Thugs, alleged to be loyalists of the Senate President, Bukola Saraki, on Friday disrupted the TraderMoni scheme in Ilorin, Kwara State.
The thugs invaded the Mandate market and Ipata market in Ilorin and chased away petty traders and TraderMoni agents from the markets, thereby, disturbing them from disbursing money to beneficiaries of the TraderMoni scheme.
Speaking with News Agency of Nigeria, NAN, eyewitnesses disclosed that as early as 9am, a small mob, donning Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, Atikulated T-shirts stormed the market, led by Alhaja Gazali.
According to NAN, the witnesses included officials of Bank of Industry (BOI) who were at the market to supervise the enumeration and disbursement of the N10,000 collateral-free loans.
The arrival of the mob, however, caused an uproar in the Mandate market in Ilorin as many of the petty traders who were yet to receive their loans were annoyed that the thugs disrupted the process.
This led to chaos which forced the TraderMoni agents to escape as they were chased away by the thugs who were threatening, intimidating and harassing them and the petty traders who had lined up to participate in the process.
Officials of BOI also explained that enumeration had been ongoing in two markets in Kwara State in the last few days and the Vice President was expected in the markets Friday.
The witness stated that the thugs were boasting that neither the Federal Government nor Osinbajo can’t operate the TraderMoni scheme in a market that “belongs” to the Senate President.
NAN reports that at the Ipata market, where enumeration and disbursement of the TraderMoni loans were also ongoing, market leaders claimed they received a call at about noon from similar quarters asking them not to cooperate with the enumerators of the TraderMoni scheme.
Despite the call, the market leaders in Ipata insisted and the process of enumeration and disbursement in Ipata market reportedly proceeded without any incident.
TraderMoni, which is part of the Federal Government’s Social Investment Programme (N-SIP) under GEEP, is designed to assist petty traders across the country expand their trade through the provision of collateral and interest-free loans from N10,000.
The loans are repayable over a period of six months at which point the traders on repayment will receive a fresh N15,000 loan, which rises to N20,000 when repaid.
The microcredit scheme, which has since been formally launched nationwide and the FCT, is expected to reach 2 million petty traders by the end of the year.