N5.6 billion has been approved by the Federal Executive Council to fight erosion in about six states in different geopolitical zones.
The Federal Executive Council on Wednesday approved N5.6bn for the third quarter soil erosion, controlled accelerated intervention projects for six states in different geopolitical zones in the country, Punch Metro reports.
The approval was given at the council’s meeting presided over by President Muhammadu Buhari at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.
The Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Mr. Femi Adesina, disclosed this to State House correspondents at a press conference at the end of the meeting.
Adesina was joined at the briefing by the Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Chief Audu Ogbeh; and the Minister of State for Aviation, Hadi Sirika.
The presidential spokesman listed the states that would benefit from the fund as Kano, Sokoto, Ondo, Osun, Enugu and Bayelsa.
Ogbeh regretted the activities of rice smugglers which he said had been leading to a loss of $5bn annually for the country.
He said the government would however intensify efforts to curtail their activities.
The minister identified the delay by rice millers to set up mills as one of the reasons smuggling is thriving.
“That was why the President had to say during the 2018 budget presentation at the National Assembly that we will come down hard on smugglers because they are doing us a lot of damage.
“In fact, the World Bank says that they are costing us $5bn worth of loss per annum. We keep fighting, a little here and a little there. We will get there,” Ogbeh said.
He said council also approved the development of foundation seeds for maize at the Institute of Agricultural Research, Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria.
He said the research would cost N165m.
Sirika on his part said the council approved Bilateral Air Services Agreement with Canada.
“The Federal Executive Council today (Wednesday) approved the signing of a Bilateral Air Services Agreement with Canada as part of efforts to boost relations between both countries, including trade and commerce.
“It would be a standard agreement to facilitate the movement of people and business transactions,” the minister explained.