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AFAN disagrees with FG over plan to spend N13 billion to fight quilea birds

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The All Farmers Association of Nigeria (AFAN) has expressed shock over plan to spend a whopping sum of N13 billion to fight quilea birds and locusts this year.

In a statement issued and made available to CAPITAL POST in Abuja on Friday, the National President of the farmer’s umbrella body, Arch. Kabir Ibrahim stressed that it would amount to gross indiscipline and misconduct if the unappropriated fund was spent.

He expressed surprise that government officials could mention such a humongous amount to be spent when they know it didn’t follow due process.

The statement said: “That Nigeria is going to spend N13 billion to fight quilea birds, locusts and pests is not provided for in the 2020 budget and therefore unappropriated by the NASS.

“For this kind of information to be churned out to the public tantamount to gross indiscipline and gross misconduct by any public officer who perpetrated it.

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“The public domain is awash with consternation as to the basis for this kind of talk by the driver of the Nigerian food system.

“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 realization that the government is planning to spend this kind of money on a perceived problem even before it rears its head is nebulous.

“The question we are asking is how the government came to the decision to expend this collosal 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 too.

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“For any policy driver to come up with this shows that they are not in firm control of what is happening in the Agriculture space or they are hell bent on defrauding the food system from the onset.

He called on the Parliament to convocate the stakeholders to determine a way forward, noting that government should reasses the performance of handlers of Agriculture in Nigeria.

“The NASS is at this point called upon to summon a stakeholder hearing to appraise this matter.

“At the end of this hearing the government should be advised to reappraise the performance of the drivers of Agriculture in Nigeria.

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“The issues bordering on the food system leading to food security are germane especially during and after the COVID-19 pandemic that has terribly impacted the health and economic sectors of the Nation.

“While we applaud the efforts and concern of President Buhari on the promotion of Agriculture for food security and National development it will be inpatriotic to keep quiet in the face of this obtuse and reductive appraisal of an integral component of the National Food System.

“We call on the Administration to quickly evolve a directorate to take charge of the attainment of food security in Nigeria at the backdrop of the COVID-19 pandemic to avert food shortage that can lead to the collapse of the whole governance system of our dear country”, the statement concluded.

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