Nigerian military is not left out in the nation’s search for a solution to the economic recession the oil-rich nation slid into few weeks ago, as the Chief of Air Staff, Air Marshal Sadique Abubakar, is exploring agriculture to empower youths in barracks.
He is confident that further involvement of youths in agriculture will deepen the economic diversification drive of the government.
Nigeria is battling to get out of its present economic recession made obvious when the National Bureau of Statistics released a second quarter Gross Domestic Product (GDP) report.
The report showed a contract in the GDP by 2.06% in the second quarter of 2016.
According to the report, the decline has caused the Naira to get weaker while lower oil prices dragged the oil sector down.
The output shrunk by 0.36 in the first quarter.
During the quarter, nominal GDP was 2.73% higher at 23.48 million Naira at basic prices.
This growth was lower than the rate recorded in the second quarter of 2015 by 2.44% points.
While launching a scheme tagged ‘Barracks Youth Empowerment Through Agriculture (BYETA)’ held at the Air Force Base in Kaduna State, Air Marshal Abubakar said the initiative would empower youths and create jobs.
The Air Chief was represented by the Chief of Policy and Plans, Nigerian Air Force headquarters, Air Vice Marshal James Gbum.
He explained that the inauguration of the youth empowerment programme was a testimony and determination of the Nigerian Air Force to key into the Federal Government’s policy on diversification of the economy to other non-oil sectors especially agriculture.
The programme, according to the organisers, is designed to engage the youths, particularly those living in the barracks in productive ventures such as poultry, fishery and crops farming that would enable them live meaningful lives independent of their parents or guidance.
While urging the youth to make good use of the opportunity to empower themselves and contribute to the economic development of the nation, the representative of the Chief of Air Staff, enjoined parents and guidance to regularly monitor the progress of their wards in order to achieve the maximum success rate of the programme.
On his part, the Commander, 335 Base Service Group, Air Commodore Bello Garba, said the initiative was launched to further drive home the message of self-reliance and the directive given by the Chief of Air Staff for all secondary schools in the barracks to establish a demonstration farm which he also noted would prepare the youth to be self-reliant.
He told the gathering that in compliance with the directive, the 335 Base Service Group had established a BYETA association with an initial membership of 25 youths at its inception on August 30.
At the moment it has 98 registered members, including 35 engaged in fish farming, 25 in poultry, 26 in livestock and 12 in crop farming.
Some of the beneficiaries said they were pleased with the initiative they believe would empower them, help them feed Nigerians and ensure food security.
The Barrack Youth Empowerment Through Agriculture Programme is open to relatives of Air Force personnel and residents of host communities.