Monday, 25 December 2017

Media-Agric cooperative society accuses Gov. Obiano aide of defrauding them N1.3m

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A media based farmers cooperative society has cried foul against what it termed a rip off by Chairman of Rice Farmers Association in Ayamelum Local Government Area, Anambra state, Mr Kenneth Ndibe.

The group which is made up of journalists and other staff in the Anambra state Broadcasting Service, ABS, alleged that Mr Ndibe cleverly collected the total sum of one point three million and five thousand naira from the cooperative society, with an assurance that they would benefit more than two point eight million naira as proceeds at harvest period.

This move they said, was in response to the clarion call by the present administration in the state, under the leadership of Governor Willie Obiano for the citizenry to get involved in agriculture at any scale, irrespective of other careers or engagements.   According to a member of the cooperative society, Mrs Ngozi Obileri, who is also the chairman of NUJ, ABS chapel, in the course of promoting this same cardinal programme of the state government, we got in contact with the state executive of the Rice Farmers Association and the chairman of the association in Ayamelum Council area, Mr Kenneth Ndibe, in particular . The said Ayamelum LGA chairman of Rice Farmers Association, encouraged us to embark on rice cultivation as it would definitely boost our revenue. He promised to assist us find land in his area, as well as supervising the project till harvest time, while we raise the funds to execute the project. He specifically told us that a plot of land required a little over a hundred thousand naira to cultivate, while it yields between 10 to 20 big bags of rice that is sold at #20,000 or more per bag. His projection was corroborated by the state chairman of Rice Farmers Association, and other members of the exco present at their meeting in Awka, where we were briefed on the project.  We pooled our resources together and raised close to one point four million naira(#1,305, 000) being what he told us will be able to deliver on twelve plots of land, he secured for us at Ifite Ogwarri(Ndibe's hometown).  We continued to release funds on his request at each stage, till final stage of harvesting and processing of produce. We were shocked to begin at this last stage to hear of poor yields, even when we visited over five time intervals in between and witnessed luxuriant growth of seedlings and consequent  bumper harvest smiling on us. Mrs  Obileri said this was not to be as Mr Ndibe kept postponing their agreed dates for harvest where all members farm Mr Ndibe will be present at the farm in Ifite Ogwarri. "The greatest shock was the day he called telling us that he has harvested six plots and got only twenty bags from the expanse of land. Smelling a rat, we all jumped into a vehicle and headed for Ifite Ogwarri, where he showed us only twelve bags of rice as proceeds from six plots of rice farm. Recall that he had earlier asserted that each plot, at best yields twenty bags and at worst, ten bags. This means that a worst case scenario will yield sixty bags of rice from six plots( 6×10) Even his co farmers he himself called to be present that day corroborated the fact that a plot yields ten bags, no matter the situation. Be it known that we paid for every condition needed for  bumper harvest, including land treatment, fertilizer, seed multiplication, pesticides,  and hiring of people to drive away birds etc."  For the journalists turned rice farmers, it was quite clear that Mr Ndibe cleverly harvested our rice and evacuated the proceeds into his private barn before inviting us to the farm. Another member of the Co operative society , Mr Ifeanyi Nwosu, said, to make matters worse, the said Ayamelum chairman of Rice Farmers Association is even coming up with alibi that the remaining six plots were eaten up by birds and cattle. Still narrating their ordeal in the hands of Mr Ndibe, the group said after they had told him to his face of his sharp dealings and their intention to get back their invested funds together with the interest from him, he started avoiding them. When he neither called nor picked their calls anymore, the media men reported the matter to the CPS Awka which gave them two officers to effect Mr Ndibe's arrest. This was not to be as he dodged, prompting the police to take his wife (Mrs Ugo Ndibe) along with them to Awka, since according to them she was privy to all that transpired between them and her husband. Informed sources however said that he has been boasting of his connection to the member representing Ayamelum constituency in the state Assembly, Hon Uche Okafor, who allegedly got the wife released soon after arrest. As we write, the man Kenneth Ndibe is walking about freely since his said connection to powers that be in the area has rendered the Police and local vigilantes incapable of bringing him to answer to charges preferred against him.  The journalists are praying the state governor to use his good offices to give them justice by seeing that they enjoy due returns on their investment from Mr Kenneth Ndibe.  They also want powers that be to expose the shady deals of the said Kenneth Ndibe to the people of the state, and the whole of Nigeria and even beyond, to save millions of other would be investors from being ripped off by him.                      The media workers are also pleading with the state government to secure their jobs in the Anambra Broadcasting Service, which the said Kenneth is already threatening with his connection to the said law maker. According to another member of the group and a reporter with the ABS, Mr Ndibe is also threatening their lives for demanding for their funds and accruing benefits, as the said Kenneth is now  bragging of plans to take their lives one after the other, through diabolical and physical means.  The media workers are pained in the heart that their attempt to heed the clarion call of the governor, even with their hard earned resources is being thwarted by a farmer who himself is benefitting from the same government in many ways. They called on Governor Willie Obiano to save them from the agony of losing all they laboured for, through sharp practices by their anchor man, adding that they hinged all hopes on the gains to cater for their families, as well as re invest next farming season.


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