Zulum Inaugurates Panel To Probe Failure of FG’s Anchor Borrowers Program In Borno

Since its introduction to Borno state in 2017, a total of 70,000 farmers were targetted to benefit from the soft loan scheme, with the Central government saying it has released over 948 billion naira to beneficiaries across Nigeria, the programme failed in Borno amidst allegations of corruption

By Zainab Yetunde Adam

Borno State Government has inaugurated a ten-man Committee to investigate the failure of the full implementation of Anchor Borrowers programme (ABP) in the state.

ABP is a federal government empowerment programme that was launched in November 2015 to help boost agriculture. It was introduced to Borno state in 2017. Under the programmes farmers were provided with the critical funds and inputs needed to increase local production.

While the President of Nigeria, Muhammadu Buhari, in January 2022 said the ABP, since its launch six years ago, has supported over 4.8 million smallholder farmers across Nigeria to boost production of 23 agricultural commodities in the country, in Borno state reverse seemed the case.

There have been rumours of corruption and sharp practice linking the failure of the programme in Borno.

The Governor, Babagana Zulum, who was represented by the Secretary to the State Government, Usman Jidda Shuwa inaugurated the fact-finding committee.

The SSG said said the committee is given two months to find out the circumstances that led to the failure of the programme for food security and optimum productivity in the state.

“The Committee is to ascertain farmers short-listed and short change, if any, on the scheme; evaluate the MoU executed by the parties and ascertain the liability of the Borno State Government, if any, under the ABP among other issues listed as their terms of reference.”

The State Government assured give the Committee the necessary support required to carry out the onerous assignment effectively.

Chairman of the Investigation Committee, Shettima Bukar, promised: “to work without fear or favour” for transparency, Accountability and development to thrive in the state.

“This exercise aligned with the State Government’s 10-point strategic transformation agenda on (Agriculture) and as such deserves the appropriate attention required,” he said.

The Committee enjoined the public to give them the necessary support for a hitch-free investigation.

Members of the Committee include Danjuma Ali as Secretary, Barrister Salamatu Alhaji Idrissa (Esq), representative of the Bank of Agriculture, representative of Central Bank of Nigeria, representative of the Commissioner of Police Borno state command, and representative of the State Director of Security Department of State Services among others as members of the Committee.

The Central Bank of Nigeria has this month stopped the Anchor Borrowers scheme amidst outcries from the benefiting farmers. The CBN said it has so far disbursed over N948 billion to farmers since 2015.

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