The Nigeria Institute for Palm Oil Research Dates Palm Substation in Dutse, Jigawa, has alleged that locals have stolen over 72 per cent of its date palm fruits.
The officer in charge of the sub-station, Abdulhamid Hamza, told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Monday in Dutse that in spite of the arrest of over 40 thieves in recent times, the stealing has not stopped.
Mr. Hamza said the locals usually steal the date palm during weekends which they dispose of at Shuwarin grains market, Kiyawa Local Government area of the state.
According to him, the thieves took advantage of the porous nature of the institute as it has no parameter fence.
“Our major problem is that locals steal over 72% of date palms fruits we produce.
“And they do that usually on Saturdays and Sundays and we suspect that they sale the stolen fruits at Shuwarin market which holds on Mondays; and this happens because we don’t have parameter fence.
“It is very painful to see that what we laboured hard to produce is being stolen and sold at negligible price.
“Anytime I pass through the Shuwarin market, I felt as if all the dates palm displayed for sale are from NIFOR,” the official said.
Mr. Hamza pointed out that the institute has gene pools of date palm each containing about 17,000 seedlings for research and other purposes.
“There was a day we arrested 15 thieves and handed them over to appropriate authorities.
“In short, we we able to arrest over 40 thieves in recent times, but the stealing will never stop due the size of the institute, but no parameter fence,” Mr. Hamza said.
He urged parents and traditional rulers in the area to warn their children, wards and subjects to stop sabotaging the efforts of the institute.
The official urged them to see the institute as their future investment, saying that “if properly utilized, it has the ability to generate employment to the teeming youths in the area.”
Mr. Hamza commended the Emir of Dutse, Nuhu Sunusi, for his tireless effort in safeguarding and supporting the institute.
“The emir has been giving us all the needed support and cooperation for our development.
“So we urged all and sundry to support us in safeguarding our seedlings, dates palm fruits and the institute in general,” he said.
According to him, the institute would seek the assistance of all security agencies in the state on how to secure and protect it from thieves.
Mr. Hamza added that the NIFOR would also do its best to see that a parameter fence is erected in order to secure the institute.
He further told NAN that the agency would soon embark on advocacy visits to major stakeholder in the state with a view to finding lasting solution to the problem.(NAN)