Nigeria Free Phone Distribution Plan Condemned
A government scheme to give 10 million free mobile phones to farmers has been condemned by an opposition party spokesman. According to the General Secretary, Tijani Tumsa, of the All Nigeria Peoples Party (ANPP), the plan was a “mischievous vote-catching exercise” for the 2015 elections.
However, the agriculture minister, Akinwumi Adesina, said the free mobile phones which will be financed through a tax would “drive an agriculture revolution”. Mr Adesina added that although Nigeria had the highest number of mobile phones in Africa (an estimated 110 million), many Nigerians in rural areas did not have one.
As a result, the goverment’s aim is to empower every farmer so that no one is left behind. “We will reach them in their local languages and use mobile phones to trigger an information revolution which will drive an agricultural revolution,” Mr Adesina said in a statement.
A government agency, the Universal Service Provision Fund (USPF), is expected to help finance the scheme through a tax.