Edo State Concerned Farmers Association (ESCFA) has urged the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and anti-graft agencies to probe Governor Godwin Obaseki over the embezzlement of N144 billion loan from the bank meant for agricpreneur project.
The aggrieved farmers, who protested in Abuja, called on CBN and anti-graft agencies to probe an alleged fraud and misappropriation of agricultural loans from the two banks by Governor Obaseki and his cronies.
Debunking the allegations, the Special Adviser to the Governor on Media and Communication Strategy, Mr. Crusoe Osagie, said the protest was an attempt by a handful of politicians to hoodwink the public with inane allegations, insisting that the Agripreneur programme of the government “is on course and has continued to serve the interest of genuine farmers, for whom it was designed.”
Deputy Coordinator of the farmers, Comrade Abdul Muhammad Oshiobugie who addressed the farmers, said the group, after unsuccessful attempts to meet the state government without a response, came to Abuja to lodge a protest letter with the presidency and the CBN.
The farmers claimed that besides the fraud accusation, the group in the letter, a copy of which was given to reporters, also accused the state government of defaulting in payment for their farm produce since the harvest seasons of 2017 and 2019.
According to the group, the CBN from 2017 to date advanced over N75billion agricultural loans to the state government for further disbursement to farmers, and alleged that the funds have been embezzled by the governor and his cronies.
“In 2017 we participated in the Agripreneur programme at Sobe in Owan West Local Government Area of Edo State, where we planted and harvested maize. However, since the harvest three years ago to date, we are yet to receive proceeds from the sale of our maize by the state government.
“Last year we participated in the Agripreneur programme at Agenegbode in Etsako East Local Government where we planted and harvested rice.
Since the harvest in October 2019, Edo State Government and Nigeria Incentive-Based Risk Sharing System for Agricultural Lending (NIRSAL) have taken our rice for processing and sale in Abakaliki, Ebonyi State.