Farmers Allege Displacement By Lower Niger Basin Authority

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A farmers’ group has alleged that authorities of the Lower Niger River Basin Authority has displaced over 1, 500 of its members at Ejiba in Kogi State from their farmland without any prior notice.

Tunde Arosanyin, the leader of the group while addressing newsmen in Ilorin recently, disclosed that crops valued at N50 million were destroyed by the authority during the process.

The crops allegedly destroyed, he said were cashew, cassava, maize and rice among others.

According to Arosanyin, most of the farms destroyed by the Lower Niger River Basin Authority were sponsored through loans from FADAMA III addition finance, adding that he personally lost about 32 hectares he cleared for farming.

He noted that all efforts to get the management of the river basin authority to address the problem in the last one year had proven abortive.

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He pointed out that if the matter was not urgently addressed, it could lead to crisis, loss of job and food insecurity.

Reacting to the allegation of the farmers, Jimoh Mahmud, deputy director, Agric Services of the Lower Niger River Basin Authority described the group as land invaders who were not known to the authority.

Mahmud stated that the land had been acquired by the authority between 1977 and 1978 and the customary land owners compensated.

“We have land in Ejiba and it has been acquired since 1977/1978 and they were fully compensated then when land was taken from the community.

“We have had the land for a long time and recently the Kogi state government approached us and we lease around 2, 000 hectares to them for their rice farming”, he said.

He refuted the claim of the farmers that their crops were destroyed; saying nothing of such happened and foreclosed any consideration for compensation.