Kwara State Govr, AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq has ordered the suspension of the state Ministry of Agriculture’s permanent secretary and other officials of the ministry after they were named in the alleged extortion of farmers through the unauthorized sale of registration forms.
A statement by the governor’s media aide, Rafiu Ajakaye, said that the government did not approve the sale of registration forms and found it strange that officials could do such a thing to poor farmers.
The statement continued, “In the light of the development, we wish to state the following: That neither the Governor nor the Honourable Commissioner for Agriculture and Rural Development at any time approved the sale of forms to anyone, including farmers, in the guise of whatever scheme or census for farmers .”
Ajakaye stated that preliminary in-house findings have been made which suggested clear wrongdoings, and that the head of service has been directed to suspend the officials involved, including the ministry’s permanent secretary to send the signal that such misconduct will not be condoned by the governor.
He added that the government had not disclosed the names of those alleged officers, and had called upon the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), an anti-graft agency, to investigate and prosecute anyone found guilty of ripping off the poor farmers.
He announced that the government regrets the embarrassing behavior of these officials and apologizes to the affected farmers.
Ajakaye finally affirmed that the government plans to refund the money of victimized -farmers, noting they would only need to bring forward the forms they had purchased to claim their refund.