By Ibrahim Bello
Birnin Kebbi – The Kebbi State Government said it had set up a committee to monitor possible diversion of agricultural equipment distributed to 630 farmers in the state.
Alhaji Muhammad Lawal, the Permanent Secretary in the state Ministry of Agriculture made this known while briefing newsmen in Birnin Kebbi on Thursday.
He said that the committee was set up in collaboration with Rice Farmers Association of Nigeria (RIFAN) and authorities of the 21 Local Government Areas (LGAs) of the state.
“You will recall that Gov. Atiku Bagudu recently launched distribution of agricultural equipment like power tillers, rippers and threshers to farmers with the sole aim of assisting them to reduce cost of production.
“Over 630 farmers were trained for 45 days on the use and maintenance of the equipment in order to serve as service providers within their respective localities in the 21 LGAs to reduce unemployment among youths.
“But to our dismay, information has reached us that some of the beneficiaries were planning to sell the equipment, hence we deemed it necessary to ensure that those equipment were not sold out to anybody as they were meant for the development of the state,” Lawal said.
According to him, the ministry reserves the right to revoke any sale and take possession of government property when the agreement and purpose of distributing of the equipment is violated.
He also warned that any person caught in the act of bargaining for such equipment, would be dealt with decisively.
“Any beneficiary who doesn’t want to utilise the equipment should bring it to the ministry for onward redistribution to those farmers in need in the state,” he said.
The state government had on Nov. 28, distributed 50 power tillers, 30 rippers and 80 threshers to youths and women cooperative groups drawn from the 21 LGAs of the state.