Lawmakers from from the oil-rich Cross Rivers led by their Speaker, Rt Hon. Larry Okori Odey are currently junketing across cities in the United States for lessons on American farming.
The legislators have visited Atlanta, Chicago and are currently relaxing in the U.S Capitol, in Washington, DC.
According to sources, the trip is costing the state about N100 million.
In a state that pleads the case of lean resources, owing to the loss of their revenue generating oil wells to neighbouring Akwa Ibom State, the idea behind such a trip is dubious.
Speaking on the matter to the PSN, Dr. Joseph Ubong a Maryland based medical practitioner said, “It cannot and should not be justified under any guise. It must be called its name: a purely unnecessary trip and a waste of scarce resources of the state, which could have been deployed to better use in meeting the development needs of the people of Cross River State”.
Curiously absent from the delegation is the state Commissioner of Agriculture, Advisers to the Governor on Agriculture, farmers and agro-allied business men and women in the state.
“I fail to see how the trip would benefit the people of the state and enhance the legislative duties of members of the Cross Rivers State House of Assembly. Those who stand to gain are the legislators,” Dr Ubong lamented.
It was further gathered that the fun-seeking lawmakers requested to visit the Fort Valley State University, where they requested to learn the American way of farming. The four hour tour of the university was embarked on last Thursday, where they listened to a presentation about the role and impact of the Sustainable Agricultural Research and Education (SARE) program of the university.
When PSN enquired from the school to find out the purpose of the tour, the school said, “The Nigerian political officials were in search for methods to improve food production, and are seeking solutions from Fort Valley State University”.
James Hill, FVSU’s 1890 land-grant university liaison for the SARE program, further stated that the purpose of the visit is to expose the Cross Rivers State officials to the SARE program, a U.S. Department of Agriculture funded program that offers grants and provides education.
“My expectations are that the delegates will receive enough information from both presentations and tours to become enlightened about U.S. agriculture, then go back and replicate it in their own state,” he concluded.
According to PSN findings they are due back to Nigeria on Wednesday (today).