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How Embattled Former NIRSAL Boss, Abdulhameed Was Arrested Over N5.6bn Wheat Project Scam

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NIRSAL
Embattled former NIRSAL boss, Mr. Aliyu Abdulhameed

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Details have emerged how Mr. Aliyu Abdulhameed, a former Managing Director of the Nigeria Incentive-Based Risk Sharing System for Agricultural Lending (NIRSAL), was arrested almost a year after his sack over alleged wheat project scam.

NIRSAL is a $500m non-bank financial institution, which was created by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).

It was created to manage agribusiness-related credit risks in Nigeria.

Recall that Abdulhameed was relieved of his duties following allegations of corruption, including a 2018 N5.6 billion wheat project meant for farmers in Kano and Jigawa States.

The Board of the CBN endorsed his sack, following approval from the Presidency in December last year.

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Investigation was carried out January last year on how a multi-billion-naira loan guaranteed by NIRSAL for three investor companies for the cultivation of 20,000 hectares of dry season wheat in Kano and Jigawa States was allegedly diverted by the companies in connivance with NIRSAL officials.

In the course of the investigation, the platform revealed that it visited the affected communities in the two states where farmers said they were deceived.

Community leaders there said they were told the project was aimed at changing the lives of 20,000 smallholder farmers.

They said after making farms available, affected farmers were promised fertiliser and other inputs for the wheat plantation, but never saw any of these thereafter.

Both Abdulhameed and the three investor companies had denied wrongdoing.

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However, when the Special Investigator appointed by President Bola Tinubu and his support team to probe the activities of the apex bank and related entities swung into action in September this year, there was panic and apprehension within the top hierarchy of the CBN and the NIRSAL.

The Special Investigator, Jim Obazee and his team, led by DCP Eloho, were said to have beamed searchlight on the NIRSAL and the CBN’s Anchor Borrowers’ Programme which have, over the years, been at the centre of investigations.

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