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Nigeria’s 33 silos built with taxpayers N280bn rot away across the nation

…Reps kick as storage challenges frustrate farmers nationwide

The Nigerian House of Representatives have expressed dismay at the observed abandonment of all 33 Silos built by the federal government to facilitate storage of agricultural products across the country.

A silo (from the Greek σιρός – siros, “pit for holding grain”) is a structure for storing bulk materials. Silos are used in agriculture to store grain (see grain elevators) or fermented feed known as silage.

The facilities which are located in Abuja, Ado Ekiti, Ilesa, Akure, Okigwe, Igbariam, Saki, Dankande, and Ikenne, comprise of 10 silos of 100,000 metric tons storage capacity and 23 others with a storage capacity of 23 metric tons, out of which 30 are now in deplorable state of rust and decay.

The Silos built with N280 billion belonging to the Federal Government has been under the federal ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development.

Unfortunately, the Minister, Chief Audu Ogbeh has since appointment been driving a campaign for food sufficiency and security but without recourse to storage facilities.

However, relief may be on the way as the National Assembly has upon a motion moved by Solomon Ahwinahwi, has mandated its Committee on Agricultural Production and Services to carry out an assessment of all silos that are under construction in a bid to determine the level of progress made and come up with workable plans on how they can be completed and put into immediate use.

The Committee is expected to turn in the report within eight weeks for further legislative consideration.

Explaining more, the sponsor of the motion, Hon. Ahwinahwi, described as highly worrisome, the fact that for upward of eight years, the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development has been constructing 33 grain silos spread across the country, which cost so far was put at about two hundred and eighty billion Naira, with only 3 reported to have been completed while others are nearing 85 percent completion.

In his submission, he averred that failure of the Agriculture Ministry to deliver on the silos   has defeated the idea of promoting food security through building modern storage facilities as conceived by the Late President Musa Yar’Adua. in 2009.

He said “We should be concerned that after huge and scarce resources had been spent on the project, it is being alleged that there are plans to concession out the silos to private operators who will in turn pay rent to the government.

“To allow this will amount to a clear sign that the country is far from being serious with the touted quest for self-sufficiency in food production and storage”, Ahwinahwi noted.

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