The House of Representatives on Tuesday resolved to investigate the construction of 33 silos worth N280 billion across the country with a view to ensure their completion for immediate usage.
This was sequel to a motion moved by Rep. Solomon Ahwinahwi (Delta-PDP) at the plenary.
Ahwinahwi said that in the past eight years, the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (FMARD) had been constructing 33 grain silos across the country.
He said out of all the silos which so far cost N280 billion, only three were reported to have been completed while others are nearing 85 per cent completion.
Ahwinahwi said that the silos, which were located in Abuja, Ado Ekiti, Ilesa, Akure, Okigwe, Igbariam, Saki, Dankande, and Ikenne, had 100,000 tonnes storage capacity each.
He said 23 others with various storage capacities were in very deplorable state of rust and decay.
The lawmaker explained that the laudable idea was conceived by the late President Musa Yar’Adua in 2009 to serve as strategic grain reserve where excess harvest could be stored.
He said grains like rice, beans, maize, millet, soya and sorghum were to be stored so as to reduce post-harvest loss and preserve surplus harvest.
Ahwinahwi said the silos were to help farmers earn more income and bolster the nation’s food security.
The legislator said the idea seemed to have been abandoned as the silos have been taken over by reptiles.
He said that after huge and scarce resources had been spent on the project, it was being alleged that there were plans to concession out the silos to private operators.
Ahwinahwi explained that the private operators were expected to pay rent to the government.
According to him, to allow this would be a clear sign that the country was far from being serious with the touted quest for self-sufficiency in food production and storage.
The house urged the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development to look into the issue of silos and other agro infrastructure in order to achieve late President Musa Yar’Adua’s vision.
The Speaker of the House, Mr Yakubu Dogara, mandated the Committee on Agricultural Production and Services to carry out an assessment of all the silos that were under construction.
Dogara urged the committee to come up with workable plans on how they could be completed and put into immediate use.
He urged the committee to report back to the house within eight weeks for further legislative action. (NAN)