By Ahmed Yahaya Joe
This was reputed back in the day to be the largest piggery established by Kalil Maroun in Kano to cash in on the massive animal protein demand for allied troops during the Second World War. By 1959 the facility was transporting up to 36,000 swine annually by rail to Lagos for processing and packaging at a plant located in Apapa. That is why in 1962 when “Gala” was first introduced to the Nigerian market there were the pork and beef varieties. Soon after Satis set up shop producing sausages and bacon. In another part of Kano was a corned beef factory. A modern day abattoir including a livestock development agency and cold storage facility were also built in that ancient commercial city by the 1970s. Back then there was no need for Miyetti Allah Kautal Hore because the supply chain was to come from a herd of cross breed of Friesian cows with our local breed at the Farm Center where also a mechanized dairy plant producing export quality fresh milk, cheese, butter and yogurt was established.
The imported cows were fed from the by-products of “Double Crown” and eventually “Power Stout” from a brewery located in Bompai commissioned by the Sardauna of Sokoto in the early 1960s. Now the piggery of K. Maroun & Company is partly a motor part and the Farm Center grazing grounds a GSM market.
Today in Nigeria a kilo of iced fish from Norway is cheaper than its equivalent of locally produced beef. We even import Pizza. Meanwhile the shipping cost of a 40ft container from China to Tin Can Island is N900, 000. That same consignment costs N700, 000 and N1, 500,000 to reach Alaba and Onitsha respectively.
A combination of factors has led Nigeria to its present prostrate position. That is why I deeply sympathize with those that expect a quick fix to our problems. There is however a starting point which is simply to create an enabling environment for business to thrive. What attracted Mr. Maroun from the Juwaiyya region in Southern Lebanon to Kano in the first place is not unconnected to the business friendly nature of that ancient city guaranteed by local authorities. As early as the 1900s Ilyas Al Khuri arrived in Kano where the textile merchant district still bears his surname. Every economically vibrant society must open its hands to welcome a wide variety of outsiders. Unfortunately we are becoming more insular from Ijawnization to Fulanization.
However capital investment is essentially a coward that easily gets scared. It hates insecurity but likes accommodating leaders that point at the right direction like the generation of Governors Audu Bako of Kano and Samuel Ogbemudia of Mid-West. Those guys had imagination. Benin’s Ogbe Hard Court was on the global tennis circuit just as how the Argungu – Kano Motor Race predated Paris- Dakar Rally. Nigeria was back then on the world map for all the right reasons. Nobody gave a damn where you came from. Today governors are better known for being unaccountable for enormous security votes and tinkering with traditional institutions. With the combined resources of their states and those of local government subventions which they always corner, these governors are supposed to cumulatively outspend the Federal Government Naira for Naira in developmental projects. The real damage to our national economy takes place at state and local government levels.
Regerettably all eyes are on Abuja.