By Victor Oluwasegun and Dele Anofi 1
A bill seeking to make it mandatory for the inclusion of cassava in the production of all flour in Nigeria was rejected by members of the House of Representatives on Wednesday.
Members were vehement in their rejection of the bill and not a single voice was raised in its favour when the voice vote was taken by the Deputy Speaker, Emeka Ihedioha at the end of the debate.
The bill titled: “A bill for an act to provide for the mandatory inclusion of cassava in the production of all flour in Nigeria and for other matters connected therewith,” subsequently failed to pass second reading.
The bill which is an executive bill had proposed that it was incumbent on the parliament to enact a law that would make its inclusion in all flours compulsory as it will not only be in line with President Goodluck Jonathan’s initiative on cassava bread, but also because cassava was produced in large quantities in the country.
The Minister of Agric had projected a saving of over N250bn in foreign exchange which would have otherwise gone to the importation of wheat and wheat flour.
President Jonathan had formally presented the commercialized cassava sample bread at the State House in Abuja earlier in the year.
According to the president, the government was putting in place measures that will stimulate the manufacturing of large scale cassava plants across the country to the tune of 1.3 metric tons of cassava flour.
A member Peter Edeh (PDP, Edo) spearheaded the opposition against the bill.
According to him, over 30 percent of Nigerians from 40 years are diabetic, adding that making it compulsory for manufacturers of flour to include cassava will be detrimental to their health.