Nigerian operator Anabel Mobile has accused the government of hijacking its idea of distributing phones to farmers, in the latest in a line of unending controversies surrounding the plan to distribute 10 million mobiles to rural areas.
HumanIPO reported earlier this month the government was planning to spend 60 billion naira (US$382,897) on the project, but has faced criticism from farmers and businesses.
Nicolas Okoye, Anabel Mobile’s Chief Executive, said: “The very fact that Adesina (Minister for Agriculture) has admitted that it is collaborating with the Federal Ministry of Communication is a confession of guilt because Anabel Mobile, it was, that introduced the scheme to the Ministry of Communication in the first place.”
He supported his claim with the various proposals and letters which were duly stamped and
signed as received.
According to Okoye, Anabel Mobile first introduced the idea in a proposal it prepared and sent to the ministries of agriculture and communication in 2011.
In the proposal, he said his company presented an elaborate public private partnership model that would ensure farmers in rural areas benefit from strategic agricultural services through the phone project.
He added that a feature of the idea is the creation of thousands of jobs since the phones would be manufactured in Nigeria.
Critics of the policy see it as an outrageous idea and a white elephant project, which does not solve the primary challenges that Nigerian farmers are contending against.