Governor AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq of Kwara State has ordered the suspension of the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development and two others for allegedly extorting farmers through sale of unauthorised registration forms.
Chief Press Secretary to the Governor, Rafiu Ajakaye said this in a statement on Wednesday in Ilorin.
He said the government at no time approved the sale of any forms to register farmers and found it strange that some officials would ever do such a thing to poor farmers.
“In the light of the development, we wish to state the following:
“That neither the Governor nor the Honourable Commissioner for Agriculture and Rural Development at any time approved the sale of forms to anyone, including farmers, in the guise of whatever scheme or census for farmers.
“That preliminary in-house findings have been made and they suggested clear wrongdoings.
“That the Head of Service has accordingly been directed to suspend all the affected officials, including the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry.
“This is to send the signal that such misconduct will not be condoned by the Governor,” the statement added.
It called on the Economic and Financial Crime Commission, EFCC, to immediately step in to investigate and prosecute anyone found guilty of ripping off the farmers.
The statement added that the administration would never tolerate such behaviour under whatever guise.
“Government will ensure the refund of the money of the victim-farmers who would be requested to bring forward the said forms that they purchased to claim their refund.
“The government sincerely regrets this embarrassing behaviour of the affected officials and apologizes to the affected farmers,” the statement added.