Kano State Fertiliser Company (KASCO) has been shut down by the Federal Government for allegedly adulterating fertilisers and manually mixing the components of the NKP 20:10:10 blend of the agricultural input.
The order to close the company came through the Presidential Fertiliser Initiative and the National Sovereign Investment Agency (NSIA), through its subsidiary, Nigerian Agricultural Insurance Corporation (NAIC)-NPK Limited.
During a sting operation, KASCO, which is headed by Mr. Bala Inua, was discovered to be adulterating the NPK 20:10:10 fertiliser and selling same to unsuspecting members of the public.
In a viral video, labourers at the factory were seen manually mixing fertiliser raw materials with shovels and filling the bags on the factory floor.
The Guardian learnt that Kano had two fertiliser blending plants, but abandoned them due to lack of maintenance. A source told The Guardian: “Beside adulteration, there are also fears that manual handling of fertiliser blending may provide access to unauthorised people to some raw materials such as Urea ammonium nitrate, which could be used for illegal purposes.
Urea nitrate is a fertiliser-based chemical that has been used in Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs) in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iraq and in various other terrorist acts elsewhere in the world. This is why the Federal Government, through the National Sovereign Wealth Authority (NSIA), has exercised control of the chemicals to ensure they do not end up in the wrong hands.
Managing Director of NSIA, Uche Orji, said, “The action was taken over issues relating to the use of equipment, but the mater is being investigated.”
Adulteration of fertilisers has begun to trend in some parts of the country. A few weeks ago, the police Niger State intercepted a truck-load of adulterated fertilisers, heading to Bida from Minna, the state capital.
According to the Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO), Wasiu Abiodun, policemen attached to the Kpakungu Division made the discovery 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 fertilisers was taking place. A total of 456 bags the adulterated fertiliser was recovered from this factory. As at press time, all calls to the CEO of the company, Inua, proved abortive.