Former President Olusegun Obasanjo on Monday called on the international community to help tackle the humanitarian crisis in the North East ravaged by the Boko Haram insurgency.
Obasanjo made the appeal at the donation of 35,930 kilograms of seeds by the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA), to Borno State Government in Maiduguri.
“We call on the international community for help. Yes, the Boko Haram terrorists are on the run, but the Boko Haram menace has not been completely solved”, he said.
Obasanjo, an IITA Ambassador, said the international community had great role to play in ensuring food security in the region.
“We have to tell the world that our problem in the North East is not our inability to feed ourselves because we are lazy.
“Our problem has to do with the menace of Boko Haram and the insecurity that we have to face for the past years”, he said.
Obasanjo commended Gov. Kashim Shettima for his numerous achievements in agriculture in spite of the Boko Haram insurgency.
“When I came in to the Farm Center, I saw this line of tractors, 1000 of them, I also saw combined harvesters complete with their implements.
“What stuck my mind was that we need to tell the world that our problem in the North-East is not because people are not willing or ready to work in agriculture.
“It has to do with the insecurity associated with the Boko Haram insurgency”, he said.
Obasanjo said his visit was to encourage Shettima to continue doing his good work in the state.
“We are here not only to express our sympathy on the menace of Boko Haram, but we are actually here to express our empathy with you.
“That is to say that what you are doing is noble and we are here to encourage you to continue.
“ To say we appreciate what the people of Borno have been going through and pray that the end of the menace will come soon”, he said.
Obasanjo promised to mobilise support from international agricultural organisations toward reviving agriculture in the state.
“I want to assure you that the IITA and other organisations like IFAD, FAO, WFP, World Bank, African Development Bank and other organisations that we have relationship with will give their support.
“We will ensure that they give priority attention to Borno and the North-East in general”, he said.
Obasanjo expressed optimism that the state will bounce back to its premier position as a food basket in the nearest future.