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18.10.2021 Feature Launched by Gov. Fayemi, Lt.-Commander Azeez Oluwole’s FarmKonnect Fails to Pay Investors

Published 18th Oct, 2021

By Mariam Hamzat

Months after the given maturity date, FarmKonnect, a snail firm in the N5 billion Egbeja Snail Village located in Okemesi, Ekiti State, and launched by Governor Kayode Fayemi, is yet to pay investors their returns.

Azeez Oluwole, a lieutenant-commander and founder of FarmKonnect, had said the farm would cover 100,000 square metres of land, making it “the big investment that could generate employment and create wealth”.

“The project could make a profit of N6b yearly with about 82 tons of exportable slime, besides generating thousands of jobs for skilled and unskilled youth,” he added.

The Egbeja Snail Village was touted as one that would employ thousand members of the Okemesi community, pay decent wages and stimulate the local economy in the community. Capacity guiding for core team members was said to be scheduled for February in Italy and Cyprus, with snail slime to be extracted for pure export.

FAYEMI’S GLOWING PRAISE

During the inauguration, Governor Fayemi expressed pleasure to have inaugurated “FarmKonnect Nigeria’s multipurpose snails’ snail village – producing 2 million snails and exporting slime”.

He also said his administration was “poised to commission many more agribusinesses this year in its continued strive to make agriculture the nerve-centre of his industrial agenda”.

“This project is the first of its kind in Ekiti,” Fayemi enthused.

“It will stock 2.6 million snails for the production of snails and slime for export into the international market. It will provide easy market and foreign exchange earnings, as well as generate employment opportunities for our youth.

“Production of snail and slime in exportable quantities will put Ekiti on the world map. When completed, it will generate no fewer than 5,000 jobs for our youths, while also supporting our vision for youth empowerment and technology transfer.

“Noteworthy to see the commitment of N5 billion to produce the elite specie and African giant on over 5 hectares of land with opportunities to export the elite specie and extracted slime. Jumpstarting the Ekiti State’s place to the front as a snail and slime exporter in Africa.”

‘NO REASON TO QUESTION THE GENUINENESS’

Azeez Oluwole

Femi Ojutiku, one of the investors, told FIJ that when he was introduced to FarmKonnect’s various agricultural investment schemes, he had no reason to question the genuineness of the business as they had a physical office and seemed to be prominent.

“They also have various farm projects ranging from onion and poultry to tomato, which allow investors to buy slots and receive returns later,” he said.

READ ALSO: Freed by a Court, ‘Tush Farmer’ Comfort Ogunlade Disappears With 300 Investors’ N400m

After due engagement and questioning, Femi subscribed to the tomato cluster the snail production packages.

“Each of the tomato cluster packages cost N250,000 while that of snail production cost N800,000. I subscribed to two of the tomato plan and one of the snail production plan, while my brother bought four tomato clusters,” Femi said.

Agreements signed by both parties indicated that the snail production plan would run for 10 years with returns at specific intervals, while the tomato plan would go on for only nine months.

READ ALSO: FIJ Launches Directory of Nigeria’s Biggest Investment Scammers

In the agreement, FarmKonnect guaranteed investors in the snail plan an “ROI of Four Hundred and Twenty Thousand Naira (N420, 000.00) per Mini-pack per cycle of production of 12 months and then an entitlement to 2.8% of the initial capital quarterly for ten years”. This means a total profit of N 5,006,400 from the second to the tenth year.

For the tomato plan, investors were guaranteed 60 percent profit for each slot. Therefore, Femi, who invested in two slots in November 2020, expected a profit of N300,000 in August 2021, as specified in the agreement. However, till date, he’s yet to receive his capital or his returns on investment.

SNAIL PRODUCTION PACKAGE

Yusuf Akeem, another investor in the FarmKonnect project saw the company’s projects as an avenue to save for himself and his kids. He decided to buy two different packages of the snail production project. He bought one for 1.6 million, and another for N800,000, then an onion investment package for N1 million.

“This is part of the reason Nigeria will fail to grow or develop. The snail package of N1.6 million and N850,000 packages have already been due for ROI since August 18, 2021, but two weeks before the said date, they sent an email that they had some issues on the farm and would delay payment for 60 days,” Akeed explained.

Trouble started earlier in the year when FarmKonnect sent an email that they would no longer accept new investors. Afterwards, they sent a series of emails informing investors that there had been some challenges and payments would be delayed.

Femi told FIJ that he had made numerous visits to the company’s office to ask for a refund, all to no avail.

When contacted, a representative of FarmKonnect, who simply herself identified as Tobi, told FIJ that the business experienced downtime recently, but efforts were being made to pay investors their capital and returns.

“We have given out plans on how we will make payments, and we have started making payments for some of the packages,” she said. “By November/December, we should be able to pay the others.”

Published 18th Oct, 2021

By Mariam Hamzat

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