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Buhari says farming is the answer for 'able-bodied' young Nigerians

Young people would be better off tilling the land to revive a dwindling economy, the president says.

President Muhammadu Buhari says agriculture is the answer for a nation that has relied on oil proceeds for far too long [Twitter/@BashirAhmaad]

Some of the president's unpopular economic policies have included closing the borders to spur local rice production and starving importers of food staples of forex.

“I am restating that nobody importing food or fertilizer should be given foreign exchange from the Central Bank.

“We will not pay a kobo of our foreign reserves to import food or fertilizer. We will instead empower local farmers and producers,” Buhari said on Thursday, September 10.

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The president has often harped on young people returning to the farms, as perennial fluctuations in the global oil market hits the nation’s economy hard.

His administration’s mantra has been “we have to consume what we produce and produce what we consume.”

The president returned to that subject this week. “We have a lot of able-bodied young people willing to work, and agriculture is the answer,” he added.

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The president received a lot of flak in 2018 when he implied that young people in Nigeria are lazy.

Speaking at the Commonwealth Business Forum in Westminster on Wednesday, April 18, 2018, the president remarked that a lot of Nigerian youths wait on handouts from the government.

"More than 60 percent of the population is below 30, a lot of them haven't been to school and they are claiming that Nigeria has been an oil producing country, therefore, they should sit and do nothing, and get housing, healthcare, education free," he said.

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After the barrage of criticisms that greeted the ‘Lazy Nigerian Youth’ remarks, the president appeared to walk back his comments by saying the local press had taken his remarks out of context.

"All these explanations I made, they refused to highlight them in their report and you know the media in Nigeria in most cases only do what they like.

"For instance the nation's achievements in the agricultural sector where millions of Nigerians benefited financially were left unreported by the media,” the president had said.

Pundits have blamed some of the president's economic policies for the rise in food prices and inflation.

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Nigeria's inflation now stands at 12.82 percent, the highest since March 2018.

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