Aminu Muhammad Tukur is a former LGA chairman, two term member Bauchi state House of Assembly, and a season farmer. In this interview with reporters in Bauchi, he talked about the travail of Vice President Yemi Osibanjo, 100 billion livestock policy and the impact of closure of borders among others. YAHAYA AUDU was there and reports
What is your reaction to the closure of borders by the Federal Government?
Thank you, all the advance countries of the world one time in their history they had to closed their borders to manage themselves so that they would rise to prosperity so naturally when something like this happened the very ordinary tend to complaint so much but the beauty of it is this, there is level of honesty on the part of the policy implementation of the Federal Government then definently it take the country out of the wood and we will reach the promised land. The promised land means we will developed into our capacity and probably be selling things outside that is the Nigerian product will be taken elsewhere most especially the ECWAS subregion and the African continent in general now as a farmer who have grown so much rice this year i will appreciate the policy is not that I am sentimental but the beauty of it is the fact that all advanced countries of the world at one time of their history had to closed their borders do that they would instill discipline in the citizenry to enhance productive between local productive. I see no reason why Nigeria should not embrasse this.
How much impact do you think the policy is making on you already as a farmer, has it started yielding any benefit?.
Sometimes in an interview at radio program I made mentioned I was invited as a farmer along with professionals working with the Federal Ministry of Agriculture I made mentioned that the Federal Government have come up with a policy so that the very farmer in the rural areas would benefit so much by been patronize to the maximum but unfortunately you and I and everybody knows that it was only during the commencement of this year planting season which is about harvesting time now we realized that you can take two bags of maize two bags to the market and sell them before you can buy a single bag of fertilizer the. In such a given scenario certainly the farmer would not have the capacity to reinvest further more in the farming subsector rather he will try to relaying on his subsistence capacity so that he will be able to feed his family only. We came to realized that when you compare to what is used to be in the year 2016 and 2017 farmers had a very fill day even at harvesting time the price were good certainly good the price was so much good so that farmers were happy but unfortunately believe. The year 2018 into 2019 we had it very terrible and it let to the dropped, drastic dropped in production of maize this year believe me most of our farmers this year could not farm maize this year simply because the fail to get the little profit that they used to earn out of it. I am of of them let me sight an example last year I had a farm that I cultivated maize that is over fifty hecters of land this year I decided to plant Soyabeans one hundred percent that goes to tell you that I am not the only one many of my type have decided to discard the planting of maize simply because of the none profit or rather the margin profit if I told it even exist in such scenario we would have to do the needful but we will have to do it such a way that will get a little out of what we have invested into the farms.
What should the Federal Government be doing in this situation and the FG is talking about boosting food production?
Sometimes in 1987 during the days live to recall that the Nigeria Grains Board were, while the Board was disolved all the sailors and the contents disposed to invidividual biders and it let to the closure of what is used to be the policy of the government intervening rather the government been a middle man in between the farmer and the consumers those days whatever that is been produce in essence the Federal Government would send in money along with the state government to purchased surplus grains and keep them into reserves just to take care of the raining days but unfortunately the policy is no longer tenable it has been abrogated long ago as I rightly observed more than 32 years ago and it will take a kind of positive mind to think forward to came up with such policy once again. Moreso, we are even living in a Democratic dispensation were a lot of legislative have to came in place so that such a facility or institution would came back again.definentky the average farmer would appreciate to have situation whereby he will be bail out of his predicament if he is being bailed out of his predicament then definently the production capacity would increase and the country would be self reliant because I have been hearing from several quarters not only within Nigeria, this is only country on earth that is blessed with everything, everybody has to believe that, Nigeria is the only country that is blessed with everything and we have not harness the blessing that is been bestowed upon us by the Almighty. We have been bastardizing it but I don’t know to what extend we will continue to be bastardizing favour that is been done by Gid Almighty.
So the Federal Government should consider given out bail out to farmers?
It is not bail FG should come in purchased surplus grains from the farmers simple, if it is done just that then the food security of the farmer is guarantee once the food security of farmers is guarantee the food security chains would equarlly be guarantee.
Sir what is your take on the FG 100 billion livestock project?
Let me draw us back to the period of late President Musa Yar’adua he came up with a policy where by some 200 billion Naira or there about was set aside for disbursement to farmers believe I never applied but sometimes my bank managers decided to call me and I went there they told me there is a lot of money that is been put down for agriculture development and we feel you have the capacity to type out of it and we had to go to my farm take an assessment tour the farm was access they were able to give me a credit cover of 75 million naira from the facility I have on ground and the told me that I can apply for 75 million naira I told them I don’t need such a colossal sum of money if I can get just 20 million naira that would be ok. We did everything, we formalized everything after some months the call me and they told me what I will never believe and it was the reality with the advent of President GoodLuck Ebele Jonathan the whole process was change and surprisingly those farmers that the supposed to benefited from it have been denied the right to benefit from it and another politicking came in what I will want you to understand is these when one is trying to access the Nigeria in situation a lot of things do came in negative things anyway. Bring you a factor of religion l, factor of politicking, factor of zoning and whatever, my agric manager is a Christians from Gombe state,my branch manager is a Christians from Plateau state but they came out honestly and holisticall told me that the process have been bastardized in such a way that the money has been disbursed, more than 78 % to the Niger Delta region and this is money that it is been put in place for agric nation and more than 78% of the money has been taken to Niger Delta simply because the fact that one of their won has became the President of the country to the determent if agriculture so I am just sighting an example. I knew severally, in the past during the first period of democratic dispensation in 1999 to 2007 I have been denied allocation of fertilizer because if political affiliation I had to go and but through a middle man somebody who has no bearing with agriculture is been given a trailer just to go and sells to make profits and pocket the profit to himself, what I will want to say the leadership of this country has failed to put a square peck into square hole, and a round peck in a round hole that is very unfortunate we will have to do it that way before we can attend standom, before we can attend what we are all the time working forward to meaning self sufficient in food production, self sufficient in what ever kind of survival that one is desirous to have in this country
What is your take on the current travailed of the Vice President professor Yemi Osibanjo?
While, I have not study the content completely but believe me ours is a country whereby you realized that once the best is been type out of you, you are then been discarded. This is a humbly personality, very humbly personality who has served his master diligently there are humans errors, let assumed he had been taken the money in question, let assumed all of them, all of them without a reservation I may probably exclude the President are guilty, all of them none of them is corrupt free, none of them is corrupt free, those that are against him are definently deep down in corruption. We have several instances to sight against them a citation can be made of their participation in crime or rather in corrupt related activities, everybody is aware of that but the unfortunate is the fact that once you are been used completely and everything is been type out you became useless that is Nigerian scenario. So I pity a situation whereby the personality of Professor Yemi Osibanjo the Vice President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria can be demean to such position whereby he is been regards as nobody in the scheme of things is unfortunate, very unfortunate.
What would you say about herders, farmers clashes across Nigeria. Who do we blamed?
This is a country where there are anointed ones who feel are beyond been punished. Laws in this country are designed specifically to serve interest. Now if the European at their coming when the cane into to colonised this country can established even a cattle range at Obudu down in the deep forest of southern Nigeria and maintained it and it is range without request to affiliating it to any substance or organization leasing out to anybody but rather a free range who ever that is interested in grazing his animals there and we have several of it all over Nigeria they were gazzeted during the colonial eras maintained during independence and after independence by subsequent Military administration only because of having somebody who probably others feel he should not be there then it became a politicise issue now the beauty of it I have been saying several times average nomad in this country that are usually associated to a single tribe the Fulanis are not parasites they are major contributors to Nigeria economic because they provide the essential protein need of the country you can tell me that Nigeria import bear from any part of the world the herders have enough to take care of the Nigerian population and if you have a segment of the country or rather of the society that is so much productive and can take care of your protein requirement what do you do to take care of them in all the country of West Africa including those of our neighbors Central Africa they do have a ranching policy that is so perfect most especially in the Franco hort nation you hardly came across any crisis vetweeb the farmers and herders because there are limitation and designated places I knew iof certain areas.for instance, in Senegal if you farm you have to fence the farm because animals have right over everything same apply to seizable portion of the Adamawa mountain in Cameron the whole of Adamawa province in Cameroon is grazing reserves if you can farm in Adamawa you have to fence it what is wrong in having same apply to Nigerian Situation let me take you to Plateau state we agreed that the Fulanis have cows but believe me the Taroh ethnic nationality and the Berom are so much into nomadic culture and animal husbandry for ages and the have plenty of it, we have been there, we know of it we have been part and parcel of geopolitical zone we know everything completely if you maintain that animal rearing is only specific to a single tribe in Nigeria you are deceiving yourself other tribe do partake in as I rightly observed like Taroh and Berom are deep into husbandiry and animal rearing no body can dispute that so Government should came in and do the needful demarcated and give everybody his own portion of land to survive simple. If there is demarcation the law can be maintain and upheld then definently we will be at peace.
What have you been doing outside politics?
Laughter, I don’t belong to those who considered politics as an occupation is a hubby I have been in agriculture for more than 30years I made everything out of it, believe me I am a very contented person I have been saying it shoulder high we have the capacity to not only take care of our immediate family but definintly whoever that comes our way we have been doing it diligently and we have so much I am very very contented with what we have.
You are one of them that saw to the coming of this administration of Bala Mohammed , what I your honest advice to this administration?
My advice to this administration is nothing more rather than let the present administration learn from the mistakes of the past, that is one, governance is not a family and friends affairs, governance is an issue that had to do with commitment and sacrifice. Whoever, that has put in his best should be seen to be attended too otherwise it will definitely be a very, let me frame it this way when the government fail to do the needful there will be adverse reaction from the public that the adverse reaction will definitely be consequences that cannot be imagine so I will advice that the present government should study the failure of immediate past administration and take heed from it and do the needful.