Kwara Committee on Sales of Public Assets submits report, judicial solution likely

. As governor says agric key to poverty eradication

By Valentine Amanze

Kwara State Governor, AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq, on Friday said that the recommendations of the Committee on Sales of Public Assets might be tested in the court to get justice for the people of the state.
AbdulRazaq spoke in Ilorin, the state capital, when the Committee on the Review of the Sales/Disposal of Government Properties submitted its final report to him.
The governor also commended the committee for the job well done.
His words: "I thank you for your time and the efforts put into the work. I went through the interim report and I'm sure this final report would be an improvement on it.
"We would not discard the report because that would be a waste of your time and resources. We will definitely look at it. And we will find judicial solutions for the good of the state and Nigeria. In the interim report that you recently submitted, we saw some abnormalities which we will not allow to stand."
The governor however reminded the committee members that they might be called upon to make clarifications as government leafs through the report.
But the Committee Chairman, Senator Suleiman Ajadi, told the governor that several frauds and mismanagement of public funds and properties were discovered, especially in the handling of the Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises funds, Harmony Holdings, and others.
Besides, he urged the state government not to let the report end in the bin as that might mean the loss of at least N5 billion allegedly mismanaged through the SMEs funds.
"The committee observed unconscionable and immoral use of public funds to buy luxury cars, which fly in the face of the poverty being faced by our people, especially because of the several months of unpaid salaries.
"It was considered reckless and against all common decency for those in authority to award these properties kept in their care to themselves in whatever guise," Ajadi said.
Meanwhile, Kwara State Governor, AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq, has said the best way to eradicate poverty is to cultivate more lands for agriculture.
"If we really want to rise above the poverty line, the way to do that is through agriculture ...There is a need for renewed focus on agriculture and agro processing," AbdulRazaq said on Friday when the board of Agricultural Credit Guarantee Scheme Fund (ACGSF) visited him in Ilorin, the state capital.
"Kwara is located in a part of Nigeria where the land is arable. We hope to make you our partner in progress (to drive agricultural growth). We hope to work with you immediately."
He also called for more enlightenment on the activities of various government initiatives to support agriculture, saying not many people are aware of the opportunities that are available with the ACGSF.
AbdulRazaq also said that the state government planned to pursue several developmental initiatives through the Public Private Partnership (PPP).
On the purpose of the visit, chairman of the board, Okokon Udo, said that the scheme encourages banks to lend to farmers by providing guarantee for loans for crops and livestock production and processing.
"It mitigates risks associated with banks' lending to agriculture through formal assurance to pay banks 75.0 percent of the net amount in default in accordance with the provisions of the enabling Act," Udo said.
He said that while Kwara was the third state with the highest number of loans from the scheme, there was a need to further enlighten the public on the advantages of accessing the facilities to "empower themselves and enhance their agricultural activities and income-earning capacity."

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