Posted by News Express | 13 September 2021 | 516 times
Following the appointment of the former minister of Environment, Muhammad Mahmood Abubakar, as the new Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, over the sacking of former minister, Mohammed Sabo Nanono, heads are beginning to roll in the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (FMARD) over the alleged shadowy multi-billion Naira contracts awarded during Nanono’s tenure that were alleged not in line with due process.
It was reliably gathered from sources in FMARD Headquarters, FCT, Abuja, after the resumption of Abubakar, that changes in staff deployments have begun in the ministry in connection with the alleged financial malpractices that took place in FMARD under the former minister’s tenure, as some principal staff are now being moved out of the ministry, while others are being placed under investigations to unearth the shadowy contracts awarded.
It is said that the resumption of Abubakar as the new minister at FMARD was greeted with wide jubilation among staff since the handover did not took place last week, as Abubakar was busy handling over at his former environment ministry and this delayed his assumption at the agric ministry.
However, following his resumption to work at the ministry, sources in FMARD revealed that deployments of staff out of the ministry has already commenced in a bid to cleanse the agric ministry, as the image of the ministry has been dented in connection with the alleged financial malpractices relating to shadowy contract award contracts that were not in line with due process awarded by former minister, Nanono until he was sacked two weeks ago by President Buhari.
For instance, under Nanono, as agricultural minister, he was allegedly accused of awarding contracts to two shadowy companies worth several billions to buy grains at a time the market was extremely volatile, triggering a price hike in the country’s food system.
Particularly, Sunday Telegraph reliably gathered that a top official in the National Planning Department of the ministry has been transferred out of FMARD, having been a close top ally of the former minister, Sabo Nanono.
It was reliably gathered from sources in FMARD that some principal staff in connection to the contract awarded at the ministry are now undergoing questioning about their roles in the multi-billion naira contract awards that took place in FMARD.
Indeed, one of the top contracts awarded under investigation, according to sources in FMARD, is the government’s school feeding programme that had gulped billions of naira. Precisely, the former minister had stated that N30 meal could be enough for an adult Nigerian, in response to criticism on the economic hardship during a radio interview.
Similarly, the former minister was also allegedly accused of spending over N1 billion to renovate the ministry’s old headquarters, when the building the ministry bought for over N7 billion was abandoned in Central Business District, Abuja.
Similarly, it was gathered from sources in the ministry that a good number of projects awarded beginning from the 2019/2020 till date are expected to be under scrutiny to unravel huge alleged misappropriation of funds in the ministry that were awarded by Nanono that did not pass through due process; for instance, the N30 million Mosque award contract.
However, stakeholders in the agric sector said that the sacking of the former minister was related to his dismal performance in the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, following alleged financial malpractices and partisanship in taken side with a faction of AFAN, which have divided the country’s farmers’ regulatory body.
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