By Leonard Okachie
Umuahia, December 01, 2020 Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has absolved the Abia Agricultural Development Programme (ADP) of an allegation of misappropriation of funds for maize farmers under the Anchor Borrower Programme ((ABP).
Addressing newsmen on the matter in Umuahia on Monday, the Head, Development Financing Office of CBN, Umuahia Office, Mr Camilius Ogbuagu, described the allegation as “unfounded”.
Ogbuagu said that the list of beneficiaries of its ABP on maize was usually provided by commodity associations at the national level and not state ADPs.
He further said that upon the receipt of the list, the bank would proceed with the distribution of the inputs directly to the farmers.
He was reacting to a report in a local media station in Abia, where the state ADP was accused of complicity in the misappropriation of CBN fund for the programme.
Ogbuagu said, “The accusation of misappropriation and making of farmers’ list levelled against ADP is unfounded because the agency neither provides the inputs nor makes up the lists.”
He also said that neither the CBN nor ADPs had a hand in the choice of the banks being used by farmers for the disbursement of funds for the programme across the federation.
He said the choice of the banks was the exclusive right of the Maize Association of Nigeria (MAN) and the Maize Growers and Processors Association of Nigeria (MAGPAMAN).
He said: “CBN does not give cash to anybody under its ABP, neither does it give grants.
“The money we give is not a grant. It is purely a loan. What we give to farmers is not in cash but in kind.”
According to him, 3,132 famers, consisting of 2,041 MAGPAN and 1,091 MAN members were listed for the inputs during this year’s wet season.
He decried the challenges confronting the programme in Abia, saying, “Here, people want to be part of a programme they do not know how it works.”
In a separate reaction, the Abia ADP Programme Manager, Chief Israel Amanze, said that ADP was working for the state and would not be deterred by such accusation.
Amanze said: “It is our mandate to ensure that farming in Abia is going on well.
“It is the core mandate of ADP to carry out extension work and develop agriculture in the state.
“Also, we will continue to play our role to ensure that the national headquarters does not stop extending its programmes to Abia farmers.”