CBN Clarifies N3bn Agric Loan Controversy In Bayelsa State

The Central Bank of Nigeria has said it had disbursed over N2.2 billion out of the N3 billion agricultural loan to farmers in Bayelsa State under its Accelerated Agricultural Development Scheme, contrary to allegation that the Bayelsa state government officials diverted the fund.

The CBN Yenagoa branch, led by its Controller, Mr Francis Ene-Asuquo, gave the clarifications during a courtesy visit to Governor Douye Diri at the Government House in Yenagoa on Tuesday.

Meanwhile, a former general manager of the State Broadcasting Corporation, Mr John Idumange, alleged fraud in the disbursement of the N3 billion, and accused some state government officials of sharing the funds within themselves.

A statement by the governor’s Chief Press Secretary, Mr Daniel Alabrah, quoted Ene-Asuquo as saying the N2.2 billion was disbursed to 2,000 direct beneficiaries who established themselves into clusters.

The CBN branch controller said,
“Also, N600m has been disbursed directly to poultry farmers in the state, which made it possible for them to now supply eggs to neighbouring states in commercial quantity.”

Also, the CBN’s Head of Development Finance, Mr Stanley Oruyeigha, dismissed the claim as mere speculation and outright falsehood.

He claimed that N1.5 billion of the amount was disbursed in the first phase for infrastructure development, which included completion of the cassava processing factory at Ebedebiri while in the second phase, the sum of N1.44 billion has been disbursed directly to 3,500 farmers as well as for the purchase of various agricultural inputs.

Oruyeigha while stressing that the balance of N61, 699,211.80 was still intact, said, “There are no issues with the N3 billion agric loan to Bayelsa farmers.

“The first tranche of N1.5bn was meant for infrastructure and that includes land clearing. No contract of N40m was paid to anyone. Everything about the fund is safe. Our partner bank is Access Bank.

“I want to emphasise that no money is missing nor was shared. The Accelerated Agriculture Development Scheme is already a success in the state and it is on course. The land clearing is going on well.

“CBN is satisfied with the progress so far in Ayamasa, Angalabiri, Korokorosei, Sampou, Agbere, Amassoma and other communities. The governor has never interfered with nor manipulated the scheme since it started.”

He further stated that the disbursement was being done in batches and that 75 per cent of land had been cleared by the beneficiaries.

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