The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission in Sokoto has said it has arrested the Chairman of Rice Farmers’ Association of Nigeria, Gummi Local Government Area chapter, Zamfara State, Ibrahim Rijiya, for alleged diversion of fertiliser and herbicide.
The storekeeper of the council, Aminu Musa, and one Abdullahi Bashir were also arrested in connection with the alleged diversion.
They were said to have criminally diverted three trucks of 1,800 bags of fertiliser and a truckload of herbicide meant for rice farmers in Gummi.
Rijiya, who is also the District Head of Rijiya Gummi, Gummi LGA, was said to have sold each bag of fertiliser for N3,000.
Acting spokesman for the EFCC, Tony Orilade, said in a statement on Wednesday the arrest of the suspects followed a petition by rice farmers in the area.
Representatives of seven different groups of rice farmers had alleged that in July 2018, the Federal Government approved and disbursed 12 trucks of fertiliser and herbicide to 83 cooperative societies in Gummi, adding that no member of the association received the items as approved by the government.
Also, efforts by the Gummi chapter of RIFAN to get the items back reportedly failed.
EFCC investigations, however, revealed that Rijiya allegedly conspired with Musa to divert and sell the fertiliser and herbicide to Bashir for N17.1m.
Orilade said, “The suspects confessed to their roles in the crime while the three trucks of the fertiliser have been recovered from them. Efforts are on to recover the diverted herbicide. They will soon be arraigned.”