Beneficiaries of the Anchor Borrowers Scheme of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) for farmers in Niger state have cried out over the non-disbursement of the fund to them after completing all the necessary conditions before accessing the fund.
Over one thousand beneficiaries from Niger state, including students in tertiary institutions completed the necessary documentations as farmers association, registered under the Anchored Borrowers Scheme of the CBN, completed registration and screening by, www.seifac.org, but are yet to receive cash backing to start off.
The beneficiaries who are now pointing accusing fingers at the handlers of the scheme, Heritage Bank in particular for defrauding farmers who registered for the scheme wants security agencies to step in and unravel the mystery surrounding the delays.
Spokesperson for the victims, Mallam Abdulmuttalib Mukadas Dindey told journalists how after following due process they have been waiting for the disbursement and none of the officials is willing to update them.
One of the beneficiaries simply identified as, Oche presented an identification card of, Smallholder Economic Interest Farmers Agricultural Cooperative (SEIFAC), haven joined the group since the year, 2020 lamented that the delay in disbursement will affect them badly.
Giving an insight into the conditions for the loan, Oche said, “SEIFAC promised that 3 hectres of land will be given to each farmer, with N500, 000 per annum. We are expected to chose from; sesame, soya beans, rice or any other cereal”.
Beneficiaries are also expected to pay back the loan with certain portion of the farm produce forfeited after harvest, Oche further explained, adding however that, “We followed the release of N500 billion for this project from the CBN, but what is delaying the disbursements to their Heritage Bank accounts is what we cannot understand”.
“We were asked us to pay a minimum of N500 for the form and a minimum of, N2, 000 for account activation upgrade at the Heritage Bank Plc which we obliged. Some even deposited more than that, but we have been expecting disbursement and it is yet to come through”.
The victims are also more worried that the SEIFAC website www.seifac.org is no longer accessible and all efforts to reach the Desk Officer have not been possible and he has refused to pick calls or respond to text messages, Oche lamented.
The victims who expressed fears that the money may have been disbursed to Heritage Bank with SEIFAC Desk Officer, Nurudeen Abdulkadir well in the picture of it said they are worried that nobody is telling them anything and the cropping season will soon be over.
Efforts to speak with the SEIFAC Desk Officer, Nurudeen Abdulkadir to clarify issues surrounding the scheme proved abortive as he did not pick, nor responded to text message sent to him on the subject matter.
Our correspondent also made efforts to speak with the Minna branch Manager of Heritage Bank but was told by one of the departmental heads that they are not authorised to speak on inquiries regarding such schemes except by their head office in Abuja or Lagos.