By Adelola Amihere
Nigerian farmers under the aegis of All Farmers Association of Nigeria (AFAN) have carpeted the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development following the recent announcement by the Minister, Alhaji Sabo Nanono of plans to spend N13 billion on the control of pests in 12 northern states.
In a statement released on Thursday, the President of AFAN, Kabir Ibrahim, said for such information to be churned out to the public was tantamount to gross indiscipline and gross misconduct on the part of public officers responsible for it.
According to him, the N13 billion to fight quilea birds, locusts and pests was not provided for in the 2020 budget and therefore unappropriated by the National Assembly.
Ibrahim said, “The farmers are at a loss when this kind of information comes out especially when they are struggling to access their farms due to insecurity.
“For the farmers who are not sure of even being able to produce anything to wake up to the realisation that the government was planning to spend this kind of money on a perceived problem even before it rears its head is nebulous.”
He added, “The question we are asking is how the government came to the decision to expend this colossal sum to protect farm produce whose quantum is indeterminate because its cultivation has not even commenced and there is no veritable data to rely on in forecasting what it will actually amount to.”
Ibrahim called on the National Assembly to summon a stakeholder hearing to appraise the matter.
He said: “At the end of the hearing, the government should be advised to reappraise the performance of the drivers of agriculture in Nigeria”.