Over N300bn Fraud Uncovered In Nigeria’s Presidential Fertilizer Initiative As Farmers Contend With Substandard Supplies

Not less than N300bn has been siphoned from the Presidential Fertilizer Initiative of President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration between 2017 to date, according to a petition seen by SaharaReporters.

The PFI was established by the government to provide quality fertilizers to farmers across Nigeria at low rates.

To aid agricultural production, harvest and provision of food security for the country, the PFI proposed that fertilizers would be locally blended at N5,000 per bag and sold out to farmers at N5,500 per bag.

Local blenders are provided funds from the Nigeria Sovereign Investment Authority without any interest or collateral and they were to import raw materials from Morocco under NAIC. 

However, Tak Agro blenders and some others like the MD of NAIC, Mr Uche, and his Deputy, Executive Director NSIA, CBN ABP Department, Faruq Gumel, and Aisha, a daughter of the late Chief of Staff, Abba Kyari, who is a senior staff at the NSIA, and many others, have siphoned funds from the Federal Government, agro dealers as well as farmers, who are the end-users between N200bn to N300bn since 2017 till date.

In the petition it was alleged that Tak Agro headed by Thomas Etuh and his cohorts connived with NAIC and loaded raw materials of 27 to 28 tons instead of 30 tons and diverted the difference for their private use and sold them to other blending plants.

Tak Agro has also been handling logistics, thereby making it easy to perfect robbery in collaboration with others in government agencies.

The shortage is calculated into billions of naira and memo then raised to the Federal Government, which pays for it.

Furthermore, the quality of fertilizers being blended is low. It contains high Kaolin, sand, and low percentage of Nitrogen, MOP and DAP and are being packaged into bags without proper scaling, making the content below the recommended and inscribed 50kg.

Most of the fertilizer bags are between 40kg-45kg, which is unacceptable.

Bajita Blending Plant in Plateau State, F and C blending plant in Kaduna owned by Tak Agro, Fertilizer and Chemical owned by Tak Agro and Ibrahim Birma as the MD and Funtua Fertilizer Blending Plant also owned by Tak Agro amongst others are part of the plants with which they diverted over 250 trucks sold under the Anchor Borrowers Programme, knowing that these fertilizers are of low quality.

These fertilisers belong to the Federal Government and to cover their tracks, the Bajita Plant is currently shut down.

Additionally, the culprits supply fertilisers at N7,500/bag under the Anchor Borrowers Programme instead of the agreed N5,500.

This is possible with the connivance of Central Bank’s Anchor Borrowers Programme department.

This collaboration made it possible for the corrupt elements to divert funds into their personal pockets.

This anomaly extends into many states majorly in the North where these PFI fertilizers are sold to the governments at N8,000/bag and the huge difference is shared between Tak Agro and allies including some state officials.

When they sell 1,000,000 bags, they have N25bn to share among themselves.

This is done knowing fully well that the ABP is a loan to farmers, who pay back after harvest are being given.

Another corruption is ongoing in NACOTAN headed by Mr Anibe Achimugu and on its Board of Trustees is Ibrahim Birma and Thomas Eteh.

In 2019, NACOTAN collected about N17bn from the CBN and did not produce even five tons of raw cotton to show for it.

Also this year 2020, another N20bn has been given for the same purpose.

SaharaReporters has exclusively reported immense corruption in NIRSAL where under the leadership of Aliyu Abdulhameed, billions of naira have been stolen by him as he awards input supply contracts to himself and this has been going on for years.

The insecurity growing every day in the North-West and other parts of the country are the spillover effects of corrupt individuals robbing farmers by supplying substandard fertilizers and ripping the government of huge amounts.