The Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN Anchor Borrowers Program in Cross River state is allegedly in disarray as the state governor, Sen. Ben Ayade has been accused of hijacking the process and flooding the list with his political appointees and family members.
Ayade, according to a reliable source has forwarded over five hundred names which comprised mostly of Calabar based politicians and his family members who are not rice farmers to the Ogoja branch of Bank of Agriculture.
According to the source Adie Samuel, "The governor has hijacked the entire process and has filled the list with his family members and Calabar Politicians who know nothing about rice farming"
The source maintained, "I am from Obudu, the same local government with the governor but it's so disappointing that after getting a message initially from the borrowers program, my name is no longer in the list from my LGA as the governor has removed my name and replaced it with his family member".
While commending the federal government for the initiative, another source, Benson Odey, a rice farmer alleged that "some inputs that were meant for Cross River North being the largest producer of rice in the state was diverted to Ikom by a political cabal
"More disappointing is the fact that some politicians who are not even farmers have already gotten the highest portion of the inputs, leaving the real farmers to grumble.
"As we speak, Inputs are secretly distributed to Ayade's cabal at night"
Reacting, the state agric Commissioner Prof. Anthony Eneji denied the allegations against the governor stressing that the program is under the strict monitoring team from the CBN.
Prof. Eneji said that "Please disregard that disinformation. The programme is under firm monitoring by CBN based on strict guidelines. His Excellency, the Governor has no interference whatsoever".
It will be recalled that the Federal Government through the CBN is currently granting loans to rice farmers aimed at increasing food production and security in the country.
The CBN had set aside N40 billion out of the N220 billion earmarked under its Micro and Medium Enterprises Development Fund to boost rice production in the country
The fund is to serve as loans to rice farmers in the range of N150, 000 to N250, 000.
According to the CBN, the fund would be given as loans to rice farmers to procure agricultural inputs like fertilizers, pesticides and seedlings among others
Farmers through corporative are expected to open an account with the Bank of Agriculture to be able to access the loans
In the Ogoja branch of Bank of Agriculture yesterday, the turn out of farmers in the northern zone was very high as they came out in their numbers to open account
Already truck loads of inputs such as rice, fertiliser, herbicides among others have arrived.