Netizens discuss Economy Post story on Akpabio’s constituency getting most projects from agric ministry

NETIZENS are citing a story published by Economy Post in December 2023 which revealed that the Ministry of Agriculture and Food Security allocated 21 projects to Akwa Ibom North West, the constituency represented by Senate President, Mr Godswill Akpabio, while neglecting other zones and states.

Economy Post had, on December 25 2023, published the 2024 budget of the Ministry of Agriculture and Food Security which showed that Mr Akpabio’s constituency got 21 out of 118 projects planned by the ministry in 2024. Akpabio got a budget totalling about N18 billion from the ministry, even when some food-belt areas received none.

READ ALSO: Agric Budget: Akpabio’s senatorial zone gets 21 projects, food-belt states receive nothing

Tweeps react

Following the Senate’s suspension of Chairman of Northern Senators Forum, Mr Abdul Ningi, over his allegation in a BBC Hausa interview on March 9 that the 2024 budget passed by the National Assembly was different from the one being implemented by the presidency, Tweeps are discussing a story by Economy Post exposing the lopsidedness the 2024 budget of the Ministry of Agriculture and Food Security.

A Twitter user and a political leader in the northern Nigeria, Mr Shehu Mahdi, wrote: “N18 B FOR AKPABIO’S CONSTITUENCY FOR AGRICILTURE: This amount is more than the amount allocated for 11 states. Where were the senators when the budget was being deliberated or approved. In hotel rooms? At guest houses? Abroad? Attending birth day parties? etc SP Akpabio inseed.”

Another X user, Maybeks, claimed that Mr Akpabio sneaked N18 billion into the 2024 budget of the agric ministry “under the guise of buying transformers and installing solar street lights in his constituency.”

READ ALSO: Busted: Nigerian govt agency uses fake contractors to execute over N800bn project

Yet another X user, who goes by the name Mr Bashir Ashura, called it a scandal, claiming that it was merely looting of public funds.

The issue

THE Akwa Ibom North-West, the zone represented by Mr Akpabio, will be getting 21 out of 118 projects planned by the Ministry of Agriculture and Food Security in 2024.

While Mr Akpabio’s zone will get the highest number of projects from the ministry in 2024, some food-producing states are set to receive nothing.

READ ALSO: Inside the ‘dubious’ 2024 budget of Ministry of Youth Development

Akpabio represents Akwa Ibom North West senatorial zone comprising 10 local government areas of Abak, Essien, Etim Ekpo, Ikono, Ika, Ini, Ikot-Ekpene, Oruk Anam, Obot, and Ukanafun.

While Akwa Ibom North West will get 21 agric projects in 2024, some states are not sure of getting any.

A typical example is Benue State which is the largest producer of cassava, mangoes, and oranges, second largest producer of yam, and third biggest farmer of rice.

There is no specific project assigned to the state touted as “Food Basket of the Nation.”

Based on Economy Post‘s critical review of the budget, states like Taraba, Jigawa, Kaduna, Nasarawa, Plateau, and Yobe (food-belt states) will have to depend on the mercies of the Minister of Agriculture and Food Security, Mr Abubakar Kyari, a former senator, for projects in 2024.

READ ALSO: Health ministry, agency budget N300m for retreat, N938m just to monitor health centres

But Abia (11) and Akwa Ibom North West (21) will be taking the largest chunk, even though there are states doing much better than them in terms of food production.

StateNumber of Projects
Bauchi0
Bayelsa0
Delta0
Adamawa0
Ondo2
Cross River0
Rivers0
Jigawa0
Katsina0
Benue0
Nasarawa0
FCT0
Kaduna0
Gombe0
Zamfara0
Yobe0
Abia11
Akwa Ibom North West21
Borno2
Edo1
Kano1
Kebbi2
Sokoto2
Imo3
Ebonyi4
Ekiti6
Osun3
Lagos4
Niger3
Ogun2
Kwara2
Anambra3
Enugu3
Kogi1
Oyo3
Plateau0
Taraba0
Source: Budget Office of the Federation, Economy Pos
Yakubu Ibrahim
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