From: Olanrewaju Lawal, Birnin-Kebbi
About 11,549 rice farmers in Suru Local Government Area of Kebbi State would be prosecuted for allegedly defaulting to repay Federal Government loans given to them under the Anchored Borrowers Programme, since 2015.
The concerned were given up till May 10 ,2017 to pay up the loan shared to them for dry season rice farming or face legal action.
Kebbi State Deputy Governor, Col. Samaila Yombe Dabai, who led government loan recovery team to Suru, on Thursday, along with Chief Magistrate Court 1, Birnin-Kebbi, Magistrate Mukhtaru Tafariki and representative of Bank of Agriculture, Mr. Abubakar Zaki, threatened the affected farmers that they would face the full wrath of the law if they failed to meet deadline for the repayment of the loan.
Addressing the farmers and community leaders at Suru headquarters of Suru local government, Dabai said: “I am not happy to return here again for the same issue. In fact I am annoyed with you. But the District Head had pleaded that we should give you three weeks grace and we shall give you that opportunity.
“You have to repay the loan perfectly so that your local government, District Head that pleaded on your behalf, myself and the governor would not be put to shame.”
District Head of Suru, Alhaji Muhammadu Bello, had pleaded to the Deputy Governor and his recovery team for extension of three weeks stressed that leaders of the community were not involved in recovery of the loan initially .
According to the District Head, “Now that we were involved, I will plead that you give them three weeks for them to pay up. Those paddy rice you saw along the road might be product of the farmers that benefitted from loan and waiting for buyers. I believed in the next three weeks, they will responded positively.”
Earlier, representative of Bank of Agriculture, Zaki disclosed that Suru local government has the highest number of beneficiaries of 11,549 farmers stressed that they have been coming to the place for loan recovery without any result.
While speaking with Daily Sun, one of the affected farmers, Suleiman Suru, claimed that they ploughed back the money realised from the first dry season farming on the fresh cultivation which they are currently harvesting.
He promised that they would repay the loan as soon as they succeeded selling their paddy rice at the markets.
Chief Magistrate Court 1, Birnin-Kebbi, Magistrate Tafariki who had constituted Court session to try defaulters adjourned the session till May 10 in order to give the affected farmers opportunity to repay the loan.
He added that the Court would take it full force if the affected farmers did not respond.