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DON'T REMOVE OIL SUBSIDY, AGBEKOYA WARNS JONATHAN

By NBF News
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The famous and fiery farmers group of the old Western Region, Agbekoya Farmers Association has expressed its willingness to partner the South-west governments to fight the rising crimes especially armed robbery.

Its President-General of the Association, chief Kamorudeen Aremu Okikiola, made the submission yesterday during the inauguration of the state executive officers and decoration of the Ogun State Governor, Ibikunle Amosun as its patron. According to him, the association was worried at the rising robberies in the state, saying, 'we are ready to handle the situation in our own way whenever we are called upon to do so.'

Okikiola lamented that the activities of the Boko Haram have impacted negatively on the marketability of their farm produce, particularly in the Northern part of the country as no vehicle was available to convey their products to the northern markets. 'Now in Kogi, we have 30 trailers of cassava, 20 trailers of yam, pepper, but the drivers are requesting for huge payment because of the fear of Boko Haram.'

Recalling the activities of the Agbekoyas during the defunct Western Region, Okikiola said the group was willing to re-enact their feat, which made the entire Western Region crime-free.'Almost all over the Southwest states of the country, the activities of armed robbery is almost daily from Ogun, Oyo, Lagos, Ondo, Osun and others. Today, they rob a bank, tomorrow, they rob another. 'As much as we want to commend the police for gallantry, I want to state here that the police alone can't tackle robbery in the country or even in the South-west.

'For me as a leader of the Agbekoyas, I know how to handle the problem of armed robbery in our region if called upon to assist government.'During the time of Baba Awolowo, in the old Western Region, we were for both farming and security, we understand them better and we know how to handle them if called upon to do so.' The Agbekoya leader said, his group was ready to also partner governments of the Western states.' Speaking on the planned removal of oil subsidy, Chief Okikiola warned that such a step would cause astronomical increase in prices of foods.

'When subsidy is removed, there will be increase in transportation, then in the course of transporting the foods, transporters would ask for more money because of the removal of the subsidy. So, we as a group warn the Federal Government not to remove the oil subsidy, because it will cause unimaginable pains to Nigerians. The Ogun State Commissioner for Agriculture, Ayo Olubori lamented that people's perception about Agbekoya is myopic, because it goes beyond mere production of food, saying agriculture is business and if taken serious, it can compete with oil industry.

The commissioner noted that there was no difference between the practice of agriculture in Malaysia and Nigeria and indeed Africa, but in its organization and management. Referring to Cocoa House and the old WNTV in Africa, Olubori said the feats were achieved through proceeds from agriculture. His words: 'Nigeria missed it (the feat by agricultural programmes of the old Western Region, because there was no follow-up from Agbekoya.'

Asking rhetorically, 'Where is the disconnection of those good things and what is is happening now. Most of the achievements of the old Western Region were done without oil, but through agriculture.' The commissioner said that the principle of derivation of certain percentage to oil producing states in the country should be an eye opener to the South-west and ensure that they develop their agriculture more than before.