From Jide Orintunsin, Abuja
Edo State Involved Farmers Affiliation (ESCFA) yesterday requested the Central Financial institution of Nigeria (CBN) and anti-graft businesses to probe Governor Godwin Obaseki over an alleged fraud and embezzlement of N144 billion mortgage from the financial institution meant for agricpreneur challenge.
The placard-carrying farmers stormed Abuja, calling on CBN and anti-graft businesses to probe an alleged fraud and misappropriation of agricultural loans from the 2 banks by Obaseki and his cronies.
However the Particular Adviser to the Governor on Media and Communication Technique, Mr. Crusoe Osagie, mentioned the protest was an try by a handful of politicians to hoodwink the general public with inane allegations, insisting that the Agripreneur programme of the federal government “is on track and has continued to serve the curiosity of real farmers, for whom it was designed.”
Addressing reporters after a peaceable protest at Unity Fountain in Abuja, the Deputy Coordinator of the farmers, Comrade Abdul Muhammad Oshiobugie, mentioned the group, after unsuccessful makes an attempt to fulfill the state authorities and not using a response, got here to Abuja to lodge a protest letter with the presidency and the CBN.
The farmers claimed that apart from the fraud accusation, the group within the letter, a replica of which was given to reporters, additionally accused the state authorities of defaulting in fee for his or her farm produce for the reason that harvest seasons of 2017 and 2019.
In accordance with the group, the CBN from 2017 up to now superior over N75billion agricultural loans to the state authorities for additional disbursement to farmers, and alleged that the funds have been embezzled by the governor and his cronies.
“In 2017 we participated within the Agripreneur programme at Sobe in Owan West Native Authorities Space of Edo State, the place we planted and harvested maize. Nonetheless, for the reason that harvest three years in the past up to now, we’re but to obtain proceeds from the sale of our maize by the state authorities.
“Final 12 months we participated within the Agripreneur programme at Agenegbode in Etsako East Native Authorities the place we planted and harvested rice.
For the reason that harvest in October 2019, Edo State Authorities and Nigeria Incentive-Based mostly Threat Sharing System for Agricultural Lending (NIRSAL) have taken our rice for processing and sale in Abakaliki, Ebonyi State.
Nonetheless, we have now waited in useless for 9 months, and up to now, the proceeds from the sale of our rice haven’t been paid to us,” the group mentioned.
It alleged that one other ?69billion CBN mortgage invested in Edo State Oil Palm Programme has been hijacked by Governor Obaseki and his cronies.
“Native farmers within the state had been faraway from the programme and changed with firms owned by associates of the governor,” the physique alleged.
“We wish Nigerians to know that funds for Fadama 111 Undertaking Extra Financing had been by no means disbursed to farmers in Edo State. As a substitute, Governor Obaseki and his cronies shared the funds amongst themselves.”
Oshiobugie mentioned many individuals, principally youths within the state, yielded to a name by the Federal Authorities to embrace agriculture, however had been left “dry and empty after we planted and harvested, just for the state authorities to gather our produce, offered it and refused to pay us since final October.
“We need to use this medium to name on the CBN to take steps to make sure that Edo State Authorities and NIRSAL pay Edo farmers proceeds from the sale of their crops between 2017 and 2019.
“Lastly, we’re calling on the CBN and World Financial institution in addition to different monetary establishments to cease additional disbursement of loans to the Edo State Authorities, and as a substitute ought to perform investigation into how earlier loans between 2016 and 2020 had been spent, and people accountable for embezzling these loans ought to be prosecuted and made to refund the stolen funds.
“We plead with the CBN governor and the Nation Director of World Financial institution to not cowl up these fraudulent actions in Edo State, however ought to start forensic investigation in partnership with the Financial and Monetary Crimes Fee (EFCC), Unbiased Corrupt Practices and Different Associated Offences Fee (ICPC) and Civil Society Teams in Edo State, and people discovered to have misappropriated these funds ought to be prosecuted.”