Farmers Charge On President's Aide

A group of farmers from Bawku in Upper East Region have called on President Mills to investigate the justification for giving his aide, Mr. Mahama Ayariga, five state tractors just after they assumed office. They insisted that the five tractors he procured from the Ministry of Agriculture is being hired only to farmers who belonged to the ruling government. According to the farmers, contrary to assertions by Mr. Ayariga that the tractors were hired for GH¢1O to plough an acre of land, the tractors were rather hired for ¢25. Speaking in an interview with The Chronicle on Saturday, on behalf of a group of fanners, Mr. Yusif Seidu Bagura said they had complained bitterly about the selective jobs Ayariga's workers were using the tractors for. Whenever you go there to hire the vehicles they would ask you, either you join NDC or you forget about the ploughing," Mr. Bagura, also a maize and groundnut farmer, lamented. The Chronicle newspaper gathered that the tractors were being used to lure New Patriotic Party (NPP) supporters to join the National Democratic Congress (NDC) who are expecting a bye-election, since an NDC supporter had dragged the Member of Parliament (MP) for Bawku Central, Hon. Adamu Dramani to court on allegations that he had not renounced his British citizenship. Word on the streets of Bawku is that there is an imminent bye-election, since the Member of Parliament is a British citizen as a result he was not qualified to stand for the parliamentary elections. Mr Bagura appealed to the President to come to their aid as soon as possible since the town was an impoverished area, and things had worsened as a result of the unavailability of farming equipment. He said, instead of the tractors being used for developmental projects, the caretakers of the tractors were using them as a campaign tools. He questioned the reason for allocating five state tractors to only one person, since he was in government. Mr. Ayariga told The Chronicle on Saturday's Chief Political Correspondent, Mr. Bismark Bebli that he had applied for only one tractor, but after the Ministry of Agriculture had observed the immense contribution he would use the tractor for, decided to add four more to it. He insisted that he did not twist the arms of the officers of the Ministry of Agriculture to award him five tractors and that there was nothing illegal in the purchase of the tractors. The Chronicle, recently reported the sale of state vehicles to government officials at the Ministry of Food and Agriculture The report exposed how state vehicles were secretly sold to some prominent officials of the current government at relatively cheap prices. Some of the officials include the majority Leader of Parliament and MP for Nadowli West, Hon. Alban Babgin, and the Presidential spokesperson, Hon. Mahama Ayariga, the NDC MP for Salaga, Hon Alhaji Ibrahim Dey Abubakar, and one Mr. Iddrisu Alhassan of Walewale, in the Northern Region.