The Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development has quashed allegations that it spent N18.9 billion on bush clearing during the COVID-19 lockdown in 2020.
The ministry in a press statement on Wednesday by its Director of Information, Joel Oruche, obtained by the Truth, stated that the statement, which emanated from the House Public Account Committee, must have been quoted out of context.
It said it didn’t receive any audit query to warrant summon by the Committee, adding that the ministry only carried out bush clearing and land preparation of 3,200 hectares in eight states, namely, Osun, Ekiti, Edo, Cross River, Kaduna, Kwara, Plateau and Ogun as allocated by state governments for N2.5billion.
The statement reads in part: “The Ministry only carried out bush clearing and land preparation of 3,200 hectares in eight states of Osun, Ekiti, Edo, Cross River, Kaduna, Kwara, Plateau and Ogun as allocated by state governments for N2.5billion.
“In addition, other projects executed by the Ministry during the COVID-19 period that sums up to the total sum quoted included the following: construction of rural roads in the six geo-political zones of the country, soil sampling and mapping, farmers registration as well as rehabilitation and the equipping of four National Soil Laboratories in Umudike, Ibadan, Kaduna and Abuja.”