FFEDA in a statement pointed out that it decided to respond to the ‘unpalatable’ remarks allegedly made against it by the minister because it believed Adesina’s claims “stemmed largely from obvious misinformation.”
While the group of fish farmers hailed the minister’s reform posture in the sector, it stated that it was pertinent to set the records straight with respect to allegations made by him which it said were spurious.
The association noted that the bogus comments were mostly contained in the minister’s speech at the fisheries stakeholders’ interactive session in Abuja on February 25.
“It is with utmost respect for the minister and the privilege of the right of response that we in the fish farm association consider it expedient to respond to issues raised by the minister against FFEDA, which stemmed largely from obvious misinformation.
“It is commendable that the minister is postured to fight endemic corruption in various fishery associations of the ministry, to establish ways to control wastes and flagrant abuse of public funds regarding non-implementation and stillbirth of programmes. It is also noteworthy that he is averse to matters of graft especially in the Department of Fisheries, curtailing and bringing to book what he repeatedly avers as fishy business.
“It is thus imperative that we in the FFEDA crave the indulgence of the minister as we set the records aright,” the FFEDA statement said.
Enumerating the allegation of the minister, the group noted that in his (Adesina) speech at the stakeholders’ meeting, he said: “We will also clean up the incipient corrupt practices by several members of the fish farm estate association; the objective of the fish farm estate programme is to increase domestic fish production by 800,000 metric tonnes in four years and despite the claims of N725 million by the participants of fish farm estates, there is no fish to show for it.”
The minister stated further that the programme, with the connivance of civil servants in the Federal Department of Fisheries, was simply turned into an ATM cashing machine for receiving grants from government, while not delivering on agreed targets for fish production or abiding by the terms of the agreement.