Image caption: Gov Seyi Makinde
How Oyo govt loses millions in revenue, risks anthrax disease outbreak over Ogbomoso cattle post shutdown
The cattle control post in Ogbomoso, Oyo state, is a goldmine for the state government as well as the people lying fallow since 2017 when it stopped operations due to, according to findings by ogbomosoinsightonline.com, shenanigans by some unscrupulous government officials in the Oyo state Ministry of Agriculture, Natural Resources and Rural Development, who reportedly worked in cahoots with some members of Myetti Allah to obtain a directive from the Federal Government to shut the cattle post despite revenue accruable from livestock tolls and the quarantine services it offered.
In addition, the shutdown of operations at the post has exposed the southwest region to outbreak of the deadly anthrax disease, a deadly zoonotic disease, whose outbreak was recently recorded in some northern states.
Ogbomoso being the major gateway to the northern part of Nigeria where a large chunk of agricultural commodities especially livestock are brought makes the establishment of a control post for cattle and other livestock animals in the city ideal.
The cattle control post located at Kraal (Kara), in the northern edge of Ogbomoso, opposite Sabo Baptist Church, was in existence for long playing majorly two roles – revenue generation for the state government and quarantine services. Aside these, the control post also served as a source of employment opportunities for youths.
“I worked at the post before and so I can tell you over 60 persons were employed for the services, both skilled and unskilled, to collect toll on cattle and other domestic animals in transit as well as check animals’ health to ensure they are free from diseases. We offered valuable services for government,” a former worker at the post who however pleaded anonymity told ogbomosoinsightonline.com.
Furthermore, it is learnt there are other allied services and opportunities such as food vendors, security providers and so on in the chain. So, its lock-down is a great disservice in this period of national financial depression.
According to a 2011 record sighted, containing expected revenues from cattle/sheep/goat and fowls tolling at control posts, out of about 25 such posts in Oyo state including those of crop produce, Ogbomoso’s was projected to realize ten million naira (N10m) in a week. The nearest to it were the ones at Orile-Igbon and Egbeda (Ibadan) with targets of four million naira (N4m) each, both of which are produce posts i.e.tolling on raw food items. It should be noted that while Ogbomoso Kraal control post recorded about 85% return rate each of the other two notched 45%. So, Ogbomoso’s is a real goldmine.
The revenue is generated via the user fees for NAQs charged on agricultural commodities. On cattle, horse and donkey, a toll of N3,500 is charged per trailer, N3, 000 per 911 truck and N2, 000 per J5 bus; for sheep and goat, the same fees as above applied; for pigs, it was N2, 000 per J5; birds per vehicle and per car attracted N2, 000 and N1, 000 respectively; dogs, N5, 000 per 911 truck, N3, 000 for J5; hides and skins attracted N4, 000, N3, 000, 2, 000 and N2, 000 for trailer, 911, J5 and Faca respectively; while smoked meat went for N3, 000 per truck and N2, 000 Faca.
In the same vein, there were fees charged for grains, yam, oil, fruits and vegetables at produce posts just as there were for timber and other forestry products like charcoal.
This control post was effective until 2017 when an order came from the Federal Government through the Inspector General of Police that the services particularly tolling be abrogated. With the ending of tolling, the equally important quarantine services ended too. There was no doubt revenue generation was a motivation for the quarantine services and with its being “decreed out,” all other allied services naturally died too.
The reason given for its stoppage then was contained in a communique issued after “the 3rd stakeholders meeting of the Implementation Committee on Curtailment of Cattle Rustling in Nigeria (ICCCRN), Abuja, December 8, 2017.”
The stakeholders’ meeting attended by the police, veterinary officers at state and federal levels, members of union of foodstuff and cattle dealers, members of transport unions, quarantine officers, Myetti Allah among others was at the instance of the Inspector General of Police to “fashion out modalities and measures to put in place for effective implementation of curtailment of cattle rustling in Nigeria, multiple taxation on federal highway and illegal road blocks.”
Among others it reiterated its ban on taxation and collection of levies on livestock and agricultural produce to reduce costs of food items thereby directing states to henceforth stop setting up such control posts for tolling of livestock along federal highways emphasizing that this should be collected at the point of embarkment and disembarkment.
A document obtained stated: “To sanitize the federal highways, vehicles conveying agricultural produce and agro-allied products can only be stopped at a control post for inspection and certification by the quarantine service. Once receipted and movement/inspection permitted and other relevant requirements are met with, there should be no any other payments within the country until point of disembarkment.”
This sounded the death knell of the once buoyant control post at kraal, Sabo, Ogbomoso, because since then it has become a shadow of itself.
Meanwhile, a directive by the Oyo state Commissioner for Agriculture, Barrister Oyewole Oyewumi, in April 2018, gave a counter-order for the resuscitation of the post, nonetheless, the post remains idle.
Titled, “To whom it may concern: Resuscitation of veterinary inspection at Ogbomoso cattle control post,” the letter reads, “This is to officially inform your office that the moribund veterinary inspection at Ogbomoso Cattle Control Post will commence in full earnest.”
However, the control post remains moribund leading to continuous loss of huge revenues, vulnerabilities of the southwest to livestock diseases and pests and loss of jobs.
“In about a year revenue amounting to over N500m (five hundred million naira) is projected to be realized based on the 2011 figures presented above, you can be sure that the revenue will be higher now,” another former worker at the control post stated.
Continuing, he advised, “His Excellency, Governor Seyi Makinde should look into it, remove the bottlenecks and ensure the control post roars back to live.”