Federal Government shocked Nigerians when it announced the setting up a N13.9 billion Pest Control Fund under the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development. The fund was approved by the Federal Executive Council ostensibly to address the control of migratory pests, trans-boundary animal diseases and upgrade of abattoirs.
The Agric Minister, Sabo Nanono, announced the approval during the launching of the 2020 Dry Season Control of Trans-boundary or Migratory Pests on June 12 in Kebbi State. Giving a breakdown of the planned expenditure, the Director, Department of Veterinary and Pest Control Services in the ministry, Alabi Olaniran, explained that out of the N13.9 billion announced by the minister, N2.8 billion was for migratory pest control, N9.6 billion for the control of animal and zoonotic diseases, and N1.4 billion for the rehabilitation and upgrade of abattoirs. The N2.8 billion meant for the control of migratory pests, he said, would be disbursed to 12 frontline states of Kebbi, Sokoto, Katsina, Kano, Jigawa, Borno, Yobe, Taraba, Adamawa, Gombe, Bauchi and Zamfara, adding that the states were chosen because they were likely entry points for migratory pests from other countries.
In serious climes, no government would dare to make this kind of announcement. It is shocking that at a time when the country is heavily cash-strapped as a result of the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic, the government could be frittering away billions of naira under the pretext of fighting migratory pests and renovating slaughterhouses! It seems sufficiently clear that having apparently got away with serial oddities, including spending billions of naira on feeding school children who are not in school, the Muhammadu Buhari administration believes that it can get away with just about anything. To the best of our knowledge, no government, at least since the return to civil rule in 1999, has had the audacity to treat Nigerians in this patently uncivil and derogatory manner.