Amidst heated debate, Oyo House of Assembly on Thursday plenary approved the request of Governor Seyi Makinde to access N7.6billion loan to upgrade farm settlements in Akufo and Eruwa areas of the state to farm estates.
The approval followed a request sent to the lawmakers by Makinde, which was read on the floor by the Speaker.
The latest approval makes it the second loan so far approved for the Governor Makinde- led administration by the lawmakers having earlier endorsed a N10billion infrastructure loan request in July.
According to the details of the letter as presented on the floor at plenary, the loan facility is to be accessed from the Central Bank of Nigeria and spent on the two farm settlements, located within Ido/Ibarapa federal constituency.
It added that the proposed farm estates are to serve as pilot projects, which will be used to develop other farm settlements across the state.
But the choice of the two farms settlements to enjoy the loan facility out of the many others in the state did not go down well with many of the lawmakers as reflected in the argument which was later overruled by the Speaker.
In their separate reactions, the Deputy Speaker, Mr Abiodun Fadeyi and the Minority Leader, Mr Asimiyu Alarape requested that the loan facility be extended to other farm settlements in the state.
They also urged the Executives to ensure that the agricultural loan is judiciously used only for the purpose it was sought.
Also, Mr Isiaka Tunde (Oyo East/ Oyo West) and his counterpart from Iseyin/
Itesiwaju Mr Dele Adeola challenged the rationale for selecting two farm settlements from the same Federal constituency (Ibarapa East/Iddo), insisting that the loan be spread to other parts of the state.
But while responding, Speaker Ogundoyin assured that the selected farm settlements to enjoy the loan facility would only serve as pilot projects for the development of other farm settlements.
He added that other states have been enjoying the loan long before the current administration in the state.
He said: “Other states have been accessing this agriculture loan facility, especially in the North. But we thank God the state government is ready to work with the federal government and provide counterpart funding to show seriousness in accessing this loan.
“We know that the CBN and federal government are interested in agricultural development and this is a blessing to Oyo state. Moreover, our own goal is to develop the state through agriculture.
“If we decide to spread the money as requested by some lawmakers, we might end up not achieving anything and have abandoned projects.
“So why have abandoned projects when we can have completed projects that are working and running. These two projects can be the engine room for the other projects.
“We are taking the projects one at a time. If we can achieve two projects out of seven then for the remaining five, we do another two next year and thereafter, then we will be able to make progress.”
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