The President Young Farmers Association Enugu State, Mr. Kenneth Eze, on Saturday, lamented the exclusion of over 100 registered members of the association from selected farmers currently undergoing training in Keffi-Nasarawa State, wondering the criteria government used in selecting the beneficiaries.
Mr. Eze who spoke in Enugu, expressed shock and disgust about how government came about more than 260 farmers participating in the programme.
“I’m surprised the way the agricultural empowerment scheme for over 260 Farmers was being carried out,” he exclaimed.
While commending the Governor for the initiative to train young persons in modern farming at Nasarawa State, Mr. Eze however faulted the way the selection was done.
“The empowerment programme under the supervision of Mr. Mike Ogbuekwe who is the Special Adviser to the Governor on Agriculture, was not given enough publicity as to ascertain the real persons that are farmers who are in dire need of such empowerment considering the call for Nigerians to go into farming,” Mr. Eze lamented.
According to him, “It’s very bad that as the President of Enugu State Young Farmers Association ( ENSYFA), an association registered with the State Ministry of Human Capital development and Poverty Reduction; and also Director, Agricultural Directorate, National Youth Council of Nigeria, Enugu State chapter, that such a programme would be going on and I don’t have any knowledge of it. It begs for so many questions.”
He queried how the selection was done,
“I will really be glad if these pertinent questions are answered.
One, how was the selection of these Farmers made? Did the supervisor only bring his Kiths and Kins for this empowerment?
“Two, how did they identify these persons as real farmers? Were they taken from recognized agricultural associations known in the state?
“Three, how do we checkmate this empowerment to ensure good application of the knowledge gotten from the training?
“Let it not be another means to waste our public funds in the name of empowerment.
“I strongly advise that these persons selected should have shown evidences of their farmlands and crops as it were before the training and how it is few months after the training.
“Things as vital as empowerment shouldn’t be joked with. Gone are the days we politicize everything. Everyone should be given equal right to participate for chances and opportunities like this.
“We are not ignorant of the fact that election is by the corner and as such, shallow projects would be going up and down to get sympathy votes. We are wiser now.
“I plead with the organizers of this programme to ensure that any disbursement being made should be made open and transparent as we are fully aware now.
“Also they should get all Enugu registered Agricultural associations involved, hence it’s just another Agricultural jamboree. A political sham,”he alleged.
When contacted, the Special Adviser to the Governor on Agriculture, Mr. Mike Ogbuekwe, said he would not comment on anything on phone.
“If there is anything you want us to talk about, you can come to my office and I will see you face-to-face and verify if I’m speaking with the right person.
“Anybody can call me and said he is from somewhere,” the Special Adviser said.
However, we tried to draw his attention of the long holidays and would not keep the story till after the holidays, but he insisted he could not comment on phone.
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