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Enugu Government and Labour Party Clash Over N100bn Agro Project

In a contentious development, the Enugu State chapter of the Labour Party (LP) has expressed strong opposition to a N100 billion agricultural partnership between the Enugu State Government and Pragmatic Farms Limited. The partnership aims to revive the long-dormant United Palm Products Ltd (UPPL).

The Labour Party, represented by its Chairman, Comrade Casmir Uchenna Agbo, and Publicity Secretary, Onuora Odo, has raised concerns about the legitimacy of the project. They allege that the recently formed company might be a front for misappropriating state resources. According to the Labour Party, Pragmatic Farms Limited was only registered four days before signing the agreement with the Enugu government, raising suspicions about the transparency of the transaction.

“We are raising this alarm because the entire project smells of large-scale fraud,” stated the Labour Party in a press release. They accused the government of planning to use the newly registered company as a conduit to syphon state funds, questioning its capacity and track record in managing such an enterprise.

The party also highlighted inconsistencies between the company’s stated business activities on its registration documents and its online presence, further fueling their suspicions. They have called on the people of Enugu State to be vigilant and urged anti-corruption agencies to investigate the transaction.

In response, Mr. Uche Anichukwu, the Senior Special Adviser to the Governor on External Relations, clarified that the Enugu State Government is not disbursing any funds to Pragmatic Palms Ltd. Instead, Pragmatic Palms Ltd, acting as a Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV) for the partnership, will finance 60% of the project, while the Enugu State Government will contribute the plantation assets as 40% equity.

Anichukwu assured that the state’s interest is well-secured, noting that performance targets and timelines have been established in the agreement. He also emphasized that the government holds a significant role on the company’s board, including the chairmanship, ensuring the state’s interests are protected.

He detailed Pragmatic Palms Ltd’s credentials, mentioning their association with Diamond Stripes Ltd, a company with a robust investment portfolio in Nigeria’s power, renewable energy, and agricultural sectors.

The Enugu State Government’s initiative to revive UPPL, a project originally launched by the late Premier of the defunct Eastern Region, Dr. Michael Okpara, has been described as part of Governor Peter Mbah’s broader strategy to stimulate economic growth and development.

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