Chairman Senate Committee on foreign and local dept, Senator Shehu Sani, has said 80 percent of loans collected by state governments in Nigeria were either shared among politicians and their cronies or dispensed as largesse for politicians.
Senator Sani, representing Kaduna Central Senatorial District, disclosed this Sunday, while reacting to multiple complaints against late distribution of fertilizer and agric-related banks by farmers in Kaduna under the guise of Amalgamated Ancoh Farmers Forum.
Sani revealed that Nigeria’s Dept profile has, therefore, risen to as high as 60 percent from 10.4 as a result of this development, adding that what would have been given to farmers to improve yields were misused.
“Over the years, Nigerian government announced billions and trillions of naira as budget for agriculture; some even prioritized agriculture in their speech but nothing comes of it.
“Funds to be used to improve or better the farming profession for the farmers were diverted to things other than farming. Most times, you see the government leaving behind legacy of high dept profile but nothing to show for it. This Dept must be paid by government of today or tomorrow’s generation, and that is a very big problem,” he said.
According to him, rather than showing interest, Nigerians all the times rejected in state government’s request for loans on agriculture and other amenities. He lamented that, while the small-scale Peasant farmers, who invest genuinely in agriculture were working to feed the 170 million–200 millions, Nigerians were denied loans and fertilizer, political Brief-case farmers were having their way in access to loans from Agricultural Development bank, Insurance Scheme banks, International Committee and local sources of funds for their activities.
“The political Brief-case farmers’ farms are in the theatre of act of political meetings; they have everything you need to have to improve yourselves as farmers. Nigerian farmers suppose to have fertilizer at the rate of N3000.
“If all the money that have been saved from removal of oil subsidy are channel towards farming, prices of fertilizer and foodstuff would not have gone skyrocketing as it is now. We have to tell ourselves, the country and our government the truth. People are suffering. Diversification of the economy is not about pumping money to rice production alone,” Sani said.
Earlier, the forum in a courtesy call on Senator Sani in Kaduna, complained bitterly of the habit of late distribution of fertilizer to members in the state, poor loans facilities, police detention threats by banks to members to pay back with yields even with low input and output, among others. Sani, however, promised to assist in some of the issues raised that are within his reach as a federal legislator.
According to chairman of the farmers’ forum, farmers in the state have been under intense pressure by relevant loans providers to return yields harvested, based on agreement, so much that some were arrested and detained, while others had decided to put off their cell-phones to avoid contact.