GESSAN Refutes Defamatory Allegations against Agric Minister

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  • Wants fertilizer distribution scaled up

By James Emejo in Abuja

The National Chairman, Growth Enhancement Support Scheme Agricultural Association of Nigeria (GESSAN), Alhaji Kabiru Umar Fara has dismissed as untrue, allegations that the Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Audu Ogbeh and top officials in the ministry received N2billion from a N20billion-disbursement to agro-dealers.

He however, commended the Federal Ministry of Agriculture for facilitating the payment of N20billion, out of an outstanding N61billion owed to agro-dealers by the previous administration of President Goodluck Jonathan.

Fara further reiterated that the recent allegation by an online media platform against Ogbeh was baseless.

The minister had already denied the allegation at a recent news briefing.

Fara said at a briefing in Abuja: “The allegations are untrue, unfounded and immature” and praised the minister for his efforts towards offsetting the debt.

He said: “However, as the association pours encomium on the federal government and the ministry for discharging their responsibility effectively, it appealed to them to disregard a criticism purportedly sponsored by an unknown person castigating them.”

Furthermore, he encouraged Ogbeh to take legal action against the erring member of the association who made baseless allegations on the disbursement.

He said: “The person that leveled the allegation has done something similar as he tried to tarnish the image of the government in the past. GESSAN expressly dissociates itself from the said publication and condemned it in its entirety.”

Fara said: “We thank the Minister for his effort in making a case for the association to get paid its outstanding money, we also urge the federal government to give premium to food security just as war is being waged against insecurity across the country.”

The association also called on the government to scale up the distribution of fertilizer, which prize had since skyrocketed to about N9,000 due to unpatriotic practices of some local producers.

’’Government should look into the activities of these producers as some of them are not patriotic enough in protecting the interest of Nigerian farmers’’, he stressed.

He added that the action of some fertilizer producers was affecting farmers’ productivity.

“For instance, of the 700,000 metric tonnes of urea needed by farmers this year, it is less likely that they have the capacity to meet the demand,” he said.