Feature Article of Monday, 1 April 2013
Columnist: Sayibu, Akilu
150bn old ghana cedis worth of guinea fowls in a 320 billion sada forest
The title of this article is not a fairytale, it is the amount of money that the administrators of the Savannah Accelerated Development Authority (SADA) claimed they spent on Guinea Fowl and an Afforestation projects in the three Northern Regions of Ghana!
The issue came up in parliament during the debate on the 2013 budget statement presented by the Finance Minister for approval by the legislative house. I was in the public gallery when the issue came up in parliament on the day in question and I almost jumped on to the floor of the house to say it was impossible to spend such an amount of money on such projects.
No wonder the minority in parliament in particular vehemently opposed the figure and are currently calling on the Chief Executive Officer of SADA, Alhaji Gilbert Iddi, to appear before the parliamentary select committee on agriculture to explain how this alarming figure was incurred.
Even before the SADA authorities could appear before parliament, they have started throwing galling excuses around to the effect that, some of the trees which were planted were consumed by fire and that some of the guinea fowls have been eaten by the people already. Balderdash!
It is sickening that, the NDC Northern MPs in particular were quiet about this unacceptable expenditure in parliament and even outside parliament. None of them is willing to question this exorbitant expenditure.
The only Northern MP that I heard speak on the issue was my uncle Alhaji A.B.A Fuseini on Good morning Ghana. And what he said was more infuriating and insulting to Northerners than the fairytales that are being given in respect of the huge amount spent on these ‘ghost’ projects. He said that the guinea fowl project was operational in his constituency of Sagnarigu-East.
The truth is that, there is no such project existing or ongoing at Sagnarigu East in Tamale. I challenge Alhaji A.B. A. Fuseini to tell Ghanaians the name(s) of the communities that this project is taking place.
I am extending this challenge to any MP in Northern region to tell us where such a project is taking place in the region.
I am disappointed that at a time rainstorm is destroying properties, killing people and displacing them and government agencies saying they have no relief items to support them, a colossal amount of that magnitude could be used on ghost guinea fowl projects and our MPs are mute about this. I am highly disappointed in them.
It is also disheartening that, the very Northerners who are at the forefront of this SADA project are the same people allowing these dubious expenditure to take place under their watch. It is a sad day for the North!
Northern Chiefs must come out to call for thorough investigations into these projects. Our MPs must call for investigations into this irrespective of their political parties. Youth groups and opinion leaders in the North must rise up against this. We need to know how every penny of a project set up to accelerate development in our part of the country should end up this way.
This can NEVER happen in Ashanti region. Their chiefs and opinion leaders would have kicked against it and act in other lawful ways.
Why should this be allowed to stand when the rate of poverty and unemployment is so alarming in the three Northern regions? The President who himself is from the North must institute a Presidential Commission into this.
If this is allowed to go un-investigated, then we should not be surprised if we wake up one morning and told that the North has been sold to Burkinabes and we should pack and leave to Niger or Chad.
The time is now to press for investigations into this 150Billion old Ghana cedis Guinea-Fowl and 320Billion old Ghana cedis Afforestation projects.
I am done, over to you.