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Reps probe Agric ministry over N18.6bn spent to clear bush, prepare land

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Nigeria’s House of Representatives is probing the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development for spending N18.6 billion to clear bushes and prepare land across several unnamed constituencies.

The amount was spent in eight years, between 2013 and 2021, with rehabilitation of soil and plant laboratories also gulping part of the fund, a representative of the Ministry told the lawmakers.

The disclosure was made during an investigative hearing by the Committee on Public Accounts, led by Osun State lawmaker, Oluwole Oke, of Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) on Wednesday.

Reasons given by the representatives of the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development were not satisfactory, leading to the summons of companies involved in the bush clearing and other activities.

Read also: HURIWA mandates Agric Ministry to construct church, shrine for N30m, threatens lawsuit

Oke revealed that constituencies where the funds were disbursed for the projects are not aware of such activities, so the companies will be invited to further provide clarification on the purpose of the fund.

While he didn’t disclose the names of the companies summoned or when they are expected to appear before the Committee on Public Accounts, Oke said, “We invited the Ministry of Agriculture and they have made submission.

“But some of our members whose constituencies these projects were supposed to be domiciled doubted the existence of these projects.

“For fair hearing, we have invited the companies that got the contract for them to come and tell this committee where and when the jobs were executed.” Oke said.

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