agribusiness.
Mr Matthew Owolabi, the Director, Irrigation and Crops Development in the ministry, said the sensitization would strengthen them to choose any aspect of agriculture of their interest.
Earlier, the Chief of the Army staff, Lt.- Gen. Tukur Buratai, who was represented by Maj.-Gen. I.R. Nicholas, Chief of Linguistics, said the sensitization would encourage them to fall back to agriculture.
“We will retire to agriculture and we will also contribute to the need of the nation, family and also provide raw materials to the manufacturing companies,” Nicholas said.