The Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development is yet to pay the entitlements of over 700,000 youths engaged for a nationwide farmer/farm enumeration exercise under the National Agriculture Assets Survey, DAILY NIGERIAN learnt.
The survey, tagged Agriculture for Food and Jobs Plan, AFJP, was initially a 10-day exercise intended to gather data of farmers and their farmlands across the 36 states of the federation, including the Federal Capital Territory, FCT.
The exercise, which began in June, was extended to July to be able cover more grounds.
According to the engagement letter signed by the Programme Manager, AFJP Farmer Enumeration Exercise, Diekola Alabi, and obtained by this newspaper on Thursday, a sum of N500 was to be paid to the enumerators for each VALIDATED farmer/farm captured.
The amount would be paid in two tranches, “N250 for each submitted farmer/farm data at the end of every week and a balance of N250 in 30 days after validating the authenticity of the information submitted,” the engagement letter stated.
“The Farmer must be a real farmer as well as his/her farm where you registered him/her completing all the details in the ODK collection app.
“The personal information about the farmer/farm must not be forged (if we discover the data is forged, it will be disqualified, and payment will not be made for it),” further stipulated the letter.
On the condition for payment, the letter the data to be captured comprise of the ‘farmer’ details and the ‘farm’ as detailed in the ODK collection app.
“Please submit only genuine data as this determines your final payment. The Farmer must be a real farmer as well as his/her farm where you registered him/he.
“The personal information about the farmer/farm must not be forged (if we discover the data is forged, it will be disqualified, and payment will not be made for it),” the letter added.
However, DAILY NIGERIAN gathered that three months after the completion of the exercise, the enumerators are yet to receive a dime from the ministry, even after promising to be paying them on a weekly basis.
Narrating his ordeal to our correspondent on Friday, one of the enrolled enumerators, who pleaded anonymity, lamented that during the exercise, he had to use his personal money to transport himself to his assigned locations, feed himself and buy internet data to transmit the data captured in the field.
He said: “The Agric ministry sent us an engagement letter containing the terms and conditions of the programme which among many other things promised to pay each Enumerator N 5,00 per survey in two trenches, 250 by the total number of Farmers captured by the end of every week, and 250 for every valid survey after confirming the authenticity of the data the Enumerators sent.
“Moreover, those Enumerators where directed to start their work immediately and we were also warned not to collect a single penny from anybody. But unfortunately, today being 18th September 2020 such Enumerators were not paid.”
According to him, along the way, the enumerators come across many obstacles, unpleasant incidences of being robbed, bitten by snakes and other poisonous animals, raped and beaten by the rain.
“A report reaching us from an unverifiable source had it that one of such Enumerators has killed by the members of Boko Haram on his way to his place of assignment.
“Several promises have been made as regards to the payment of the remuneration of those enumerators but unfortunately until today, almost 4 months ago, nothing changed,” the source lamented.
But when DAILY NIGERIAN contacted the ministry, a frontline officer, Nick Akinbote, told our correspondent that the payments were being processed, promising that the enumerators would get paid in a matter of days, “as soon as funds are released to the ministry”.