Governor Kashim Shettima of Borno State has berated Nigerian leaders for relying heavily on oil revenue which he said is responsible for poor service delivery, lack of jobs for the people and the resultant restiveness in many parts of the country.
Shettima, who made this remarks when members of the presidential committee on security challenges in the north ended their week-long tour of Borno and Yobe States at the weekend, warned that oil revenue will keep declining and that for government to meet the yearnings of the people, agriculture and other avenues of revenue generation must be explored.
The governor wondered what will become of Nigeria when the revenue from oil ceases.
According to him, “I read an interesting article that in 10 years, the United States will be independent of foreign oil because of the alternative energy sources at its disposal.
“In five years, 14 African countries will become oil producers and by the current rate of our population growth, in 10 years, Nigeria’s population will be 250 million but nobody is thinking, nobody is giving us an idea on how to attend to the needs of these people.
“And it is envisaged that the price of oil will plummet to $35 per barrel.
“Even now, at $100 per barrel we find it difficult to meet our needs,” the governor said.
Shettima said land is wealth and stressed the need for its full exploitation, pointing out that with the gradual return of peace, he will change the fortunes of Borno through agriculture.
“Borno is the largest state in the Nigerian federation. We are 20 times the size of Lagos; we are 14 times the size of Abia; we are three times the size of the southeastern sub-region.
“Here in Borno, we have seen the challenges of the moment and we are poised to reposition the state.
“We are seizing the opportunities that come with this crisis to reengineer Borno. We are investing our resources in agriculture, education and healthcare delivery,” he said.