The Nigeria Incentive-Based Risk Sharing System for Agricultural Lending (NIRSAL) has voiced that the allegations levelled against it by protesters in Abuja were “baseless” and “unsubstantiated”.
NIRSAL in a statement titled “CORRUPT INTERESTS SPONSOR MISCREANTS TO PROTEST AGAINST NIRSAL”, on Wednesday, informed that a protest was staged outside its office, at the Federal Capital Territory.
It said that the protesters were not farmers but paid miscreants hired by corrupt interests to discredit the institution.
The protesters, according to NIRSAL, flagged placards with inscriptions accusing the institution, its Managing Director, Mr. Aliyu Abdulhammed and the CBN Anchor Borrowers Programme (ABP) of “diverting farmers money” and “killing farmers”
NIRSAL has, however, stated that the sponsored protesters who admitted to being hired, were on a mission to distort the successful agricultural reforms by the President Muhammadu Buhari administration.
“When they were engaged by NIRSAL staff, some of the protesters who looked dirty and unkempt and spoke in Hausa language revealed that they knew nothing about NIRSAL’s operations and admitted that were sponsored to protest against NIRSAL.
“They also admitted that they have no information about NIRSAL’s operations, the Anchor Borrowers Programme and the Central Bank
“According to them, they were at NIRSAL to do a job they were paid for by their sponsor(s) who got them a police permit,” NIRSAL disclosed.
NIRSAL Head of Corporate Communications, Mrs. Anne Ihugba, via the release, debunked the “baseless” accusations by the protesters, describing it as an attempt to distort NIRSAL strides in the agriculture sector.
According to her, NIRSAL had facilitated funds to the tune of over a N100 billion from the financial sector, to alleviate farmers’ plight and make meaningful contributions to their livelihoods.
She said, “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 organization.
“Questioned individually, the boys admitted to belonging to no ABP tickets and were in fact recruited from Abuja and environs, particularly from areas such as Mararaba, Mabushi, and Jabi. This negates the claim that they are farmers from Kebbi State.
“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.”