Only agriculture can end poverty in north - Dangote tells El-Rufai, norther govs

Only agriculture can end poverty in north - Dangote tells El-Rufai, norther govs

- The alarming gap between the rich and the poor in Northern Nigeria has been condemned by Aliko Dangote

- Speaking at a summit in Kaduna, the president of Dangote Group said agriculture is the only way to end poverty in the north

- According to him, 60% of people in Northwest, Northeast Nigeria live in extreme poverty

Alhaji Aliko Dangote, the president of Dangote Group, has called on the 19 northern state governors to invest more in the agricultural sector for the steady development of the region.

Dangote made the call on Wednesday, April 3, while delivering his keynote address at the ongoing fourth edition of the Kaduna Investment Summit, tagged “KADInvest 4.O” in Kaduna, NAN reports.

He said Nigeria had been ranked 157 out of 189 countries on the Human Development Index, attributing the rating to the myriad of challenges confronting the country.

According to him, the widening gap between the rich and poor Nigerians was “very alarming” as such collective efforts must be made particularly in agriculture to change the narrative.

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Dangote, however, commended Governor Nasir El-Rufai’s drive to address the critical issues of development by attracting investments to the state, stressing the need for other governors to take a cue from the laudable initiative.

According to him, agriculture is one of the priority sectors that can create employment opportunities especially in Northern Nigeria, adding that with sustained investments, significant progress would be recorded in rice and sugar production.

Dangote added: “If we have 10 governors like El-Rufai, Nigeria would move forward in the next 10 years. The sector can create more revenue better than crude oil with proper investments."

He expressed concern that more than 60% of the population live in extreme poverty in the northeast and northwest of Nigeria, saying northern Nigeria will progress more if the 19 state governments would work together to close the widening development gap.

He expressed the conviction that only private investments can create jobs and reduce unemployment and poverty in the region with agricultural potential, vast land and conducive climate.

According to Dangote, his conglomerate is working towards building 10 rice mills with a combined capacity of one million tonnes, which would come on stream before the end of 2019.

He said the Dangote Fertiliser Plant will also be ready in 2019, and has the capacity to produce three million tonnes of urea and ammonia per annum.

He added that project is geared towards making Nigeria the highest exporter of fertiliser sub Saharan Africa.

The business tycoon further said there were plans to build east-west gas pipeline which can produce power equivalent to Nigerian Liquified Natural Gas (NLNG), with the capacity to generate 12,000 Mega Watts.

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He gave assurance that his company is committed towards exploring new opportunities to invest in the state especially in the agricultural sector. He stated that the revival of textile industries would improve the value chain in cotton production and create many jobs, thereby reducing poverty.

Dangote said: "As a group, we are willing to partner state governments to address the menace of poverty,” in the North in particular and the nation in general."

Meanwhile, previously reported that the ongoing construction work of the Dangote Oil Refinery jetty located at the Lekki Free Trade Zone in Lagos state, was believed to be fast tracked as it on Sunday evening, September 23, received its first ever ship call.

The ship named “BBC Naples” berthed at the new jetty to deliver essential equipment for the project.

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