Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Ezenwo Wike, says politics has been used to deny the state access to agricultural loans offered by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).
According to a statement by his Special Assistant (Media), Kelvin Ebiri, the governor stated this when he hosted the Minister of State for Agriculture, and Rural Development, Mustapha Baba Shehuri at Government House, Port Harcourt, on Monday.
Wike was quoted as decrying the politicisation of every issue in the country, including agriculture.
This, he said, has hindered dispassionate implementation of agricultural policies to achieve the intended food security and jobs for the youths.
“I think, I am one of those states that nobody gives loans for agriculture. I don’t know what hatred the Central Bank Governor has for us? We do not know.
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“We have been hearing of Anchor Borrower this and Anchor that. But when it concerns Rivers State, you will hear a lot of things,” the governor lamented.
Wike explained that in an ideal situation devoid of politics, the CBN would partner with the Rivers State Government to achieve the objectives of setting up the state-owned cassava processing plant.
“Please tell the Governor of Central Bank to remember us too, that we are part of Nigeria. When we applied, they said this loan was N5 billion. We have applied for more than one year now. They said we should bring this and bring that.
“They said we should bring the cooperative societies and I say this is where the politics comes from. If I want to eat government money, I can seat here and write cooperative societies. Previous administration took loan of over N3 billion and said they gave it to cooperative societies. Who are these cooperative societies? And the money went off like that.
“And we are telling you see the cassava processing plant that you are supposed to say we will buy into this, we will support the State government. Nothing has happened,” he said.
However, Wike noted that even without the loans from the CBN, his administration was achieving a revolution in cassava processing that would create jobs for youths and enduring patronage for farmers.
The minister was quoted as saying that he was in the state to inspect ongoing and completed projects that would boost rural agricultural activities under his ministry.
He said the Federal Government was poised to support Rivers farmers with new technology that would address the problems of low yields, allow them have access to improved varieties of cassava produce, chemical for treatment for the seeds and crops protection.
Credit: The Herald