Posted by News Express | 2 June 2020 | 1,564 times
The Kano State Fertilizer Company (KASCO) Ltd has been ordered to be shut down immediately by the Federal Government for allegedly adulterating fertilizers and manually mixing the components of the NKP 20:10:10 blend of the agricultural input.
The order to close the company, owned by the Kano State Government, came through the Presidential Fertilizer Initiative and the National Sovereign Investment Agency (NSIA), through its subsidiary, NAIC-NPK Ltd.
KASCO, which is headed by Mr. Bala Inua, a close friend of the State Governor, Dr. Abdullahi Umar Ganduje, was discovered, during a sting operation, to be adulterating the NPK 20:10:10 blend of fertilizer and selling same to unsuspecting members of the public.
In a video circulating on the social media, labourers at the factory are seen manually mixing fertilizer raw materials with shovels and using same to fill fertilizer bags on the factory floor.
Commenting on the video, an expert said: “Hazardous chemicals are used to blend fertilizers and if badly handled, could endanger the lives of people. When not in its right proportions, the chemicals could also destroy the soil and permanently compromise its ability for valuable crop yield.”
It was learnt that Kano State owns two fertilizer blending plants but have allegedly abandoned them due to lack of maintenance.
A source hinted that besides adulteration, there are also fears that manual handling of fertilizer blending may provide access to unauthorised people to some raw materials such as Urea ammonium nitrate that could be used for illegal purposes.
Urea ammonium nitrate (UAN), anhydrous ammonia, ammonium nitrate, diammonium phosphate (DAP), ammonium sulfate, monoammonium phosphate (MAP), and muriate of potash are ingredients commonly found in commercially blended fertilizers.
According to Wikipedia, Urea nitrate is a fertilizer-based high explosive that has been used in improvised explosive devices in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iraq, and various other terrorist acts elsewhere in the world, including the 1993 World Trade Center bombings. This is why the Federal Government, through the national Sovereign Wealth Authority, has exercised control of the chemicals to ensure they do not end up in the wrong hands.
NSIA through its subsidiary, NAIC-NPK Ltd, is in charge of the implementation of the Presidential Fertilizer Initiative (PFI), an initiative of the Federal Government designed to ensure high-value fertilizers are made available to Nigerian farmers at affordable costs. It also aims at delivering significant quantities of NPK (20:10:10) fertilizers in time to farmers for wet season farming.
Adulteration of fertilizers has recently begun to spike in some parts of the country. A few weeks ago, the Nigeria Police Force, Niger State Command, intercepted a truck-load of adulterated fertilizers, heading to Bida from Minna, the state capital.
According to the state Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO), Wasiu Abiodun, the discovery was made by Policemen attached to the Kpakungu Division of the state, while on patrol along the Kpakungu-Bida Road
The PPRO said investigations led to the arrest of the driver of the vehicle and one Alhaji Maikudi Abdullahi, the owner of the factory where the alleged adulteration of fertilizers was taking place. A total of 456 bags the adulterated fertilizer was recovered from this factory.
Phone calls to Mr. Bala Inua, the CEO of Kano State Fertilizers Company was not answered before going to press.
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