Prof. Hafiz Abubakar, former Deputy Governor of Kano State, says the state of insecurity in the country can be managed with the aid of agriculture-based economic diversification.
He said the development of the economic diversification plan required clear guidance and responsibilities of all stakeholders.
Abubakar made the call on Friday, when he delivered the 10th convocation lecture of Michael Okpara University of Agriculture, Umudike (MOUAU), in Abia.
The lecture was entitled: “Managing National Security and Diversification of Nigeria’s Economy through Agriculture”.
Abubakar, a Visiting Professor at the National Universities Commission (NUC) said that strong political will was also required to develop and implement policies and strategies for the country’s economic diversification.
He said that “To accommodate a growing number of young people entering the labour market, Nigeria will need to create at least five million new jobs each year over the next decade.
“Based on experience of other countries, embracing more open trade and competition policies would help diversify the economy and reinvigorate growth, particularly as the African Continental Free Trade Area takes effect.”
According to the former Deputy Vice-Chancellor of Bayero University Kano, for Nigeria to move closer to unlocking its full agriculture potential, the value chain has to be identified, mapped, prioritised and digitised.
He said that MOUAU should lead research in the identification, mapping and deepening agricultural value chain.
The professor also urged the university to explore the triple helix model (Academia-Industry-Government) partnership to build a model agricultural food value chain for self-sufficiency and national orientation.
Chairman of the lecture, Sen. Chris Adighije, said the topic of the lecture was apt because the role of security in nation building could not be over-emphasised.
Adighije, who is the Pro-Chancellor and Chairman of Governing Council, Federal University, Lokoja, described security as a pre-condition for everything and social development.
Earlier in his opening remarks, the Vice-Chancellor of MOUAU, Prof. Maduebibisi Iwe, said the lecture was timely as the country was in dire need of economic advancement.
Iwe, who was represented by his deputy (Academics), Prof. Udo Herbert, described the lecturer as a renowned academic, with vast knowledge in the agricultural sector.
The lecture was attended by many eminent personalities including: Dr Cosmas Maduka, Founder and Chairman Coscharis Group and Mr Chika Ikenga, Founder and Managing Director of Eunisell Group.(NAN)