All farmers Association of Nigeria (AFAN) have condemned government plan to provide extra-budgetary spending of N13billion to fight quelea birds, locusts and pests, noting that the fund was not provided for in the 2020 budget and, therefore, unappropriated by the NASS.
AFAN National President Arch Ibrahim Kabir said 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.
“The public domain is awash with consternation as to the basis for this kind of talk by the driver of the Nigerian food system,” Kabir 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 realization that the government is planning to spend this kind of money on a perceived problem even before it rears its head is nebulous.”
He wondered how the government came to the decision to expend such amount of money 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.
Kabir said: “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.”
Kabir called on the National Assembly to summon a stakeholder hearing to appraise the matter and government should be advised to reappraise the performance of the drivers of Agriculture in Nigeria.
He said the government should rather prioritize issues bordering on the food system leading to food security especially during and after the COVID-19 pandemic that has terribly impacted the health and economic sectors of the Nation.
While applauding efforts and concern of President Buhari on the promotion of agriculture for food security and national development, Ibrahim said it will be unpatriotic to keep quiet in the face of this obtuse and reductive appraisal of an integral component of the National Food System.
He urged the government 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.