♦Allegations Against Minister, Petty – Adviser
“As stakeholders in Agriculture we write to draw the attention of the Government to certain actions by the Honourable Minister of Agriculture (HMA), Alhaji Muhammad Sabo Nanono, which is inimical to the attainment of food sufficiency in Nigeria,” said All Farmers Association of Nigeria (AFAN).
In the Open Letter to President Muhammadu Buhari, dated April 25, 2020, signed by the President of AFAN, Arch. Kabir Ibrahim, alleged that while the farmers are doing their utmost to ensure food sufficiency despite the lock-down to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Minister is busy working against their efforts by antagonizing them.
The Farmers recalled that they had been having a very cordial relationship with all the Ministers of Agriculture since the Association was founded in 2002, but that the current HMA is causing a lot of damage to the status quo by trying to muddle in the affairs of AFAN which is not a department in his Ministry.
Origin of Face-offs
“The HMA once served as an appointed caretaker chairman of AFAN in Kano State at one time and suffered some humiliation when he took the Board of Trustees of AFAN to court to continue in office illegitimately.
“The case was thrown out and a proper election was conducted and State Executives were duly elected and inaugurated.
“His displeasure with AFAN is now manifesting since he is trying to promote the fragmentation of AFAN by throwing his weight behind un-elected people parading themselves as AFAN officials,” said the document.
Response by Minister
Responding to the AFAN letter, Technical Adviser, Knowledge Management and Communication to minister, Mr. Richard Mbaram, said : The allegations being leveled against the minister, are in themselves petty and a clear indication of the limited knowledge of the makers thereof on the workings of the Agriculture sector in Nigeria. Indeed, it appears a clear sign of desperation on the part of the proponents of these allegations,.”
He said that the Minister is not interested in the internal politics of AFAN, other than for the purpose of working with the association to ensure that Nigeria is food secure, particularly at this trying time when the country is fighting to stave off the devastating health challenge of the COVID19 Pandemic – with its concomitant socioeconomic implications.
“To this end, and in view of the need to step up food production and supply across the country, it has become necessary to engage all stakeholders in the agricultural ecosystem.
” Farmers are critical in this regard, and the Honorable Minister has been informed of the constitution of an interim Executive of AFAN and the ministry has been served with court processes which indicate that the association has instituted processes in court against the erstwhile Exco, seeking sundry reliefs.
“While respecting the fact that the matter is sub judis, Nigeria is in an unprecedented crisis and the issues of politics and parochial considerations take a back seat. Until there is a pronouncement on the case before the court, life has to go on. To this end, any aggrieved party can seek recourse to the- courts to achieve redress and the ministry will, as a law abiding entity, comply with the directives and judgement of court,” he said.