By Patrick Andrew
Former Governor of Ebonyi state, Dr. Sam Egwu, caused a stir yesterday when he vehemently opposed the recommendation of the Committee on Agriculture for the importation of fertilizer to boost local product.
Though the conference had voted in favour of the recommendation and seem to have had some reasonable interest among them, the former governor however spoke strongly against bringing of fertilizer because it could constitute serious threat to the health of Nigerians.
Egwu mentioned three types of fertilizers and said major countries in the world are rejecting the chemicalized fertilizer and wondered why the Federal Government as well as states should be encouraged to bring in what would have adverse effect on the health of Nigerians.
“Some delegates are just saying “aye, aye” without actually considering the grave implication of importing chemicalized fertilizer. Other countries have rejected chemicalized fertilizer why we are here encouraging what would increase the prevalence of cancer in the country.
“Rather than seek to bring in chemicalized fertilizer, we should encourage the production of natural fertilizer as had been done by other countries. We must guard against falling prey to contractors who connived with the big companies abroad to bring in chemicalized fertilizer,” he said stressing that Nigeria should discourage this brand of fertilizer.
“Organic fertiliser being banned in other countries, but here we are importing poison, bringing destructive chemical. We are only thinking of making money. As a specialist in this area I find it hard to allow this to continue without speaking on the danger therein,” he said.
Another delegate, Kili Mohammed, said he wholly agreed with Dr. Egwu and wanted a reconsideration of the earlier resolution by the house. “How can we agree with people encouraging the importation of poison!
“There should be an amendment. I want to recommend that the federal government should encourage improved seedlings. The various agriculture agencies should introduce seedlings which can yield without fertilizer,” the delegate stated even as colleagues chanted agreement.
However, amidst the growing storm, Femi Falana stood up to raise a point of order drawn from Order 9 (11) in which he implies that delegates are barred from wrongful importation of words which are insulting words.
He called on Egwu to apologized for insulting the delegates with his use of language,”he said we are just saying ‘aye aye’” noting that he could have made similar comments without insulting the delegates,” he said.
But even before he conclude many delegates shouted in jeers, “no, no, he did not insult us,” even as the leadership of the conference waited patiently as the delegates exchanged banters over whose interest was being protected.
Sen. Saidu Dansadau relying on Order 9 (9) said there was no need to go back to what has already been resolved by vote in line with the order. “No, organic fertilizer has not been banned by countries as claimed by Dr. Egwu. It is wrong for Egwu to say we should ban importation of fertilizer.
“I am aware that the existing policy by the federal government has been tapped into by all states except two states. Why cannot now ban importation of fertilizer,” he said stressing that fertilizer is needed to boost food production.