According to a report by SaharaReporters, the beneficiaries of the Agriculture for Food and Job Plan (AFJP) under the supervision of the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development have cried out that they are being owed three months’ stipends.
The agricultural scheme was inaugurated by the Minister of Agriculture, Sabo Nanono-led ministry and the Project for Agricultural Co-ordination and Executive (PACE).
It is aimed at boosting locally grown food supply and creating employment opportunities in the agriculture sector.
According to the scheme, the enumerators are tasked with capturing farmers’ information and paid N500 for the valid capturing of each farmer.
Nanono told journalists at a press briefing in Abuja last year that the AFJP scheme would be a joint venture involving the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, Central Bank of Nigeria, private sector operators and farmers.
“This programme will be achieved through investment in the sector by way of providing zero interest input financing options such as fertilisers and seeds to farmers across the 36 states and the Federal Capital Territory to produce harvests that could be sold domestically and internationally,” he stated.
According to the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Agriculture, Dr. Andrew Kwasari, who spoke when the programme was kicked off, the ministry will also train them but nothing of sort has been done.
According to a source who spoke to SaharaReporters on Monday, some people who were disengaged from the N-Power scheme of the Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development from batches A and B of 2016 and 2017 respectively also joined AFJP, thereby having double financial calamity of non-payment of stipends by the Nigerian government.
The source, who spoke on the condition of anonymity said, “For more than three months now, enumerators are yet to receive their stipends. And also remaining fifty per cent of the stipends from the inception of the programming are yet to be paid.
“Enumerators had tried their best to get their voice to the necessary authority but nothing has been recorded as the outcome of their hard labour.
“They also promised to train and certify the enumerators after the enumeration exercise. Enumerators are still expecting the fulfilment of this promise.”
One of the aggrieved enumerators, Benedict Ejeh Anyebe posted on the AFJP’s Facebook page, “Stop tormenting the innocent citizens who have chosen to serve their country in all diligence. We served the country as a youth corps (member), we served as N-Power beneficiaries for 2 to 4 years respectively. We have served for over a year in this enumeration process. What have we really done to deserve all of these?”
Another victim of the scheme, Gambo Lawal said, “By the special grace of God, what your children will face in future shall be worse than the situation that you people inflicted on us (enumerators). (As we are) working for a year without salary and you’re thinking this country will be in order. Insha Allah, you will surely obtain the results for your action soon.”
In his own reaction, Onah Ikwe commented, “Reminder!!! You’re yet to pay enumerators for the work done and grants to farmers. Don’t forget to do so. Thanks.”