Senate summons NIRSAL over federal character neglect in intervention funds disbursement

THE Senate ad-hoc committtee investigating uneven disbursement of loans, grants, and interventions across the five geo-political regions has summoned the management of the Nigeria Incentive-Based Risk Sharing System for Agricultural Lending (NIRSAL) to appear before it on Thursday, December 15 over allegations of questionable practices in disbursements.

The chairman of the committee, Senator Sani Musa (Niger East, APC), issued the summon on Monday,  December 12, 2022 when the minister of state for Industry, Trade and Investment, Ambassador Mariam Katagum, appeared before the committtee.

Musa said, “I think the committee is well guided on the reason why NIRSAL management must appear. We should write to NIRSAL to appear on Thursday. Failure to do so we shall not hesitate to invoke the constitution. We have heard what is going on in NIRSAL; the Managing Director has been suspended.”

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NIRSAL Plc. is a $500 million non-bank financial institution wholly-owned by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and created to redefine, measure, re-price and share agribusiness-related credit risks in Nigeria.

NIRSAL has been in the news lately for the wrong reasons. Its managing director and chief executive officer officer, Aliyu Abbati Abdulhameed, has been suspended since December 2 for corruption allegations, including a N5.6 billion wheat fraud accusation, and following an advisory by the Attorney-General of the Federation (AGF) and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami (SAN).

Against this backdrop, the Human
Rights Writers Association of Nigeria (HURWA), has called for Abdulhameed’s arrest.

HURWA’s national coordinator, Emmanuel Onwubiko, condemned, in a statement, the secret sacking of Abdulhameed by President Muhammadu Buhari and the Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, Godwin Emefiele, after the alleged heist was uncovered.

Meanwhile, Senator Ayo Akinyelure (Ondo Central, PDP) has tasked Katagum on the manner of disbursement of survival funds, saying applicants from Ondo and Oyo states who applied for a grant of N3.2 million for small-scale enterprises got only N300,000 and N250,000 respectively.

“We were told at the point of disbursement that the state governments changed the name of the programme from NCares to OndoCares and OyoCares.

“We were told the state governments hijacked and reduced the amounts to N300,000 and N250,000 for Ondo and Oyo states respectively, and reduced the number of beneficiaries,” Akinyelure said.



    Responding, the executive director of the Bank of Industry, Shekarau Omar, argued that the NCares was a World Bank intervention grant, saying, “We will get the details and come back. It is better for me to go back and get the details and come back within the week.”

    Katagum also submitted that she wrote, at the inception of the disbursement, to state governments to appoint focal persons.

    She added, “From my records, we did carry the Senate along. The leadership of the National Assembly at one point commended us over the survival fund.”

    Senator Musa explained that what the committee was making efforts to do was like a fact-finding, so that they, the legislators, would be able to tell Nigerians how intervention funds were disbursed.

    Harrison Edeh is a journalist with the International Centre for Investigative Reporting, always determined to drive advocacy for good governance through holding public officials and businesses accountable.

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    1. Many applicant didn’t got there survival while they had been verified, and the quarter of each scheme isn’t completed, so we plead authority to be concern and consider the issues


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