The Peoples Democratic Party says the revelation of over N48 billion fraud in the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development has, again, exposed the monstrous corruption, sleaze and cover-ups going on in the President Muhammadu Buhari-led administration.
The party said this in a statement by its National Publicity Secretary, Kola Ologbondiyan, on Wednesday.
The PDP said the confession by the queried former Permanent Secretary of the ministry, Dr. Umar Bello, that the duplicitous purchase of an ordinary carcass building for a humongous cost of N7.044 billion passed through the Federal Executive Council further exposes the rot that has permeated the Buhari administration.
It said: “The PDP holds that such revelation has again shown how the corrupt cabal in the Buhari Presidency and the All Progressives Congress (APC) have been pillaging our national treasury and fleecing our nation of billions of naira through fraudulent transactions in various ministries, departments and agencies, while parading before Nigerians as saints.
“Nigerians were shocked by reports of how funds meant to service the food security system in our country is being plundered by those in power, resulting in the crippling of our agricultural sector thereby creating attendant hunger and starvation in our land.”
The PDP described as shameful that the FEC, under President Buhari’s watch, is being fingered in financial manipulations and procurement sleazes in the Ministry of Agriculture, including the alleged disappearance of N48 billion contractors’ fund, over N7 billion duplicated payments, diversion of N9.1 billion worth of drilling rigs to unnamed private individuals, purchase of carcass building for N7.044 billion, in addition to misapplication of billions of naira meant for strategic grains, rural grazing area settlement funds and other food production intervention schemes.
It said: “The fraud in the Ministry of Agriculture has further exposed how officials of the Buhari administration and corrupt APC leaders have turned government ministries and agencies into their Automated Teller Machine (ATM) just as the case of exposed looting of billions of naira in the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS), the Federal Inland Revenue Services (FIRS), National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) among others.
“It is even more distressing that the corrupt cabal continues to enjoy official cover while, in some cases, allowed to sacrifice their fronts to conceal their tracks.
“The PDP therefore rejects this attempt at cheap scapegoatism and demands that the Buhari Presidency should immediately speak out and conduct an open investigation that will expose all those involved in this huge scam in the Ministry of Agriculture as well as recover the stolen funds.
“Moreover, the PDP calls on the National Assembly as well as the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) to immediately commence investigation into the behemoth of fraud in the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development.”