Nigeria’s agric sector failures that led to Minister Nanono’s removal

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On August 21, 2019, Sabo Nanono, the now former minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, assumed duty at the ministry of agriculture after a shoddy ratification procedure at the Senate ministerial screening session.

Mr Nanono was asked by the senators to “take a bow and go” because of his affiliation with some lawmakers, under the claim of having wide experience and deep knowledge of the sector even when he studied Business Administration as an undergraduate.

Based on this, many Nigerians were robbed of knowing Mr Nanono’s blueprint for the country’s agricultural sector.

On assumption at the ministry where he addressed reporters at that time, rather than sharing his plans for the sector, Mr Nanono said hunger in Nigeria “cannot be compared to what is obtained in other countries,” and that efforts should be made by the Nigerian government to assist other countries in food supply.

“There is no hunger in Nigeria compared to what I saw in India in 1973. What we need is to get our acts together and develop the sector,” he said.

Prior to his appointment, President Muhammadu Buhari on August 20, 2019, had ordered the partial closure of the country’s land borders to curb smuggling and as well boost local production of agricultural commodities.

The borders were reopened more than a year later amid the exponential spike in the prices of food, increased calls for reopening of the borders and the imminent takeoff of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) Agreement in January this year.

While the rise in the prices of significant staple foods still subsist, the country’s agricultural sector has witnessed little or no improvement under the watch of Mr Nanono before his sack.

The sack

President Buhari on Wednesday announced the sack of Mr Nanono and his counterpart in the power ministry, Saleh Mamman.

Femi Adesina, a presidential spokesperson who confirmed the development in a statement, said the sack of the ministers was sequel to a minor cabinet reshuffle after an ‘independent and critical self-review,’ that helped to identify ‘weak areas’ under this government.

Mr Adesina, said: “the review “helped to identify and strengthen weak areas, close gaps, build cohesion and synergy in governance, manage the economy and improve the delivery of public goods to Nigerians.”

“In the same vein, Dr. Mohammad Mahmood Abubakar, Minister of Environment, was redeployed to assume office as the Minister of Agriculture & Rural Development, while Engr. Abubakar D. Aliyu, Minister of State, Works & Housing will now be the Minister of Power,” Mr Adesina wrote.

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