It has been revealed that Nigeria spent N2.02 trillion ($9,196,382,607) to import five agricultural commodities in the last three years despite moves by the Federal Government to stop food imports.
The commodities include wheat, rice, maize, sugar and palm oil.
Imports data gathered from the Nigerian Ports Authority’s (NPA) shipping position and Index Mundi revealed that the country took delivery of 27.7 million metric tons of food items through the ports between 2012 and 2014.
This came amid hype that followed the ‘achievements’ of the former Minister of Agriculture, Dr. Akinwunmi Adesina.
According to the breakdown, the country imported 13,440,000 metric tons of wheat valued at N583.7 billion ($2, 653,324,800) between 2012 and 2014.
In 2012, not less than 4,140,000 metric tons of wheat was ferried to the port. In 2013, report shows that the country imported 4,550, 000 metric tons while 2014 had 4,750, 000 metric tons.
Global price of wheat per metric tons is $197.42.
Already, the country’s domestic wheat production has plunged to 20 per cent from 100,000 metric tons to 80,000 metric tons despite Federal Government’s plans to achieve 68 per cent local production by 2015.
Government had introduced high import levies to discourage importation of the commodity through the seaport but abuse of import quotas, concealment of cargoes, corruption and smuggling have been the major challenges.
In July 2012, it introduced a 15 per cent levy increase on wheat grain imports from five per cent to 20 per cent. Import levy on wheat flour was increased from 35 per cent to 100 per cent in order to save $796 million a year and to boost local production.
Also, 9.1 million metric tons of rice worth N719 billion ($3,268,071,807) were ferried to Lagos ports within the period.
In 2012, 2,800,000 metric tons of rice were imported through the seaports; in 2013, it was 2,800,000 metric tons and 2014, 3,500, 000 metric tons.
The global price of rice is $358.77 per metric ton.
Despite the incentives on sugar production in the country, 3,319,000 metric tons of the commodity amounting to N284. 8 billion ($1,294,410,000) were shipped to the port in three years.
Statistics revealed that the country had witnessed a surge in the importation of the commodity.
In 2012, importers brought in 1,399,000 metric tons of sugar to the country; 1,450,000 metric tons in 2013 and 1,470,000 metric tons in 2014. Brazilian price of sugar is $390 per metric ton.
Also, the country’s seaports have taken delivery of 1,495,000 metric tons of palm oil valued at N218 billion ($990,288,000). In 2012, some ships berthed with 470,000 metric tons of the commodity; 2013, 500,000 metric tons and 525,000 metric tons in 2014.
Global price of palm oil is $662.4.
Also, within the period, some 600,000 metric tons of maize, worth N22.82 billion ($103,758,000), were shipped to the port.
In 2012, data revealed that 200,000 metric tons of the commodity were ferried to Lagos seaports; 200,000 metric tons in 2013 and 200,000 metric tons in 2014. The global price of the commodity is $172.93 per metric tons.
Similarly, Nigeria, which is largest producer of soya beans in sub-Sahara Africa, has started importing soya beans
It imported 1,000 metric tons in 2013. But the imports suddenly jumped by over 4,000 per cent to 50,000 metric tons in 2014 at a time the price of the commodity rose to $979 per ton in the global market.
Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN), Justice Mahmud Mohammed yesterday urged Nigerians with evidence of corruption against any judge to submit such to the National Judicial Commission (NJC).
This, according to him, will allow for proper investigation and remove such judge from the bench, if found guilty.
The CJN, who stated this in Abuja while administering Oath of Office to the newly appointed 30 judges of the Federal High Court, noted that some judges and judicial staff may be complicit in corrupt practices.
The CJN further noted that the newly sworn in judges went through rigorous selection exercise before they were qualified for the position.
“I wish to address the vexed issue of judicial corruption. This is because allegations about corrupt judicial officers and staff now make headline news on a more frequent basis. With each allegation that passes the need is ever present for the judiciary to address this issue and I feel it necessary to once again do so. I will not hide away from the reality that some judges and judicial staff may be complicit in corrupt practices, however, I must assert that corruption within the judiciary is only imbibed by a minute minority,” he added.
The CJN, however, reiterated the need for the judiciary to sanitise itself where allegation are made.
“However, as the saying goes, he who alleges must prove. This will indeed be done where accusers themselves avail us the particulars of these incidences of judicial corruption as well as the identity of the perpetrators, so that the NJC can act promptly and appropriately to remove such deviants from the Bench,” he stated.
Speaking on the process of selection, the CJN noted that the process began in 2014 and that over 2,000 applications were received by the Federal Judicial Service Commission (FJSC).
“The prospective candidates were further assessed by the FJSC on the basis of strict criteria such as sound knowledge of the law, good reputation, and seniority, in addition to other criteria too numerous to list here.
“It is important to state at this juncture that acts such as lobbying for appointment, exhibition of bad behaviour in and out of court, influence peddling, rendering dishonest or questionable legal opinions, submission of false credentials are just some of those conducts exhaustively listed in the 2014 Guidelines as acts that would preclude appointment to judicial office and I make bold to say that all such acts were considered in the final configuration of this process.”
The CJN noted that the country’s judiciary comprise of largely judicial officers who are hardworking, dedicated, ethically minded, learned, patriotic and possess the highest standards of morals.
“Indeed there is scarcely any other type of public servant as committed to their role as these dispensers of justice. The Nigerian judiciary is one of hardest working judiciaries in the world, despite the paucity of funds and the lack of adequate welfare provisions for its personnel,” he added.
In his charge to the new judges, the CJN urged them not to allow themselves to be used as pawns by various politicians in their quest for power.
“Your Lordship must therefore take the proverbial bull by the horns and pull the plough within your courts so that we cultivate a highly professional, incorruptible and effective justice delivery system. This we can only do, when we dispense justice without fear or favour, affection or ill will. We must seen to do justice though heavens may fall and I assure your Lordship that the heavens will surely not fall,” he added.