By Samuel Oyandongha
Yenagoa â€” Farmers in Bayelsa State have raised alarm over an alleged plan to deny them access to the N200 billion Federal Government agricul-tural loan facility.
The farmers and fishermen, under the aegis of Yenagoa Chambers of Commerce Industry, Mines and Agriculture (YCCIMA), who threatened to take to the streets of the capital city, said they had petitioned Presi-dent Umaru Yarâ€™Adua on the irregularities going on in the state.
They also pleaded with the president to order the commercial banks involved in the disbursement of the loans to stop all dealings with the funds until a thorough investigation was carried out.
President, YCCIMA, Chief Lionel Jonathan-Omo, and his deputy, Mr. Adouye Awere, alleged a grand design to exclude hardworking farmers in the state from benefitting from the loan scheme.
â€œWe shall call all the farmers of Bayelsa State for peaceful protests in Yenagoa so that the whole world will hear how the Minister of Agriculture and Water Resources and the Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria have bounded together by an evil plot to deprive the farmers and fishing companies of Bayesla State access to a loan package approved by the federal government,â€ they said.
The YCCIMA chieftains lamented that no team of the federal agencies had visited the state to inspect infrastructure necessary for consideration of loans for agricultural development.
According to them, the CBN has released two batches of beneficiaries without a single one from Bayelsa State .
The YACCIMA leaders said:Â â€œThe two commercial banks, UBA and First Bank, have refused to treat our applications. It would amount to an injustice for the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Water Resources and the Central Bank to start disbursing monies from the federal governmentâ€™s rescue plan without a single beneficiary from a state that contributes heavily to the federal purse.â€
They, therefore, appealed to the president to direct the agriculture ministry and CBN as well as the commercial banks involved to put together a technical team to visit Bayelsa, Rivers and Delta states so