From: Bamidele Fashube, Abuja
THE Nigeria Incentive Risk-Based System for Agriculture Lending (NIRSAL) has denied claims of fraudulent acts in the disbursement of funds to farmers saying it has so far facilitated more than N100 billion to support the nation’s agricultural sector.
The bank also disclosed that all successful entries for the 2019 Anchor Borrowers Programme (ABP) farming season have been met.
Anne Ihugba, NIRSAL Head of Corporate Communications disclosed this in Abuja while reacting to protest held at the bank’s entrance, blaming the financial body of diverting monies meant for the farmers.
“The colourful flyers and placards accused NIRSAL and the CBN’s Anchor Borrowers Programme of “diverting farmers’ money” and “killing farmers” – a totally baseless claim,” Ihugba said.
“To be absolutely clear, all successful ABP applications for the 2019 farming seasons have been honoured by NIRSAL.”
“As required by the guidelines issued by the Central Bank, farmers with incomplete loan documentations are prevented from accessing the funds in their accounts until they meet the obligations.” She added.
She further said over N100 billion was facilitated through financial institutions to the agric sector and has been improving the lives of farmers across the country.
Ihugba, however, blamed organisers of the protest for deliberate attempt to put the organisation in disrepute.
She claimed that when the protesters were confronted, some of the protesters who spoke in Hausa language said they knew nothing about NIRSAL’s operations and admitted they were sponsored to protest against NIRSAL.
“As part of the ongoing campaign against NIRSAL by corrupt interests fighting against the successful agricultural reforms by the Buhari administration, some sponsored miscreants have been staging a protest outside NIRSAL’s offices in Abuja.
“The miscreants carried placards inscribed with unsubstantiated and discredited allegations against NIRSAL, NIRSAL’s managing director and the Central Bank of Nigeria.”
“Though NIRSAL found the inauspicious visit as an opportunity to engage and enlighten more young people on its agribusiness initiatives and the promise they hold, the protest smacked of witch-hunting and a well-crafted agenda to smear the organisation.