Dr Usman Bugaje, Convener, Arewa Research and Development Project (ARDP), has said that over 90 per cent of smallholder farmers in Nigeria did not access loan facilities from conventional banks.
Bugaje made this known at the opening of 2nd Special Training Workshop on Agricultural Islamic Finance at the Postgraduate School of Ahmadu Bello University (ABU), Zaria, Kaduna State.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the workshop was meant to boost the revenue base of smallholder farmers at the grassroots by enabling them access loans with neither collateral nor interest.
He attributed the problem to prerequisite (collateral) attached to loan scheme that must be met before enjoying the facility, adding that such prerequisite had often disqualified most of the grassroots farmers.
‘’In Nigeria, reports have shown that over 90 per cent of our smallholder farmers, who actually need assistance, do not access loans from conventional banks.
“However, it is discovered globally that the Agricultural Islamic Finance is the only sure way that would genuinely guarantee these people access to loan without the unnecessary protocols.
“The loan,if accessed, will enable the smallholder farmers boost their productivity, enhance revenue base and increase the nation’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP),” he said.
The convener explained that the new scheme,not meant for Muslims alone, was tested in many countries and found to be the best alternative to conventional banking system.
Bugaje explained further that the new scheme also allowed profit and loss to be shared according to agreed ratio.
He said ARDP was a development platform created about seven years ago to ensure sustainable financial development of smallholder farmers in the country at large, and Northern Nigeria in particular.
“Nigeria returned to democratic government in 1999, but eight years after, we discovered that in spite the large amount of unprecedented revenue realised from oil, actually, poverty doubled.
“As we moved on, we discovered that our politics is becoming increasingly empty, it was not delivering, poverty was growing, conflict was increasing and there were other problems.
“So, we decided to bring in academic people with public service experience and people who have passion for reform and development of this country, on how to really address the problems.’’
He said the first thing they did was to create a development agenda that focused on agriculture being one sector that had the capacity to provide jobs and also create wealth.
The convener added that it was the reason why they decided to link up with different institutions in the country, to be able to overcome the constraints.
The Chairman of the occasion, Maj.-Gen. Paul Tarfa (Rtd), said the workshop should have been organised much earlier than now, in view of its importance, not only to smallholder farmers but also to the entire nation.
Tarfa identified finance as the major problem of agricultural development in Nigeria, in spite the efforts of government in disbursing loans to farmers.
“But with this move, I believe many will enjoy the gesture which I know is interest-free.
“I urge the participants to take advantage of the workshop and ensure that they disseminate the information acquired to others.”
The Secretary, African Rural and Agricultural Credit Association (AFRACA), Saleh Usman-Gashua, said the organisation was a heterogeneous network, established in 1977 with the mandate of developing inclusive development finance.
“Our mandate is to make sure that everyone has access to sustainable financial services.
”It is not only limited to credit, but we are also looking into payments, insurance transfers and encouraging savings among others.
“Just like in Kenya where I stay, the number of underserved or unreached sector has reduced significantly, using ICT.
‘’We have what we call agency banking, whereby you can pay your loans and can get access to finances.
“We also have what we call ‘impessa’ where you can transact business in billions of Kenya shillings in a day.
‘’We have also ‘m-sure’ where you can give loans, recover loans within 24 hours without knowing even where your bank is.’’
Prof. Ibrahim Garba, the Vice-Chancellor of ABU, described the institution as the home of agriculture in the country.
According to him, ABU, Zaria is the host of three important agricultural institutes with national mandate of agricultural research and development.
“ABU hosts the Institute for Agricultural Research (IAR), National Agricultural Exension Research and Liaison Services (NAERLS), National Animal Production Research Institute (NAPRI) and Division of Agricultural Colleges (DAC).
“With all these institutes, there is no better place to hold this workshop in Nigeria than ABU, therefore, the choice of this institution is not by accident,” he said.
The workshop drew facilitators and participants from Kenya, Togo, Ghana and Uganda, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) as well as commercial banks among others.
A bandit by the name of Aliu Musa has revealed how an helicopter aircraft drops weapons for his gang inside Dinya Forest in Kankara Local Government Area of Katsina State.
The 20-year-old Musa and another suspected bandit Salmanu Isa, 18, were among suspects paraded for various offences at the Katsina Police Command headquarters by the Spokesman of the Katsina State Police Command, Anas Gezawa, in Katsina city.
“I once saw that aircraft with fans on its head (helicopter) drop weapons for my boss while we were inside forest at Dinja.
“It was hovering and was very near ground. The man inside would drop the weapons for my boss who would now couple the weapons for our use,” Musa told journalists.
He explained that “It is only my boss who would go and pick the weapons while we would be watching from where we stood.”
The bandit said he was paid N17,000 per operation and confessed to killing at least five people during operations.
The bandits mentioned Sirajo and Bishir as their gang leaders.
Police spokesman, Anas Gezawa, before parading the suspects, said Musa’s gang had killed no fewer than 25 people in different operations.
Gezawa said the suspects confessed that they were bandits that tormented Kankara village and its environs.
“The first suspect Salmanu Isah (a member of the gang) mentioned that they attacked some villages with his syndicate, where they robbed Zango village and went away with eight cows,” Gezawa said.
“He also confessed that he shot dead one person before going to rob at Santa village, where they snatched six sheep and some food items.”
The police spokesman said the bandits also went to Bela and Zango villages where they killed about 20 people and rustled two cows.
Gezawa also said the bandits stormed Omodo village and killed about five people and also rustled eight cows and six sheep.
The police spokesman said there is an ongoing investigation into the case.
A woman and her two children have been attacked with acid in the Layin Shehii Quarter, Dandume, Katsina State.
The victims are Rabi Ado, and her two children, Yahaya, and Zainab Ismail.
The attackers reportedly poured acid on the victims through a window while they were asleep.
They were rushed to the Ahmadu Bello University Teaching Hospital having suffered burns.
Punch reports that cries of agony by the victims forced their neighbours awake.
One of the neighbours said, “Their cries woke us up and by the time we forced the door of their room open, the woman and her children were in serious pain.
“We then mobilised and took them to a nearby hospital, from where they were transferred to the teaching hospital at Zika, because of the extent of the injuries.”
Rabi, it was gathered, was estranged from her husband.
The spokesman for the Katsina State Police Command, ASP Anaz Gizewa, told the newspaper, “One Rabi Ado, wife to one Ismail Gilima of Layin Shehi Quarter, Dandume, was assaulted by (an unknown person(s), who threw some liquid substances suspected to be acidic on her and her children through the window while they were asleep.
“As a result, she sustained some burns and scalds on her back and shoulder. Her children, Yahaya Ismail, and Zainab Ismail were also affected.
“They are currently receiving treatment at the ABU Teaching Hospital, Shika, Zaria. The family of the victims were contacted and they confirmed the incident. They further stated that they were strongly suspecting the husband, Ismail, for being responsible for the attack
due to the fact that he and the wife had a case in court.
“The wife is seeking a divorce from him. He was informed of the incident via the phone, but up until now, he has refused to show up.
“However, we have already liaised with the victim’s family to trace him and get him arrested.”
Yanzu haka masana da kwararru a Najeriya sun yaba wa ‘yan sanda a kan namijin kokari da suka yi wurin zakulo mutumin, suna cewa wannan na nuna lalle fa ‘yan sandan Najeriya jajirtatttu ne.
Masanin Halayyar bil’adama da harkar tsaro, Farfesa Mohammed Tukur Baba ya ce wannan na nuna irin sabon babi da ‘yan sandan suka bude a sha’anin tsaro, duba da irin bajintar da suke ta nunawa da ba ayi tsammani ba, a don haka matsalolin tsaron da kasar ke fuskanta ba wai ya gagari ‘yan sanda ba ne.
Farfesa Baba ya kara da cewa matakai da suke bi su kamo irin wadannan manyan yan ta’adda ya nuna cewa in sun dukufa kuma suka samu goyon bayan jama’a to fa lalle ‘yan sandan zasu magance matsalolin tsaro a Najeriya.
Kamo irin wannan babban dan ta’addan inji masanin ka iya aikewa da sako ga duk masu son tafka aika aika, don hakan ya fara bada tsoro cewa lalle komai nisan jifa kasa zai fado, don kuwa dan sandan Najeriya ba kanwan lasa bane.
Lauyan nan mai fafutuka Barrister Yakubu Sale Bawa yace shi tuni yana da kwarin gwiwar lalle ‘yan sandan zasu sake cafke shi Wadumen, duba da cewar lalle ‘yan sandan Najeriya in zasu yi aiki zasu yi, kuma cafke wannan Wadumen zai fito da dalla dallan me ya faru.