Connect with us


RUGA: Agric Minister, Wastes N13bn on Phantom Contracts



Why President Buhari Should Re-appoint Ogbeh In His Cabinet

Nanono vows to trace missing funds

By Mathew Dadiya, Abuja 

Confusion and uneasy calm now pervades the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, following revelations that the N13 billion fund released by the Federal Government for the take-off of the now suspended and controversial RUGA scheme may have disappeared from the coffers of the Ministry.

Accusing fingers are, however, being pointed at the immediate past minister of agriculture and rural development, Chief Audu Ogbeh, a former permanent Secretary of the ministry and former director of livestock department, all of whom held sway at the Ministry at the time the fund was released.

Investigations by DAILY ASSET revealed that the N13 billion earmarked for the implementation of grazing settlements  pilot schemes in 12 states of the Federation mostly affected by the herders-farmers crisis was released in October 2018, to the Ministry.

A  source at the Ministry told DAILY ASSET  that the fund was approved by the Vice President, Prof Yemi Osinbajo, at the twilight of President Muhammadu Buhari’s first term.

Our source said that the Ministry based it’s request  on an existing  N200 billion earlier  approved by the National Economic Council during the President Goodluck Jonathan administration.

It was learnt that after  receiving the fund, the Ministry was said to have approved contracts for the RUGA settlement and payments were made to some of the contractors.

The contractors were, however, shocked to find out that land was not earmarked  in some of  the selected states for the pilot scheme of the RUGA settlements.

In Benue State for instance, Ogbeh was alleged to have sold his private lands to the scheme in the Benue South Senatorial District. The contractor was mobilised to site but did nothing other than erection of a  project sign post.

See also  Labour Strike ‘ll Cost Kaduna Huge Economic Losses – Don

Ogbeh’s efforts to acquire additional lands and transfer to the scheme were said to have been met with stiff resistance from members of the community, who claimed the land in question belonged to a deceased person.

Investigations further revealed that the contracts were not  approved by the Federal Executive Council as required under the Public Procurement Act.

Opposition by the public to the RUGA policy, led to it’s suspension by the Federal government.

In spite of the suspension, the mobilisation paid to the contractors has yet to be refunded, just as the job has not been executed, our source maintained.

Investigations revealed that the entire Fund has disappeared from the coffers of the Ministry, raising fears that some highly placed officials at the helm of affairs at the Ministry may have made away with the money.

The Permanent Secretary at the Ministry was said to have left on transfer to another Ministry and the Director of Livestocks resigned,  while the Minister also left the cabinet at the end of the first tenure of the Buhari administration. 

The new minister of agriculture and rural development, Mr Sabo Nanono told DAILY ASSET in an interview that he has no details about the  N13 billion because he was still receiving briefs from the ministry, assuring that he would find out how that money was spent.

Nanono said, “I have not even come to that. I am just barely two weeks in the ministry and I am still receiving briefings. So I don’t know anything about it.” 

When asked if he will investigate how the fund was spent, the minister said, “Yes, of course! I will get to the root of it.”

Ogbeh had in the last four years in office as minister of agriculture and rural development made several efforts at introducing programmes aimed at addressing the herders-farmers crisis such as Cattle Colony, Grazing Reserves, Ranches and the most controversial Ruga programme but none was successful.

See also  WACOT Rice to Complete Expansion of 120,000-ton Mill in 15 Months

Recall that President Buhari had in May 2019,  approved the RUGA programme barely a week to the end of his first term.

The then Minister of Agriculture, Ogbeh, despite explanations by the presidency that the Ruga was not meant for cattle herders, but other animals breeders could be settled in the RUGA settlements with provision of necessary and adequate basic amenities such as schools, hospitals, road networks, vet clinics, markets and manufacturing entities that will process and add value to meats and animal products, it was totally rejected.

Sokoto, Adamawa, Nasarawa, Kaduna, Kogi, Taraba, Katsina, Plateau, Kebbi, Zamfara and Niger states have indicated interest in developing the Ruga programme despite its suspension. 

Benue State had initially been listed as an interested pilot state, but Governor Samuel Ortom publicly denounced RUGA settlements after the Federal Government appeared to ignore its objections and tried to implement the plan in the state.

However, last week, the federal government came up with the  National Livestock Transformation Plan (NLTP) which it explained was quite distinct from the RUGA scheme.

In response to the outrage caused by the RUGA settlements, Vice President Osinbajo, who chairs NEC, has publicly dismissed claims that the plan was associated the with NLTP.

“On the National Livestock Transformation Plan, 13 States are already in the process of implementation of a plan to transform the livestock production system in Nigeria along market-oriented value chain while ensuring an atmosphere of peace and justice. 

“The States are Adamawa, Benue, Kaduna, Plateau, Nasarawa, Taraba, Zamfara, Katsina, Kano, Kogi, Kwara, Ondo, and Edo.”

See also  Reps Probe NSITF Management Over N2.3bn Fraud

NLTP is a N100 billion initiative that champions ranching as the way forward for cattle rearing in the country.

The plan, presented by the National Economic Council (NEC) in June 2018, recommends that cattle herders are expected to be registered with cooperatives for the purpose of the ranching scheme.

The funding of the plan from the federal government and state governments is expected to last for the first three years in the pilot phase for a total of N70 billion, while private sector interests and investments between the third and tenth year is expected to be in excess of N100 billion.

Meanwhile, DAILY ASSET has noted that the Federal Government has allocated  N3.2bn in the 2019 budget for the development of national grazing reserves, promotion and development of beef production as well as other livestock programmes.

The amount is contained in the 2019 budget, which was signed into law by President Muhammadu Buhari on May 28.

Specifically, the amount is contained in the  budget of the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development. A breakdown of the amount showed that  N2.4bn was specifically allocated to the development of national grazing reserves.

The federal ministry of agriculture 2019 budget also indicated that budget showed that  N212 million

was allocated to the promotion and development of beef production.

Also, a provision of N380m was made for motorised boreholes in Kano grazing reserves by the Federal Government.

Another N139 million was allocated for training of youths in the installation and maintenance of solar-powered street lights to livestock and other farms while N60 million was budgeted as agricultural grants for women and youths in  livestock farming.

About N8.5 million was proposed for the development of pastures in grazing reserves in the 2019 fiscal period.


Institute, NEPC Caution Farmers against using Pesticides to store Beans




The Nigerian Stored Products Research Institute (NSPRI) and the Nigerian Export Promotion Council (NEPC) have cautioned farmers against the use of pesticides and chemicals in storing dried beans and other legume crops.

Speaking at a sensitisation workshop in Sokoto, Dr Akin Olagbaju of the NSPRI, said the exercise was organised to enhance the capacity of farmers and merchants on how best to preserve beans for effective and profitable exportation.

Olagbaju highlighted several ways in which farmers and merchants can store their beans and legume crops without using any form of insecticide.

”The use of chemicals for storage is the cause of several ailments such as cancer among many others ravaging ills in the society.

”The NSPRI is also working on research on how to best to store onions and other varieties of crops for long term use and exportation,” he said.

Earlier in his presentation tagged ” Compliance to Food Safety Standards in Production and Storage of Safe and Healthy dried Beans for export” NEPC Trade Support Advisor, Alhaji Yahaya Ahmad-Sukaraiju said 95 beans farmers and merchants were selected in Sokoto state for the exercise.

Ahmad-Sukaraiju urged participants to make use of the opportunity to practice what they learned for business advantages as well as for the benefit of their produce.

See also  Matawalle Charges Contractors on RUGA Projects

”If you put these storage options you are taught today to proper use, you will not use chemicals in preserving your crops. These chemicals are dangerous to human health,” he said.

Also speaking, the DSC Faruk Umar, of Nigeria Custom Service (NCS) in Sokoto advised exporters in the state to ensure they comply with all the registration processes .

Umar said all the required documents needed for exportation can be obtained through the office NEPC  in Sokoto state. (NAN)

Continue Reading


World Bank Donates $12bn Food Grant to Nigeria, Others




By Tony Obiechina, Abuja 

The World Bank said it has disbursed at least $12bn, almost half of which was to Africa, to help beneficiary counties cope with food shortage.

In a report titled “Food Security Update: World Bank Response to Rising Food Insecurity” the Bank noted that domestic food prices remained high all over the world, especially in low and middle income countries.

According to the Bank, following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, trade-related policies imposed by countries have surged, and the global food crisis has been partially made worse by the growing number of food trade restrictions put in place by countries with a goal of increasing domestic supply and reducing prices.

The Bank also said a $30bn relief package, spread over a period of 15 months, including $12bn in new projects, will be rolled out to help counties cope with food insecurity.

According to the report, up to 205 million people are expected to face acute food insecurity and to be in need of urgent assistance in 45 countries.

“World wheat prices fell in January for a third consecutive month; international coarse grain prices remained mostly unchanged; and international rice prices rose at an accelerated pace in January 2023.

See also  WACOT Rice to Complete Expansion of 120,000-ton Mill in 15 Months

“Overall, FAO’s analysis indicates that high prices have persisted for the past three months despite some evidence of easing from 2022 peaks in certain countries, with rice price hikes mostly responsible for sustained high cereal prices.”

Beyond the fiscal stimulus, the World Bank Group stated it had partnered the G7 Presidency and co-convened the Global Alliance for Food Security, which aimed to catalyse an immediate and concerted response to the unfolding global hunger crisis.

The report added that the alliance had developed the publicly accessible Global Food and Nutrition Security Dashboard, which provided timely information for global and local decision-makers to help improve coordination of the policy and financial response to the food crisis.

Continue Reading


FG Establishes 500 Capacity Livestock Farm in Sokoto




The National Agricultural Land Development Authority (NALDA) has established an animal husbandry farm with cow milking parlour.

The farm with capacity for 500 cows and cow milking parlour with capacity of 200 cows in a set, sits on a 100 hectares land in Sokoto State.

NALDA said the idea behind the project was to develop a modern animal husbandry farm that would sustain itself and reduce the movement of cows within the area.

The Executive Secretary, NALDA, Prince Paul Ikonne, who disclosed this while speaking with newsmen after inspecting the farm and the poultry feed mill facility, said he was satisfied with the level of work at the facilities.

He explained that the essence of establishing the modern animal husbandry farm, which has cow pens with napier grass on 50 hectares, with the construction of clinics/veterinary sections and a training centre, was to reduce the movement of cattle and end the farmers/herders clashes.

Ikonne said that NALDA was committed to achieving food security and development, as he assured that the farm would generate employment, hygienic milk production and cow fattening for meat.

At the same time, the farm would train and encourage young farmers to go into animal husbandry and animal food formulation, according to the NALDA boss.

See also  Economists Evaluate Nigeria-China Currency Swap

Construction workers were spotted at the 100 hectares farmland at the section of the clinic and training centre building where work was ongoing, while the 500 cow capacity pens and the cow milking parlour have both been completed.

Also spotted were those watering the napier grass field using the boreholes provided by NALDA at the farm.

The farm is located at Dabagin-lafia, opposite the Usman Danfodio University farm, while the poultry feed mill is situated in Dayin village along the road to Doba, in Sokoto State.

“NALDA is into partnership with Prime Ranch Ltd, who donated the 100 hectares of land where we are establishing the animal husbandry farm, napier grass field and will cultivate maize and millet on 30 hectares of the said land,” Ikonne stated.

“The establishment of the napier grass field is to ensure feed production for the cows, as that will eliminate the roaming around of the animals in search of feed, thereby curtailing farmer/herder clash.

“The milking parlour will serve both the cows in the farm and other animal husbandry farmers who would want their cows milked in a hygienic way.

“Prime Ranch will manage the farm on completion based on their wealth of experience in animal husbandry. This type of partnership is sustainable, productive and should be encouraged in order for us to achieve food security and development,” he added.

See also  Daily Asset Appoints  Ochigbo, Chief Operating Officer

On employment opportunities through the partnership, Ikonne stated that with the establishment of the poultry feed mill, which Prime Ranch provided the land and was managing the 62,000 poultry capacity, there would be feed production for small farmers across the zone and other parts of the country.

He said job opportunities would also be created for those who would work at the milking parlour by attending to the cows.

“The employment chain will not be anything less than 400, consisting of workers who would be directly involved in these activities, outside the output, which is achieving food sufficiency,” he stated.

Also speaking during inspection of both projects, the farms and feed mill, the Founder, Prime Ranch Ltd, Nafiu Yakubi, said the partnership with NALDA was coming into fruition.

“The thinking when we incorporated Prime Ranch years back, is to have a ranch kind of arrangement whereby we grow our animals, grow their feeds, fatten them, and sell them off to the market. The partnership with NALDA is a very cordial one. They support us in all areas that we need support from them,” he said.

On the output from the partnership, Yakubu said, “Arising from this partnership with NALDA, you have seen the feed mill. We are currently producing feed for our poultry and other NALDA poultry farmers.”

See also  WACOT Rice to Complete Expansion of 120,000-ton Mill in 15 Months

He thanked President Muhammadu Buhari for encouraging young farmers through NADLA, stressing that the President had called Nigerians to return to farming, as he urged Nigerian youths to yield to the call.

“I am a lawyer and I am back to the farm, so Nigerian youths should go back to farming. It is very profitable and the opportunities are very wide,” Yakubu stated.

Continue Reading

Read Our ePaper

Top Stories

COVER21 hours ago

NMA Demands Apology from Nurses’ Association over Alleged Humiliation of Member

Share Post Views: 74 The Nigerian Medical Association (NMA) FCT Chapter has demanded for an unreserved public apology from the...

Faith21 hours ago

300 Christian Pilgrims Depart for Israel, Jordan

Share Post Views: 76 Three hundred Christian pilgrims departed Nigeria on Thursday on a nine-day pilgrimage to the Holy Land....

POLITICS22 hours ago

PDP Groups Demand Review of Nasarawa Guber Election as Protest Persists

Share Post Views: 85 A coalition of groups within the Peoples Democratic Party in Nasarawa State have expressed displeasure over...

INEC makes U-turn, admits ownership of server INEC makes U-turn, admits ownership of server
COVER22 hours ago

INEC Plans Full Digital Election for 2027- INEC National Commissioner

Share Post Views: 87 From Dan Amasingha, Minna Despite the outcry that greeted the hitches recorded with the use of...

Economy22 hours ago

World Bank Announces Ajay Banga as Sole Nominee for President

Share Post Views: 71 The World Bank Group’s Board of Executive Directors announced that Ajay Banga, a U.S. national, was...

COVER22 hours ago

Nigeria’s Debt Stock Hits N46trn

Share Post Views: 73 Nigeria’s total public debt stock as at Dec.31, 2022 stands at N46.25 trillion (103.11 billion dollars)....

CRIME23 hours ago

PDP Makes U- turn, Lifts Suspension on Ortom, Fayose, Anyim, Shema, Others

Share Post Views: 95 By Johnson Eyiangho, Gom Mirian (Abuja) & David Torough, Makurdi Two days after the sack of...

Metro2 days ago

Regular Demolitions ‘ll End Insecurity – FCTA  

Share Post Views: 42 By Laide Akinboade, Abuja  The Federal Capital Territory Administration (FCTA), Thursday, said its commitment to ensuring...

NEWS2 days ago

FCTA Vows to Demolish Structures on Waterways

Share Post Views: 54 By Laide Akinboade, Abuja  As part of the proactive measures to mitigate flooding in Abuja, the...

SPORTS2 days ago

Kick-off and Final Match Dates Confirmed for 2023 AFCON in Cote d’Ivoire

Share Post Views: 81 Dates for the kick-off and final matches at the 2023 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) scheduled...

Copyright © 2021 Daily Asset Limited | Powered by ObajeSoft Inc