Tuesday, 23 July

UE/R: Farmers demand removal of ICOUR MD over mismanagement concerns

Some dry farms in the Tono irrigation area

Farmers at the Tono Irrigation Scheme in the Kassena-Nankana Municipality of the Upper East Region are calling for the immediate removal of Dr. Benedict Bonaventure Alegibam, Managing Director of the Irrigation Company of Upper Region (ICOUR), despite his official retirement.

The farmers expressed dissatisfaction with Dr. Alegibam's refusal to release water on time for nursery purposes and his lack of understanding of the farming scheme’s operational needs, particularly the cropping calendar.

During a press conference on Monday, June 10, 2024, they questioned why Dr. Alegibam, who was supposed to retire, remains in his position.

 Robert Kwame Abokah, the Chairman of the Federation of Water Users Association at the Tono scheme, highlighted the adverse effects of Dr. Alegibam's management on their farming activities.

 He called on the Minister for Food and Agriculture, the regional minister, and other relevant bodies to ensure Dr. Alegibam's removal to prevent further deterioration of the scheme.

The controversy surrounding Dr. Alegibam is not new.

 Months ago, a video surfaced showing him questioning workers who were recording him at his post, despite his retirement status. 

This incident prompted the then Upper East Regional Minister and Board Chairman for ICOUR, Stephen Yakubu, to direct Dr. Alegibam for the second time to hand over his duties.

In a letter dated February 2, 2024, with reference No. BH341/341/01, Mr Yakubu informed Dr. Alegibam that his request for a two-year post-retirement contract was denied.

 The letter also noted that his three-month post-retirement contract, which began on December 7, 2023, expired on March 7, 2024. 

The letter clearly directed Dr. Alegibam to hand over his duties to the next Senior Management Officer while steps were taken to find a replacement.

Despite these directives, Dr. Alegibam remains at his post. 

The farmers, feeling the brunt of mismanagement, are demanding immediate action.

"We call on the Minister for Food and Agriculture, the regional minister, and other relevant authorities to intervene and ensure Dr. Alegibam proceeds on leave to prevent further harm to the scheme," Abokah stated

Source: Classfmonline.com/Moses Apiah