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‘How Emirs, Lawmakers Shared Strategic Grains Reserve’

Posted by From Sufuyan Ojeifo in Abuja on 2008/07/19 | Views: 2064 |

‘How Emirs, Lawmakers Shared Strategic Grains Reserve’


Senate Ad-hoc Committee probing food crisis in the country yesterday revealed how state governments, some northern emirs, federal legislators and other prominent Nigerians shared the 65.755 metric tonnes of grains in the strategic reserve for the year 2008.

Senate Ad-hoc Committee probing food crisis in the country yesterday revealed how state governments, some northern emirs, federal legislators and other prominent Nigerians shared the 65.755 metric tonnes of grains in the strategic reserve for the year 2008.
The dramatic revelation came via a document submitted to the Senator Idris Umar-led Committee by the Ministry of Agriculture and Water Resources, entitled: "2008 Grain Release Beneficiaries".
The revelation came on a day the Minister of State in the Ministry, Mr. Demola Seriki testified before the Commit-tee. He represented the Minister, Dr. Sayyadi Abba-Ruma.
Seriki spoke on how the mop-up of the grains was done and how the grains were distributed to the beneficiaries.
On the purchase of the grains, he said that "instead of informing members of the public about the need by the ministry for persons to apply to be selected for the procurement of the grains, it has been the practice that the ministry would simply ask any member of the public to supply the grains."
He explained that the practice equally applied to the distribution of the grains to beneficiaries, stressing that "if newspaper advertisements were carried out to call on people to apply for selection for the distribution exercise, prices of grains in the market would be inflated by marketers".
Seriki disclosed that the country would require a minimum of 2.5 million metric tonnes to meet its strategic grains reserve requirement. The current capacity is 300,000 metric tonnes.
The Committee directed the minister to submit written explanations on why there was no procurement of grains between 1999 and 2007.
The document detailing the identities of beneficiaries of the grains released this year, indicated that the North got 55,555 metric tonnes of grains representing 84.5 percent while the South got 10,200 metric tonnes representing 15.5 percent.
While Borno, Gombe Jigawa, Katsina, Kebbi, Sokoto, Zamfara and Yobe States got 2,700 metric tonnes each, Bauchi, Kaduna, Kano, Niger, Adamawa, Benue, Nasarawa, Taraba, Kogi, Kwara and Plateau States got 1,200 metric tonnes each. All the seventeen States in the South got 600 metric tonnes each.
Individuals who got included, among others, Etsu Nupe (120 metric tonnes), Emir of Biu (60 metric tonnes), Emir of Lafia (120 metric tonnes), Emir of Daura (120 metric tonnes), Emir of Katsina (120 metric tonnes), Vice Chairman of the Senate Committee on Industries, Senator Adamu Garba Talba (120 metric tonnes), Chairman of the Senate Committee on Defence and Army, Senator Ibrahim Ida (120 metric tonnes) and Hon. Abdulkadir Mohammed Nasir (60 metric tonnes), Dr. Hassan Adamu (Wakilin Adamawa) (120 metric tonnes).
The Ad hoc Committee Chairman, Senator Umar, had asked the Director of Food Reserves and Storage in the Ministry of Agriculture, Mr. Lawal Mohammed Ila who sat with the minister, to identify any common man who benefitted from the grains, but he said he could not identify any.
"Mr. Minister, I want you to honestly tell us that the grains distribution list contains the name of any ordinary Nigerian? I can tell you that from the investigations we have made and from our records, there is no ordinary Nigerian who benefited from that distribution," he said.
He added: "If we are serious, let us be serious because the list does not show the beneficiaries are the end users. We should not be sitting here in Abuja and applying for grains when the people who actually need it cannot assess it."

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Fay(Katy, Texas, US)says...

Actually translates to bravehearted.