The Federal Government has cautioned members of the 23 governing boards of agricultural research institutes and colleges of agriculture under the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development to shun corruption in all its ramifications.
It also advised them to make accountability their watchword, stating that the present administration has zero tolerance for graft.
Minister of State for Agriculture, Heineken Lokpobiri, who gave the charge at the weekend while inaugurating the boards in Abuja, stressed that research institutes and colleges of agriculture play vital roles in the development of new technologies, input, storage and distribution techniques for improved yields and reduction of post-harvest losses.
His words: “While Nigeria has achieved significant results in its bid to grow the sector, we still have a lot of work to do. I want you to regard your new appointments as a clarion call to service and be partners in progress.
He stated that since the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development was responsible for developing agriculture, the board members should be change agents.
Chairman of the board of Agricultural Research Council of Nigeria (ARCN), Adetunji Ajagbe, who spoke on behalf of the board members, promised prompt service delivery to transform the agricultural sector, assuring that they would not disappoint the country.
The inaugurated boards include the National Cereals Research Institute (NCRI), Badeggi, Nigerian Agricultural Insurance Corporation (NAIC), National Root Crops Research Institute (NRCRI) and Cocoa Research Institute of Nigeria (CRIN), among others.
Also speaking, Minister of State for the Environment, Ibrahim Jibril, underscored the need for members to shun corruption, adding that any acts of corruption perpetrated by board members would be severely punished.
He urged the boards of parastatals and agencies to remember the President Muhammadu Buhari administration’s zero tolerance for corruption and other anti-policy practices, adding that government would not compromise its penalties for culprits.
He stated that the ministry would also ensure that the plans and programmes of the agencies align with government’s objectives that would result in delivering dividends of democracy.
Responding on behalf of board members, a former Minister of Information, Dasuki Nakade, promised that they would work as a team to fulfill their common mandate and move the country forward.