Over 450 members of All Farmers Association of Nigeria (AFAN) in Kebbi State have decried the takeover of 14,000 hectares of farmlands by the state government at Gwazawa village in Danko/Wasagu Local Government Area.
The chairman of the association, Aliyu Bature, told journalists in Birnin Kebbi on yesterday that the farmers would lose crops worth over N200 million due to the government’s action.
He said: “We planted crops worth N200m in the farmlands but the state government handed the farmlands to a company for cassava planting for its bio- fuel production. Majority of us invested the loans we secured from the banks in the farms”.
He pleaded with the government to give them three months to harvest the crops.
Reacting, the Commissioner for Environment and Solid Minerals, Hassan Kalgo, said the hectares were a forest reserve, not farmlands.
He said: “We have about eight forest reserves and the 14,000 hectares the farmers alleged we confiscated is one of them.”
He added that during the previous administrations, the reserve was given to a company called Excel Solution Nigeria Limited for a project and the company failed to honour the contract and embarked on illegal renting of the lands to farmers in the area.