Residents of Taraba State, on Friday, urged Governor Darius Ishaku to explain why the N4bn Greenhouse Project located in Jalingo has failed within the lifespan of his administration.
Mohammed Adamu, Terna Ahur and Yaboro Tanko of Taraba Rebirth Movement, Progressive Youth Union and Taraba Youth Movement respectively told our correspondent in Jalingo that the project, which has gulped over N2bn of Taraba’s lean resources, has suddenly gone moribund, throwing over 500 employees out of jobs.
While demanding for an explanation from Governor Ishaku over the state of the project, the groups also urged the governor to provide an update on the uncompleted 20-kilometre Lacheke –Pantisawa road more than five years after construction work started in 2017.
“The N2bn Green House project which the Vice President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, commissioned in 2017 suddenly went moribund and we were told that another N2bn loan was approved for the administration to revive the project, yet the site is overgrown by weeds.
“As we speak, over 500 direct and indirect jobs have been lost in the failed Green House project. We are also wondering why a 20-kilometre road would take over five years to complete. Tarabans need to know what is happening to their resources,” said Adamu.
Checks by our correspondent revealed that as part of efforts to boost the Internally Generated Revenue of the state, create jobs and check the importation of vegetables into the country, the Taraba State government in 2016 initiated and constructed a greenhouse project valued at N2bn.
But barely one year after it was commissioned by the Vice President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo in 2017, the project went underground and its produce went off the market stores.
Workers at the greenhouse project, who were owed salaries, were later sacked for protesting against non-payment of their entitlements.
On February 3, 2022, the governor, in a letter to the Taraba State House of Assembly, requested an approval to re-access the N2bn Central Bank of Nigeria Commercial Agricultural Credit Scheme.
In the letter, the governor urged the House to grant him the approval to access the money through the Zenith Bank Plc for the expansion of the project which, according to him, would boost his administration’s quest for increased revenue generation and job creation.
A visit to the project by our correspondent revealed that more than eight months after the House granted the approval and monies released, the planned expansion work on the has not commenced.
Further checks revealed that the greenhouse project has stopped production and only one-tenth is managing to produce cucumber which cannot serve 10 per cent of the demand of the Jalingo market.