Written by Sarah NEGEDU

FG would not probe Adesina, says Ogbeh

Contrary to claims in some section of the media that the current Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Chief Audu Ogbeh, would be probing former minister, Dr. Akinwunmi Adesina, Ogbeh said he has only commendation for his predecessor.

The minister, who spoke at an interactive session with the media, said his administration would not engage in any policy somersault, but rather build on the legacies and achievements of his predecessor.

He said “The ministry is not probing Adesina. Indeed we are proud of his works, we intend not to engage on any policy somersault, we will continue to deepen and widen the programmes he left behind”.

He however emphasized the need for his administration to verify claims made by contractors, noting that, verification of claims is an ongoing process in management.

He added that, “Verification goes on all the time in government. Even when Dr. Adesina was here as the minister, he verified claims before he paid.”

The minister maintained that his administration had no plans to probe the former minister and president of the African Development Bank, AfDB, stressing that “Dr. Adesina was not a contractor supplying seeds, he was a minister”.

Ogbeh pointed out that the president of AfDB is the first Nigerian to assume that position and the country is proud of him and would continue to give him the necessary support.

He further disclosed that in partnership with research institutes namely, International Institute of Tropical Agriculture and Lake Chad Research Institute, the Federal Government has come up with a new variety of wheat crop that is low in gluten and other defects and highly accepted by farmers /millers.

Explaining more, he said about 100,000 hectares of this new variety of wheat had been cultivated in a state of the northern part of the country with an estimate yield of 3.5 to 4 tonnes per hectare and 350,000 tonnes of wheat during the harvest season.

With this development, he said Nigeria would be saving $4.6 billion per annum on wheat importation.

“If we continue this programme for the next 3-4 years, Nigeria will become self-sufficient in wheat that will save us a colossal sum of $4.6 billion a year in wheat import.

“This means job creation on a large scale, a reduction in poverty and economic independence in the area of agriculture,” he said.

In another development, Ogbe has called for the need for Nigeria to move beyond oil, saying the country has enough potential to diversify its economy.

He was speaking at a retreat held for directors of the ministry in Abuja, emphasizing the need for government and other stakeholders to work closely together to realign Nigeria for a progressive life beyond oil.

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