Akwa Ibom State government has debunked the allegation that boats recently received by the state government for fish farmers were substandard.
The boats according to the state Commissioner for Agriculture, Offiong Offor in an interview on Monday noted that the boats were part of items supplied by the National Emergency Management Agency, (NEMA) for the 2020 flood disaster and has since been distributed to the affected farmers.
Offor who said that the state government even provided logistics for the lifting of the boats and other components for the farmers however wondered why people should describe the boats as unfit when the benefitting fish farmers did not complain about the condition of the boat.
The commissioner explained that same size and quality of boats were also supplied by NEMA to other states as part of the intervention without complaints from those states.
She said that 200 fish farmers benefitted from the donation even as NEMA also supplied other components like collapsible ponds, floats, fingerlings and feeds to ameliorate the flood impact.
“It is not true that the boats are substandard. They are not substandard. If they are good in Rivers and Bayelsa, they will also be good in Akwa Ibom.
“What they gave to Rivers and Bayelsa which have more Riverine areas was the same thing they gave to Akwa Ibom and if the farmers in those other states are using them then they shouldn’t have shortchanged.
“And the fact is that the beneficiaries did not complain not only about the boats but other components too. The state government even provided logistics for them to transport the components back to their different locations.
“So when people complain that the boats were substandard, it is not true. NEMA will not give anything that it’s substandard. Governor Udom Emmanuel is a man of excellence and even if they have given substandard things, the Governor will not allow us to share it. The things were also certified by our different directorates.
“Then the boats were in different sizes, some for small waters and others for larger bodies of waters and they have started using it”, the commissioner explained.
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Offor said the state government has also included fish farmers in several of the ministry’s programmes and policies, adding that they just like other farmers were also entitled to loan facilities from the state government owned agric bank.
She called for understanding and constructive criticism from indigenes and residents of the state on government programmes and policies.