The Ambassador of the United States of America to Nigeria, Mr. Terence McCulley, has charged traditional rulers to continue to discharge their fatherly roles of maintaining peace and security in their various domains to sustain the present level of development in the country.
The US Ambassador gave the charge on Wednesday in Shonga, Edu Local Government Area of Kwara State when he paid a courtesy call on the Emir of Shonga, Dr. Haliru Yahaya, in his palace.
McCulley, who praised the renewed efforts of government at various levels to develop areas of comparative advantage, commended the Kwara State Government for its efforts on commercial agriculture.
The envoy lauded the Emir for supporting the government in making life more meaningful to the people.
He said his visit to the state was in fulfillment of his earlier promise to the former governor, Dr. Bukola Saraki, and the incumbent, Abdulfatah Ahmed, in order to ascertain possible areas of collaboration between the state and the US government.
The US envoy also commended the people of the state for living together in peace and harmony, which he noted was a source of strength and ingredient necessary for development.
Yahaya expressed appreciation to the state government for the commercial agriculture project, noting that it has brought great transformation to Shonga, especially in commerce and vehicular movement.
The monarch specifically praised Ahmed for promoting good governance and sustaining human capital development.
He solicited assistance from the American government in the areas of primary health care services, especially polio, and further strengthening of the Community Health Insurance Scheme initiated by the state government in collaboration with the Dutch government.
McCulley also pledged the support of his home government to the Kwara State Government in the areas of agriculture and policy implementation for the realisation of the Millennium Development Goals agenda.
McCulley made the pledge when he paid a courtesy visit to Ahmed at the Government House, Ilorin.
“We would try to work together with the Kwara State Government in order to see how we can move the state forward with particular reference to your efforts in agriculture.”
According to the envoy who also commended the leadership of Ahmed, agriculture remains a vital weapon for driving the economy and praised the governor for his giant strides in transforming the state from subsistence level of farming to commercial agriculture.
Ahmed disclosed that the recent signing of a N70 billion Memorandum of Understanding with Vasolar Consortium of Spain for the cultivation, processing and packaging of rice in the state is expected to generate additional 12,000 jobs for the youths.
He explained that the rationale behind the state government’s support for agriculture is because a larger percentage of the people of the state are engaged in the sector.
The state government, he said, is already partnering with Corlel University of America to establish an agriculture-city in the state to make it a haven for commercial farming and agro-processing.
According to the governor, the agriculture-city when fully operational is expected to serve the local, national and International markets, adding that government is also upgrading the International airport in the state capital to functional level to support export of agro related activities from the proposed agriculture-city.
Ahmed stated further: “We know that the US government has the conducive environment and machinery in ensuring positive output of its workforce.
“We hereby seek your support in the area of training of our civil servants to ensure their effectiveness and efficiency at work.”