Amid a floundering financial status hinged on a loan spree, high unemployment rate and free-falling naira, President Muhammadu Buhari has claimed in faraway New York that Nigeria’s economy is booming because “people went back to farm.”
Mr Buhari made the claim while pleading for financial assistance from a foreign leader during a bilateral meeting on the margins of the United Nations General Assembly in the U.S.
“People went back to the land, and this helped us tremendously. We made fertilizers available, resuscitated dams, and it all paid off handsomely,” Mr Buhari told the Queen of Netherlands, Maxima Zorreguieta.
The Nigerian president, whose administration relies on external funding to finance major projects, stressed that COVID-19 would have worsened the country’s economy if not for his efforts in developing the sector.
“With about 200 million people, we would have been in trouble when COVID-19 struck and affected the economy,” he told Ms Zorreguieta.
The president believed that the closure of land borders in 2019 helped the country, as it gave room for Nigerians to “eat what we grow.”
The Buhari regime had in 2019 shut land borders to curtail the import of arms and ammunition from neighbouring countries and reopened four of them in 2020.
In begging the Netherlands queen for funds to invest in the agricultural sector, he stated, “We have the land. We have the people. Capital input is what we need.”
On infrastructure, Mr Buhari asserted his regime was doing its best, maintaining it was pertinent to embark on major projects to aid the country’s development.
“Without infrastructure, development would be limited, so we put emphasis on building roads, rail, and power. We have a comprehensive plan, and we are doing our best,” the president explained.
According to him, inadequate resources have been a major setback in infrastructural development, despite Nigeria being an oil-exporting nation.
Having listened to Mr Buhari, Ms Zorreguieta commended the president for his “huge efforts” in combating the COVID-19 pandemic, adding that “you spent a great part of your GDP.”
“You won’t be alone. We will be there along with other partners,” she told the president.