The apex body of Yoruba interests groups in Nigeria and in Diaspora, Igbimọ Apapo Yoruba Lagbaye (Yoruba Council Worldwide) has demanded for the establishment of a Southwest Agricultural Economic Development Zone (SWAEDZ).
The group who made this call during a visit to the Federal Ministry of Trade and Investment, headed by Chief Niyi Adebayo, said that SWAEDZ, when established will improve agriculture in the Southwestern region.
During the visit, the President of the group, Aare Barr. Oladotun Hassan noted that there is a need to find lasting solutions to food security, import and export of agricultural produce, safety of farmers, among other issues.
The president in his address said the establishment of the SWAEDZ will ensure there is synergy between the Federal Government and the South West Region, adding that it will also positively impact the socio-economic of Southwest.
He also added that the project when established will create jobs for unemployed youths which would lead to the reduction of poverty.
This was also contained in a statement issued by the general secretary of the group, Akowe Oodua Adekambi Siyanbade.
Hassan further said the SWAEDZ will be launched in all the Southwest states, with the operational base situated in Ile-Ife at the Palace of the Ooni of Ife, Osun State and Ogun State as the Annex Headquarters.
The statement reads:”Igbimọ Àpapọ Yoruba Lagbaye (Yoruba Council of Youths And Women) Seek Federal Government Support Towards Establishment of Southwest Agricultural Economic Development Zone (SWAEDZ).
“The Apex Yoruba Interest Group; Igbimo Apapo Yoruba Lagbaye (Yoruba Council of Youths Worldwide and Yoruba Council of Women Worldwide); led by the President Aare Barr. Oladotun Hassan, alongside Comrade Charles O. Afolahan, National Liaison Director, YCYW, Comrade Isaac Oke Oluwaseun, National Director Action and Mobilization, YCYW, Mr. Kayode Owoyemi, Welfare Director, YCYW, FCT, Abuja Council and Chief Oluwawemimo Kayode Samson, Vice Chairman, Yoruba Council of Youths Worldwide, Abuja FCT Council, paid a working visit to the Federal Ministry of Trade and Investment, Abuja, at the office of the Honourable Minister of State for Trade and Investment who was ably represented by Mr. S.A Audu, Director of Commodities and Export and other principal executives of the ministry.
“The meeting which is to jointly build solid synergy towards the growth and establishment of the Southwest Agricultural Economic Development Zone (SWAEDZ), which is expected to convert all our deep forest reserves and abandoned/ongoing land sites/agric farms into useful agric estates/settlements for the proposed SWAEDZ project; to be launched in all the six (6) Southwestern States/Local Government Areas/Wards (Lagos, Oyo, Ogun, Osun, Ondo and Ekiti), with operational base situated in Ile-Ife at the Palace of the Ooni of Ife, Osun State and Ogun State as the Annex Headquarters.
“In consonance and positive realization of the Federal Government of Nigeria led by President Muhammadu Buhari administration’s lofty ideas on the establishment of Agriculture Estate Settlements in all the Senatorial/Federal constituencies in Nigeria respectively.
“Based on this premise, this laudable initiative is targeted at exploring the following agricultural activities; Animal husbandry comprising of cattle/ranching, piggery, rabbits, antelopes, Fisheries, Snails, Shrimps, Hides and Skin, Hay Cultivation and farming for cattle fodders, Abattoirs and packaging, Residential Agric Estates with 3 star hotel and quarters, Bus Terminal with rail tracks availability for such future development prospect and Local security/hunter security post top mention a few, are expected to boost national export, create jobs for our teaming unemployed youths, who are hell bent on white-collar jobs, not thinking inward on the verse opportunities abound in the agriculture industry, ensure robust promotion of local contents, most importantly alleviate and reduce poverty to its barest minimum, while promoting both local investment and foreign direct investment with accelerated strategic growth master plan, noting the urgent need to key into the Federal Government’s idea of diversifying the economy.
“The President while addressing the team of the Ministry added that the SWAEDZ project is expected to proffer both short and long-term solutions to food security and export trade, alongside the various hydra headed Agricultural and security interference challenges, particularly on peace building in Yoruba Land, wherein we hope to keep this synergy growing, precipitating this medium to seek your approval of the Southwest Agricultural Economic Development Zone (SWAEDZ), while we shall continually be guided by the Commodities and Export Department and Office of the Federal Ministry of Trade and Investment and Federal Government of Nigeria, while all resolutions reached as well as subsequent reviewing outcomes shall form part of the guiding policy resolutions of SWAEDZ PROJECT respectively.
“The leadership of the Igbimọ Àpapọ Yoruba Lagbaye, the umbrella body for both the Yoruba Council of Youths and Women remain steadfast and determined to introduce initiatives that both improve the general wellbeing and improve the livelihood of our people.”