BEVERLY HILLS, April 18, (THEWILL) – Minister of Agriculture, Audu Ogbeh, has discovered 386 strange projects worth N12.6billion in the ministry’s proposals reportedly inserted by the National Assembly.
The projects were said to have been smuggled into the ministry’s estimates after its N40.918 billion budget proposal had been reduced by the legislators to N31.618billion.
About three projects unconnected with the agriculture sector have been included in the ministry’s projects. These border on erosion control in Federal University, Kashere, Kwadon and Garin Alhaji at N200 million, N100 million and N45 million.
A top source in the Ministry who spoke anonymously declared that: ‘’In the Agric sector, 386 projects were inserted, which totalled about N12.6 billion.
“While N5.3 billion of the main ministry’s budget is taken away, about N7.2 billion is infused into almost 40 agencies and parastatals of the agric ministry.
“Other smuggled projects are provision of 58 boreholes for 29 rural communities and an additional 50 for 50 rural communities in the sum of N175 million and N150.4 million. Curiously, the communities are not named.
“Similarly, of the N90 million allocated to the Cocoa Research Institute in Ibadan, various sums are allotted for the following of the seven sub-heads: provision of rubber seeds and seedling in Igbotako, Okitipupa, (N5m), training and empowerment of youths in poultry farming in Oluyole, Ibadan (N20m) and provision of cassava processing plant in Etsako East Local Government Area of Edo State (N10m).
“Of the four sub-heads under the Rubber Research Institute, Benin, two areas are equally outside the focus of rubber. These are training and empowerment of youth and women in fish farming in Ndokwa, Delta State as well as fabrication and installation of cassava processing machines in Owan West Local Government Area of Edo State at N10m and N20m.
“Also, N1 billion was allocated to two projects in Kwara South Senatorial District, including the construction of rural roads for N700 million as well as empowerment of women and youths in agricultural products for N300 million.”
There were strong indications that the Minister of Budget and National Planning, Sen. Udoma Udo Udoma might brief President Muhammadu Buhari over the issue while Secretary to the Government of the Federation Babachir David Lawal may meet with Ministers over the budget.
Story by David Oputah