The Federal Government has sued about 70,000 Kebbi state farmers to court for failure to repay N17billion loan they had collected under the Anchor Borrower Programme.
In November, 2015, President Muhammed Buhari, launched the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) Anchor Borrower Programme in Kebbi state, in which the sum of N17 billion was approved by the federal government to support the farmers in the state.
The chairman of Kebbi State chapter of Rice Farmer Association of Nigeria, RIFAN, Muhammed Sahabi Augie, disclosed this while speaking with Daily Trust on Sunday, saying out of the 70,000 farmers that benefitted from the loans in 2015, only about 200 farmer were able to settle their loan.
Augie, who drawn the attention of an opposition party in the state, Peoples Redemption Party (PRP), against mischievous allegation, said all those standing trial before courts across the state were genuine farmers that were verified by independent body before qualified for the loan.
He added that making wild allegation that the loan was hijacked by politicians in the state could jeopardise chances for the state to benefit from such gestures in the future.
“We find it very difficult to recover this loan. We had to resort to taking the farmers to court.
“As at now in every magistrate you go, we have given the list of the farmers to recover the loan. Our drive for loan recovery is now in the court. None could pay back out of the 70,000 registered in 2015.
“Of the 70,000 that had benefited from the loan in 2015, not up to 200 farmers repaid their loan. Most of the farmers had got a wrong impression that the loan is a free money.
“I think it is a biggest lie for any person, group of persons of a political party to say Anchor Borrower programme did not impacted positively for the state.
“Before the launch of the programme in 2015, the state’s total rice production capacity is 70,000 metric tonnes per annum but by 2016 it has increased to 1.2 million metrics tonnes per annum. This testified that it was the real farmers that benefitted from the loan; otherwise the production level wouldn’t have jack up.”