The Anambra Commissioner for Agriculture, Nnamdi Onukuba has denied refusing to honour summons from the State House of Assembly, over allegations that he hijacked the entire construction of fish villages in Aguleri and Adazi-Nnukwu Communities of Anambra State.
He insists that his Ministry has defended all its works before the appropriate House Committees.
Earlier this week, during an oversight visit to the Fish villages constructed under the Accelerated Agriculture Development Scheme (AADS) of the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN at Aguleri and Adazi-Nnukwu, the House Committee on Economic Planning, Sustainable Development and Donor Agencies had slammed the commissioner for doing a shoddy job.
The Committee through its Chairman, Ebele Ejiofor also revealed that the Commissioner has consistently refused to honour invitations to explain how the projects were being executed.
The Committee had expressed dissatisfaction with the level of work done on the two sites, saying the work on ground is not commensurate with the over three hundred and twenty-six million, one hundred and thirty-six thousand, six hundred and three naira released already to contractors, saying the House may be forced to summon the Commissioner to answer for the observed shortcomings with the project.
However, when TNC correspondent contacted the Agric Commissioner on Friday, he explained that he did not oblige the House Committee with their requests because it does not have the mandate to oversight the project in question.
According to him, the project is a loan from the CBN obtained by the State Government and does not have anything to do with the SDGs, which the Committee has the mandate to oversight.
“They had written severally to us but the Ministry made it clear in reply, that they do not have the right to supervise the project.
“This is a CBN to state government loan.
“I cleared with the Ministry of Finance and Economic Planning and they made it clear that the project is not an SGDs project.
“So, if there is anybody to oversight us, it should be the Committee on Agriculture, the Public Accounts Committee and probably the Appropriation Committee and not the SGDs committee,” he said.
Onukuba disclosed that the Ministry has cleared all its works with these Ministries and found to be on course.
He faulted the decision of the House Committee on SDGs to visit the sites without contacting the Ministry, alleging that most of the information the Committee dished out are not true.
Onukwuba said; “These other committees have come, seen what we are doing and because we went to the site with them, they understood what we are doing and the challenges we are facing and knew that now that the dry season has come, we can proceed at a faster pace.
“When he (House Committee on SDGs Chairman) continued pressuring us, I told my staff to prepare to go with him to the sites on the 3rd of February as he proposed in a letter he wrote to us.
“Surprisingly, he decided to go to the site on the 2nd of February without letting us know and invited all manner of people and made out all those reports.
“If he had gone to site with our technical people, they would have given explanations on whatever observations they would have made.”
TNC correspondent gathered that the Project Management and Monitoring Team, PMMT will be meeting on Friday to iron out all issues on the project execution, especially with the State Fisheries and Aquaculture Business Development Agency, FABDA, which developed the project design, claiming it had been sidelined in the execution of the project.