Reps questions Ministry of Agric over N18bn contract for bush clearing


The house of representatives committee on public accounts questioned the Ministry of Agriculture over the award of contracts amounting N18.9 billion to firms during the COVID-19 lockdown.

At the investigative hearing on Tuesday, Oluwole Oke, chairman of the committee, said the contracts were awarded to the companies for bush clearing, land preparation and rehabilitation of soil and plant laboratories.

“During the lockdown of the country as a result of COVID-19, some companies took contracts worth about N18 billion for bush clearing from the federal ministry of agriculture for land preparation, rehabilitation of soil plant lab and others. We cannot shave their head in their absence,” Oke said.

“So, we have invited them to come and give us their own side by responding to the issues and showing us the places they are supposed to have cleared. They have to take us to the land they cleared.

“We have invited the ministry of agriculture and they have made a submission. But some of our members whose constituencies these projects were supposed to be domiciled doubted the existence of these projects and for a fair hearing, we have invited the companies that got the contract for them to come and tell this committee where and when the jobs were executed.

“We will wait till the end of the hearing today to see if they will appear. If they are not here, we will have to do the needful to get them to come.”

Meanwhile, the invited companies did not show up at the hearing.