Okwe Obi, Abuja
Acting Executive Secretary of Agricultural Research Council of Nigeria (ARCN), Professor Garba Hamidu Sharubutu has revealed how infighting, monumental corruption and gross incompetence grounded the country’s agricultural research institutes leading to poor outputs of findings to boost food production.
Sharubutu, who disclosed some of the anomalies to journalists recently in Abuja, said prior to his appointment in 2019, most directors heading different institutes had no relevant qualifications to the point that even a one-time secretary was a sociologist, while others had NCE, Diplomas, and some graduated with Thrid Class degrees.
He pointed out that relevant facilities like a well-equipped library, conditions and schemes of service as stipulated in the Act establishing the Council were lacking.
“On assumption to duty, I discovered that about 7 agricultural officers were lumped together in an office; lack of capacity, with some having Diplomas, NCEs, HNDs, Third Class degrees and a few with Masters and PhDs.
“And those that do not want to improve their capacity, have frustrated many professors out of the Council, preferring a sociologist to take over from a renowned scientist through collusion and manipulation of co-conspirators.
“Of course, most of them were satisfied with that because it made the system vulnerable to manipulations, lack of transparency and provided the platform for mediocrity,” he said.
In order to address some of the problems, the council boss insisted that staff must go to school “because there was no way they can become research officers and keep on moving around with NCEs, Diplomas or First Degrees (Third Class).
“This is regrettable because the ARCN should be in comparison with Research Institutes in Kenya, Ethiopia and Mali. It was also learnt that audit reports from 2012 until 2019 was not available in the council.”
He vowed “to make sure I solve the leadership crisis in the various research institutes. Secondly, I must transform the ARCN because to the minister, agriculture cannot move without research and extension.”