Governors yesterday got President Bola Ahmed Tinubu’s backing to embark on massive food production amid rising costs.

He urged the state helmsmen to work together to meet the needs of citizens.

They are to consult on how to achieve food sufficiency and revert to him within seven days.

The President promised to provide the needed support to ensure that Nigerians are relieved.

He made the rallying call during the 142nd National Economic Council (NEC) meeting in Abuja.

The President was guest at the NEC meeting, a statutory organ of government, statutorily presided over by the vice president.

Giving emphasis to the urgency of massive food production by state governments, which are in control of the land for farming, the President said: “Our states must work together to deliver on the critical reforms required of us to meet the needs of our people.

“Time is humanity’s most precious asset. You can never have enough of it. It is getting late.

“We are ready and able to support you in the form of the mechanisation of your agricultural processes and the provision of high-quality seedlings.

“We are prepared to provide solar-powered irrigation facilities to support our farmers across seasons, but we must now produce.

“We must produce the food our people eat, and it will require coordination and intentionality between members of NEC.

“There is nothing we are doing that is more important than producing high-quality food for our people to consume, buy, and sell.

“We create jobs in the production of it. And that is before we generate wealth by exporting the excess. It is not beyond us to achieve this for Nigerians.

“How much support do you need from me and in what form? I am prepared to provide it. But we must achieve the result.

“We must deliver on our targets at all levels. Please report back following your consultations and submit to my office within seven days.”

Also yesterday, President Tinubu approved the immediate rollout of the National Construction and Household Support Programme to cover all geo-political zones.

According to a statement issued after the meeting by Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Ajuri Ngelale, the decision was aimed at boosting agricultural productivity, strengthening the economy by creating opportunities in the real sectors of agriculture, manufacturing, and construction, as well as providing urgent economic relief for Nigerians

Under the programme, the Sokoto-Badagry Highway, which will traverse Sokoto, Kebbi, Niger, Kwara, Oyo, Ogun, and Lagos, is prioritised.

Other road infrastructure projects, such as the Lagos-Calabar Coastal Highway, which is underway, and the Trans-Saharan Highway, which links Enugu, Abakaliki, Ogoja, Benue, Kogi, Nasarawa, and Abuja, are also prioritised.

The President okayed full counterpart financing for the Port Harcourt-Maiduguri Railway to traverse Rivers, Abia, Enugu, Benue, Nasarawa, Plateau, Bauchi, Gombe, Yobe and Borno, as well as for the Ibadan-Abuja segment of the Lagos-Kano Standard-Gauge Railway, which will traverse Lagos, Ogun, Oyo, Osun, Kwara, Niger, Abuja, Kaduna, and Kano.

Within the Sokoto-Badagry Highway corridor, there are 216 agricultural communities, 58 large and medium dams spread across six states, seven Special Agro-Industrial Processing Zones (SAPZs), 156 local government areas, 39 commercial cities and towns, and over one million hectares of arable land.

Other items under the National Construction and Household Support Programme include a one-off allocation to states and the Federal Capital Territory of N10 billion for the procurement of buses and compressed natural gas (CNG) uplift programme.

Others are the delivery of N50,000 uplift grant each to 100,000 families per state for three months; provision for labour unions and civil society organisations; and the deployment of N155 billion for the purchase and sale of assorted foodstuff to be distributed across the country.

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