Rice Farmers Face Arrest Over Default in Loan Repayment



From Yakubu Busari, Jos


Members of the Plateau State chapter of rice farmers association in the country face arrest for refusal to pay loans extended to them by banks.

They have stated that they will not comply with the conditions given to them by the commercial banks on loan repayment until the Chairman and the secretary of the state chapter of the association disburses the fertilizers, pumping machines and chemical due to.

The farmers also accused the state officials of the association of corrupting the process by basing the criteria for qualification on party and religious affiliation, whereas most of them are poor and without any form of support.

Some of the farmers decried the poor harvest for 2019 and attributed the low productivity to the challenges of funding the irrigation system in the state.

Thisage has learned that thousands of the beneficiaries who collected agricultural loans for rice farming in Plateau State have declined to pay back, a development that may lead to the state been blacklisted unless something urgent is done.

The State Branch of the Rice Farmers Association of Nigeria (RIFAN) and officials of the bank which disbursed the loans from the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) in the state are currently contemplating contacting the police to issue a warrant of arrest through all the 17 divisional police stations in the state

The state Chairman of Rice farmers Association (RIFAN) , Joshua Bitrus who expressed concerns over the development, said banks may blacklist the  state if the authority does not carry out the arrests.

He however described the stand of the farmers as highly regrettable.

According to him, the association is currently making efforts to contact all the 17 divisional police officers (DPO) to issue warrants of arrest on the defaulters.

He called on the affected farmers to intensify efforts towards payment of the loans to avoid embarrassment, noting that their attitude, if not corrected, may affect the chance of future financial support from the service sector. He painted a gloomy picture for rice farming in the state if urgent steps were not taken to sanitize the loan burrowing and repayment process.

To buttress his point, he disclosed that farmers in only four local government areas in the North Senatorial District in the state have not defaulted in payments as stipulated. The Senatorial District is composed of 17 Local governments.