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Ruma: President’s man faces tough questions

The closest of these persons to Yar’adua is Dr. Ruma who had been a commissioner and Secretary to Katsina State Government when Yar’adua was governor…

The closest of these persons to Yar’adua is Dr. Ruma who had been a commissioner and Secretary to Katsina State Government when Yar’adua was governor of the state. He had also served as Minister of State for Education, a nominee of Katsina State, under President Olusegun Obasanjo’s regime.

The number of projects to be investigated by the federal government’s team and the amount involved are staggering. The investigation is to cover a project worth N30 billion awarded for dam projects. They include dams in Katsina State (N1.19 billion); the Ogbese dam project in Ekiti State (N5.49 billion); the Zobe dam project, also in Katsina State (N6.86 billion); the New Nigeria Farmers Project in Kwara State (N2.82 billion); and other irrigation projects in various states put at the cost of N3.71 billion.

The government’s panel will also investigate the execution of the N10 billion silos projects in Abuja (N4.17 billion); Katsina (N4 billion) and Uyo (N1.73 billion). The team is also investigating how the N4.73 billion released from the 2009 agriculture budget, representing 25 per cent of government grants, for a tractor hiring scheme was spent.

The implementation and disbursement of the Federal Government’s 40 per cent credit facility, amounting to N9.52 billion to 10 selected eligible rice processing companies for the procurement, installation and setting up of model rice processing mills in Adamawa, Benue, Ekiti, Niger, Kano, Taraba, Kebbi, Enugu, Bayelsa, Ebonyi, Ogun and Anambra states will also come under the committee’s searchlight by this federal government’s committee.

But this is not all. Sunday Trust gathered that even at the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Water Resources tongues are wagging over the alleged non-implementation of the recommendations of the Ministerial Committee for the de-merger of water resources from the ministry of agriculture to stand on its own as a separate ministry.

In May 2008, an Inter-Ministerial Committee chaired by Alhaji Mahmud Yayale Ahmed, then Minister of Defence, was charged with the responsibility of making a proposal for the restructuring of federal ministries to the Federal Executive Council.

Among other things, the Yayale committee recommended the de-merger of some ministries to become full-fledged ones. Among the de-merged ministries recommended were: Federal Ministry of Water Resources, Federal Ministry of Aviation as well as the Federal Ministry of Housing and Urban Development.

Then, there are questions bordering on the non-inauguration of the boards of five parastatals under the Ministry of Agriculture and Water Resources since August 2009. Out of the fourteen parastatals under the ministry, the board of nine of them were inaugurated while those of five have not.

Among the parastatals whose boards are yet to be inaugurated are the National Food Reserve Agency headed by Colonel Bello Kaliel [rtd]; Integrated Water Resource Management Agency headed by Chief Tony N.Ezebuiro; National Agriculture Quarantine Service Agency headed by Suleiman Abdullahi; the Gurara Water Management Authority headed by Colonel Edo Obi [rtd] and the National Hydrological Service Agency headed by Professor Salisu Mustapha.

Defending his failure to inaugurate the five boards, Dr Ruma had reportedly said there was no enabling act establishing those boards, therefore, it would amount to an illegality that would negate the federal government’s respect for the rule of law.

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