The National Egg Production scheme is currently generating controversy with a civil rights group, the Centre for Social Justice sueing the minister of Agriculture, Chief Audu Ogbeh, at the Federal High Court, Abuja
The group, according to news reports, wanted the minister to release details and copies of the N25 billion egg production contract he had allegedly signed with Tuns Farms Nigeria Limited.
But the Federal Ministry of Agriculture urged Nigerians to disregard the “Threat and outbursts of a group acting under the pretext of fighting in the public interest by trying to sue the Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Chief Audu Ogbeh, over a purported N25 billion egg production contract he was said to have awarded to a firm.”
The statement said that the “group, acting on mere imagination and insinuation, without any fact check, is seeking to ask the minister to release details and copy of the N25bn contract he signed with Tuns Farms Nigeria Limited.”
The statement said the group insinuated that the said contract was supposedly aimed at facilitating egg production in the country via a project tagged ‘National Egg Production Scheme’ (NEGPRO).
“It said that a letter it wrote to the minister under the Freedom of Information Act, 2011, requesting for details of the contract, especially how Tuns Farms Nigeria Limited was selected for the contract, and if the contract was advertised in any newspaper in compliance with the provisions of Public Procurement Act, was ignored.”
The minister, in the statement, however, claimed that no contract was awarded to any company or business organisation for the purpose of egg production.
The statement explained that rather, the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, on Tuesday, June 14, 2016, in Abuja, signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) worth N25bn on National Egg Production (NEGPRO) scheme, with Tuns Farms Nigeria Limited.
“NEGPRO scheme involves many farmers, who are in the business of egg production. The selection of Tuns Farms to lead the group of farmers was based on certain criteria, essentially anchored on the track records of performance.
“Under the terms of the deal, Tuns Farms will recommend eligible entrepreneurs to access the N25 billion facility as well as endorse their loan requirements and application, and monitor their activities within the scheme,” it said.
The statement said the Bank of Industry (BOI) has a role in providing finance for the take-off of the scheme, aimed at increasing egg production in the country to about 50 million daily by 2018.
The chairman of Tuns Farms, Chief Tunde Badmus, said during the MoU signing ceremony that the scheme, which would be funded by the BOI, would create one million jobs at full capacity.
“The beauty of it is that the loan under this programme is single digit.
“So we are not paying any higher interest due to the support from the Ministry of Agric. With that, to create one million employments, produce about 50 million eggs and also have sufficient eggs for the school children meal in the country that is what it is all about. And to make sure that every local government is able to produce eggs in the school children programme,” he said.