The House of Representatives member representing Ukanafun/OrukAnam Federal Constituency, Rep. Unyime Idem has complained about the federal government’s neglect of the National Institute for Oil Palm Research (NIFOR) centre located in OrukAnam council area of Akwa Ibom state.
The lawmaker also decried the poor working conditions of the workers and the non -inclusion of indigenes of the host community of the institute on the board of NIFOR promising to make a case for their inclusion in the National Assembly.
Addressing correspondents during an unscheduled visit to the institute at the weekend, Rep. Idem observed that the budgetary allocation for the research institute over the years have not reflected in infrastructure and staff welfare.
“It is unbelievable that in the 21st century when government is talking about minimum wage of N30, 000 my constituents are being paid a paltry sum of N3, 500 per month in a federal government establishment.
“This is unacceptable and can only be described as man’s inhumanity to his fellow man. Our intention is to ensure that government looks into your welfare, the working conditions and the remuneration of the work force. We hope that when this place bounces back, it will compete favourably with NIFOR station in Benin and elsewhere.”
While lamenting the poor working condition of the staff and meagre salary being earned by the workers, the lawmaker called on the federal government to take urgent steps in prioritizing and revamping the agricultural sector as a way out of the nation’s economic doldrums.
He recalled that when agriculture was the mainstay of Nigerian economy, the same NIFOR sub-station in Akwa Ibom state donated palm seedlings to the visiting Malaysians who now occupy the position of the second world producer of palm oil.