The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Chief Audu Ogbeh has debunked allegation that he and some officials of the ministry cornered N2bn from the N20bn paid to agro dealers who participated in the 2014 Growth Enhancement Support Programme, GES, stressing that he does not need N2bn at this stage of his life.
The minister, who briefed newsmen in Abuja yesterday, expressed shock over the allegation carried by an online medium, maintaining that the money was handled by the Ministry of Finance and disbursed to the agro dealers by the Accountant General of the Federation.
Noting that the allegation claimed that, “the ministry paid N13bn out of the N20bn released for the agro dealers, and that he, the Minister of State and Permanent Secretary shared N2bn,” he expressed worry at the culture of irresponsibility and blatant criminality carried out in the social media.
His words, “I don’t need N2 billion at this stage of my life, I will not take public funds, I’m not here because I’m looking for a job, I said it before the Senate. This criminality in the name of social media that people will hide under the platform, they won’t revealed their names. If you have concrete evidence that somebody has done wrong say so and be prepared to go to court and go to the police to report.”
Ogbeh, however, pointed out that the debt of N37bn was inherited from the previous administration, and because of the complaints by agro dealers of not operating because they did not have money to carry on with their business, “the Federal Government was gracious enough to pay N20bn of a total of N67bn out of which N37bn belonged to the agro dealers.
“We met with the Ministry of finance where it was agreed that the big agro dealers and fertilizer manufacturers would be paid before the small agro dealers,” he stated.