Some members of Borno chapter of Rice Farmers Association in Nigeria (RIFAN), have urged for urgent government intervention in the leadership crisis rocking the state chapter.
The members who spoke to newsmen in Maiduguri said an adviser to the state governor that was once a national official of RIFAN, created crisis in the union, leading to the appointment of a non-member, Alhaji Goni Modu, as Acting Chairman.
Spokesman of the farmers, also the Chairman of RIFAN in Jere Local Government, Garba Mohammed Zabarmari, said the acting chairman was a non-member imposed on them and that he has started distributing farm inputs supplied to the state for dry season rice production to non- members.
“We have our elected state Chairman who conducted the registration of members through forms sold at the cost of N500 for this season farming, but what we are witnessing today is someone we do not know as a farmer, presiding as chairman.
“He has opened an office and is collecting N27,500 from people who are mostly not farmers to give them inputs meant for real farmers.
“The inputs comprising fertilizer, water pumps, sprayer and seeds are being collected and sold by some of those fake farmers,” Mohammed said.
Mohammed noted that the area he represented (Jere) is known as the leading producer of rice in Borno.
“Jere have places like Zabarmari and Dushman known as the leading producers of rice in Borno but as I talk to you now, no genuine farmer from the area received inputs.
“A total of 3,200 rice farmers from Zabarmari bought their forms through me which I obtained from our elected state Chairman, Alhaji Bulama Maina.
“As of today, we don’t know out faith and nobody told us Bulama is removed and for what reason.
“Government need to intervene before this laudable programme of Federal Government endorsed by the state government run into serious hitch in Borno,” Mohammed said.
When contacted, the embattled state Chairman of RIFAN, Alhaji Bulama Maina, said all he knew was that some people manipulated by an Adviser to Gov. Zulum wrote petition against him and he had replied to the petition.
“I was still waiting for response to my reply from Abuja, only to hear that some people have opened a parallel office with Acting Chairman and collected inputs for the state which they are now sharing.
“All I know is that I am the elected chairman and will soon go to court to challenge those trying to remove me without following due process,” Maina said.
In his response, the acting Chairman, Alhaji Goni Modu, said he has no time to exchange words with anybody.
“I have my letter from Abuja and the North East chairman of our union is aware of that.
“I was the one that shared the inputs last year and is currently doing the recovery,” Modu said.