The 150 trucks of fertilizers out of a total of over 300 trucks procured by the Nasarawa State for the 2017/2018 cropping seasons allegedly diverted for other purposes, will be recovered, says the Commissioner for Agriculture and Water Resources, Professor Otaki Alanana.
Professor Alanana, told the newsmen, that the State would have approached the Police and the EFCC for appropriate action against those involved under the previous headship of the Ministry, but for the need to be diplomatic and to avoid political misunderstanding.
“Upon my assumption of office last year November, I was confronted with the matter that the state government under the previous administration had procured over 300 tucks of fertilizers for the 2017/2018 cropping season.
“But that 150 Trucks of the fertilizers were not supplied, so I reported the matter to the chairman of the committee under this administration who is the State Deputy Governor, Dr. Emmanuel Akabe, who also fed his principal, the state governor, Engr Abdullahi Sule, on the situation, on how best to approach the matter.
“And later involved the police, where the Commissioner of Police in the state took over the matter and invited those who were responsible in defrauding the state,” he explained.
Professor Otaki, however, added that the State Government was on top of the situation on how to reduce the suffering of farmers due to the shortages in the supply of fertilizers in this year’s farming season.
He said that the State Government had already made plans to purchase, at least, 31 trucks of the commodity to meet the yearning of farmers; but that the COVID-19 outbreak slowed the process down, adding that it has also approached the company in Bokkos, Plateau State, where the earlier 300 trucks of the fertilizers was procured on how the remaining 150 trucks can be supplied to the State.
“So in the event of failure on one of the approaches, the other can be possible,” Otaki added.
When contacted, the immediate past Commissioner for Agriculture, Jamil Zakari, explained that out of the 333 trucks that Nasarawa State was supposed to collect from Bajefta Blending Plant in Bokkos, Plateau State, during his tenure, the Ministry got approval to collect 137 trucks in 2017 and 64 trucks in 2018.
Zakari further explained that a total of 201 trucks were claimed remaining the difference of 132 trucks as at the time he left the Ministry in 2018.
According to him: “The record can be verified from the Ministry. Anything fertilizer after this is not known to me.
“The Ministry can be approached to know what it collected, if any, in 2019 and beyond. For the records, all these number of trucks (201) were received and delivered safely to their various destinations, my handing-over note can be referenced, not a single bag out of this was ever reported missing while I was there.
“I think the company defaulted in keeping faith with its own part of the bargain, so the state government should make efforts to recover what was not supplied by the company,” he pointed out.