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Reps seek N1.8b compensation for poultry farmers over bird flu

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Members of the House of Representatives at a plenary. PHOTO: TWITTER/HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES

* Give agric bank 90 days to refund N3.5m ‘exit package’
• Want arms for FRSC personnel

The House of Representatives has ordered investigation into the non-payment of N1.8billion to poultry farmers over loss from bird flu. This followed a motion under matters of urgent national importance by Abdulrazak Namdas (Adamawa-APC).

Namdas explained that early last year, poultry farmers suffered a loss of 3, 682, 726 birds due to the outbreak of bird flu.

He expressed concern that the Federal Ministry of Finance failed to pay the 450 farmers, whose birds were affected by the disease, despite the directive by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo.

Namdas stressed that investigation by the officials of the Federal Ministry of Agriculture had confirmed the number of birds and the compensation.

He said: “I am aware that the leadership of the Poultry Farmers Association of Nigeria (PFAN), alongside relevant authorities of the Federal Ministry of Agriculture had met with Osibanjo when he was the Ag. President. He directed the Federal Ministry of Finance to liaise with the Ministry of Agriculture to pay the affected farmers.”

He disclosed that a joint committee constituted by the Federal Ministry of Finance and the Federal Ministry of Agriculture had sourced the money for the compensation, but the farmers have not been paid till date.

The House mandated its Committee on Agriculture, Production and Services to investigate the matter and report back in two weeks for further legislative action. The motion was unanimously adopted when Speaker Yakubu Dogara put it to a voice vote.

Meanwhile, the House Committee on Public Accounts yesterday ordered the Bank of Agriculture to refund N3.5 million ‘exit package’ paid illegally to one MK Nkwa, as interim chairman of the bank’s shareholders committee in 2014.

The decision followed a query by the Office of the Auditor General of the Federation. The query stated that Nkwa was still an employee of the Federal Ministry of Finance at the time he was paid the money.

The Managing Director of the Bank of Agriculture, Prof. Danbala Danju, explained that the previous management obtained approval from the then Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development.

Also yesterday, the lawmakers mandated its Committee on the Federal Road Safety Commission (FRSC) to investigate alleged attack on its personnel in some parts of the country.

The resolution followed a motion by Solomon Bulus Maren (PDP, Plateau), titled: “The need to curb incessant attacks on personnel of the FRSC.

They asked that the personnel be empowered to carry arms in line with Section 19 of the FRSC (Establishment) Act, 2007.



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