Nigeria: ANPP anger over free phone plan for farmers

 A farmer carries a bunch of cassava roots in Nigeria's Osun State on 26 August 2010 The government says it wants to modernise the agriculture sector

A Nigerian opposition party has condemned a government scheme to give 10 million mobile phones for free to farmers.

All Nigeria Peoples Party (ANPP) General Secretary Tijani Tumsa said the plan was a "mischievous vote-catching exercise" for the 2015 elections.

Last week, the agriculture minister said the phones would help farmers "drive an agriculture revolution".

Akinwumi Adesina said their purchase would be financed through a tax.

He denied reports that the government had already set aside $400m (£249m) to buy the phones.

Mr Tumsa told the BBC's Focus on Africa programme the scheme was a ploy by the ruling People's Democratic Party (PDP) to "connect" with voters in rural areas in the build-up to elections.

Start Quote

Our goal is to empower every farmer”

End Quote Akinwumi Adesina Agriculture minister

He said he doubted the plan would boost the farming sector.

"You are just creating business for the telecom companies. You are not impacting on agricultural production in Nigeria, unless the purpose is to have more phone coverage," Mr Tumsa added.

Defending the scheme, Mr Adesina said Nigeria had the highest number of mobile phones in Africa - an estimated 110 million - but many Nigerians in rural areas did not have them.

"Our goal is to empower every farmer. No farmer will be left behind," Mr Adesina said in a statement.

"We will reach them in their local languages and use mobile phones to trigger an information revolution which will drive an agricultural revolution."

He said five million of the 10 million phones would be given to women.

A government agency, the Universal Service Provision Fund (USPF), would help finance the scheme through a tax, he said.

"We intend to work with existing mobile operators in Nigeria through a public-private partnership," Mr Adesina said.

"Agriculture today is more knowledge-intensive and we will modernize the sector, and get younger entrepreneurs into the sector, and we will arm them with modern information systems."


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  • rate this

    Comment number 96.

    Stories concerning historic or 'less advanced' societies (I use that term under advisement!) are interesting as they shine a light on the BS and spin of our own in the present.

    This is crumbs from the big table to the plebs. The ruling elite, whatever country or era - the mentality is always, with absolute conviction in the ignorance of their subjects,

    But gradually things change...

  • rate this

    Comment number 95.

    //. nicelobon winit
    No doubt this will be paid for with aid money from the UK.//

    I for one would be chuffed if that's the case. Done properly, this could be invaluable in supplying farmers with info re weather, roads, markets etc.

    I am strongly anti-immigration, and not massively pc. And I believe the place place for a Nigerian is Nigeria, not here, but with a decent life.

  • rate this

    Comment number 94.

    What an odd subject, supplying phones to their people is entirely the business of the Nigerian government and its people and not of any interest to the UK or the BBC. Have they put something in the coffee at broadcasting house, have you all gone Dolally Tap? Get a grip and discuss some real news please. Will this be deleted, deep sigh?

  • rate this

    Comment number 93.


    I think that the lack of reporting on those issues is more to do with the fact that those have been going on for a long time. News organisations usually drop stories that are fairly static in nature.

    I suspect that this was picked up because either the proposal was new and/or the opposition's opposition to the policy was new.

  • rate this

    Comment number 92.

    //Michael Lloyd
    You are the British Broadcasting Corporation. You regularly deny us a say on matters pertaining to our own country. This topic is no concern of yours, ours, or indeed anyone's except Nigerians and their government.//

    I think it's great that we're discussing this. Better than the normal crap HYS does. And it's not about America. The BBC may be making progress. Don't knock it.


Comments 5 of 96


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