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EFCC Nabs Rice Farmers Chairman Over Alleged Diversion Of Fertilizer, Insecticides Worth N17m.

Sokoto State zonal office of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), has arrested the Chairman of Rice Farmers Association of Nigeria, Gunmi Local Government Area, Zamfara State chapter, Rijia Ibrahim, for allegedly diverting bags of fertilizers and insecticide products worth N17,100,000.

Abdullahi Lawal, the EFCC head, Sokoto zone, disclosed this on Tuesday while addressing Journalists in Sokoto.

The EFCC head said trouble started for the suspect when seven of the associations under his chairmanship got wind that three trailers of fertilizers and one canter truck of farm insecticides allocated to them by the national headquarters of the association for the farming season had been diverted.

He explained that the suspect had connived with one Aminu Musa, a storekeeper of the local government to perpetrate the act and sold the products to one Abdullahi Bashir, a businessman.

He disclosed that upon receiving the groups' petition, the EFCC swung into action and invited the three suspects identified in the diversion for questioning.

Lawal said an investigation revealed that the goods were part of the Federal Government's assisted programme for rice farmers nationwide through the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).

According to Lawal, 'The EFCC Sokoto Zonal office received a petition on 26th of March 2019 from seven groups of Rice Farmers Association of Nigeria (Rifan) from Gunmi Local Government Area of Zamfara State namely; Gawon Gulibi, Gambosi, Ruwan Giginya, Yar'panawa, Garka Bala Masinja, Lemawa and Sabon Gari, all in Gunmi Local Government area of Zamara State.

'We commenced an investigation in earnest and it was revealed that the Chairman of the Association in Gunmi Local Government Area, one Rijia Ibrahim, connived with one Aminu Musa, a storekeeper of the local government and diverted the products and sold them out.

'Our investigation further revealed that each bag of fertilizer diverted cost N6,900 with a trailer loaded 600 bags. The market price of the three trailers was cost put at N12,420,000.

'We also discovered that a carter truck loaded with insecticide products meant for the same associations was diverted and sold out in the same manner by these suspects.

'The carter truck loaded 260 cartons with each cartoon containing 12 litres amounted to N4,680,000. So, if you add up the sums, it is N17,100,000. These two suspects diverted the products and sold them to one Abdullahi Bashir, a businessman. The investigation was extended and these three suspects were invited for questioning.

Lawal, however, said the commission was able to recover the whole three trailers of the stolen fertilizers while efforts were ongoing to recover the insecticide products.

He further disclosed that the prime suspect (Rijia Ibrahim) had made frantic effort to induce the affected members with cash of N3,000 each, in lieu of the diverted fertilizer due to each person as to silence them but he was unsuccessful.

He revealed that the suspects have confessed to the crime when confronted adding that, ' they are now on bail due to court vacation.' He, however, vowed that the commission will charge all the suspects accordingly as soon as court resume.

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Publication:Nigerian Tribune (Oyo State, Nigeria)
Date:Aug 7, 2019
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