Allegations of mismanagement and misapplication of public funds have been levelled against the Niger State Governor, Dr. Mu’azu Babangida Aliyu. He has been accused of illegally approving hundreds of millions of naira for himself and other top government officials. Our Kaduna Bureau Chief, Musa Alhaji Muhammad who uncovered documents indicting the governor reports
Allegations of alleged embezzlement and misapplication of funds running into hundreds of millions of Naira has been levelled against Dr. Mu’azu Babangida Aliyu. Documents made available to Desert Herald Newspaper show that the Chief Servant used his position as the governor of the state to enrich himself and his cronies through the secretary to the state government Dr Yahaya Muhammed.
Most of the alleged embezzlements which took place in 2002 shows that the governor approved the sum of over thirty one million Naira for his turbaning and his wife by the Ewi of Ado Ekiti on August 7, 2010 as the Otunba Akinjagunla and his wife, Yeye Akinjagunla of Ekiti land. The amount was released to the committee set up for that purpose under the chairmanship of the Commissioner for Local Government, Community Development and Chieftaincy Affairs. The memo which was forwarded by the Secretary to the State Government on July 21, 2010 stated in part: “The Chief Servant is requested to approve the sum of N31, 528,000.00 to be funded by state and Local Governments in the ratio of 50:50, please”. The memo was expressly approved a day after on 22nd July, 2010.
Another allegation levelled against the governor has to do with his using state funds to pay his lawyers on the election petition cases involving him and one David Umaru & others at the Election Petition Tribunal before Court of Appeal, Abuja No.CA/A/EP/232/08. The other case was appeal Number CA/K/78/08 involving the Governor and one Alhaji Jibrin Bala Alhassan Guna and two others. Both cases were perceived as cases involving the person of the governor. The letter which emanated from the Niger State Attorney-General and Commissioner for Justice, Adamu Usman Esq. specifically stated: “Your approval of 6th October, 2008 of N80million leaving a balance of N70million to be paid. The Counsel has been demanding for the payment of their fees for the past 2 months. However, considering the state of finance of the Government, I wish to recommend for payment of 50% of N70 million now to the counsel amounting to N35million, while the balance of N35million be paid after the final judgment of Court of Appeal, Kaduna. The amount was approved by the Governor on 23rd February, 2000. The total amount officially expended on the appeal cases amounted to one hundred and fifty million naira (N150, 000,000.00)
Another startling revelation was the N82million cheque paid to the governor for a lecture he delivered at Ibadan. The Zenith Bank cheque bearing Niger State Augmentation Account was paid on 5th February, 2000. Here the question arises as to who was supposed to foot the bill, was it the beneficiary or the people of Niger State who indirectly imparted the knowledge to the people of Ibadan or who? He was alleged to have used high handedness for the approval of a medical trip abroad for the state’s Chief Judge and his wife which never took place. The letter whose subject was Medical Treatment for the state Chief Judge, honourable Justice Jibrin Ndajiwo, OFR, was written to the Governor by the Secretary to the State Government, Dr. Muhammed K. Yahaya on August 13, 2010 and approved by the governor a day after, on 14 August, 2010. The letter reads in part: “His Lordship, the Chief Judge of Niger State, Justice Jibrin Ndajiwo, OFR has been given appointment for a comprehensive medical treatment at the Fairfield Independent Hospital, Merseyside, United Kingdom. His lordship will be accompanied on this trip by his wife, Hajiya Asta H. Ndajiwo as aide and who shall also undergo full medical check up at the same hospital. His Lordship is requesting for funds for the medical bills, travels and sundry expenses for himself and his wife totaling N23,269,890.00 (twenty three million, two hundred and sixty nine million, eight hundred and ninety thousand naira only). The trip not to be undertaken and no refund was made.
Furthermore some forms of bribe were said to have been given to members of the State Assembly vide a letter written by the Secretary to the State Government. The subject was the 56th CPA Conference in Nairobi, Kenya. In the letter, the SSG wrote, “The Niger State House of Assembly has received invitations to the 56th CPA International and CPA Africa Regional Conferences holding in Nairobi, Kenya September 10-19, 2010 respectively. The House has submitted a bill of over N49, 000,000.00 for the two trips. After a careful scrutiny, however, it is recommended that the sum of N42, 000,000.00 be approved to cover expenses for the two conferences”. The letter which was written on June 14, 2010 was approved by the governor on 5th July, 2010. The conference was also said not to have been held.
The questions to ask here are that since the conferences did not hold did the state assembly refund the money they collected? Or did the state Government ask them to refund the money? Does the state assembly always beg for monies to undertake their activities? Don’t they have their own budget; or where is the autonomy of the assembly?
When these documents were received by Desert Herald, a letter was sent to the Secretary to the State Government, seeking for the state government’s response on the allegations which were mostly written by the SSG. The letter sought to know among other questions: Why state funds totalling over N31 million were expended on a personal turbaning of the executive governor and his wife; while the sum of N23million tax payers’ money was approved and given to the Chief Judge of Niger state, Justice Jibrin Ndajiwo, for a supposed medical trip abroad and neither him nor his wife slated to undergo the medical checkups made such trip. Is it the state government that is by law obliged to bankroll such trip by a Chief Judge of a state or was it a bribe sought and bribe given?;
That state’s resources of about N150million (as per attached document) was approved as the “Professional Fees” of lawyers handling the Election Petition Appeal of Dr. Mu’azu Babangida Aliyu instead of the governor to personally pay for such services; That the said conference in Nairobi, Kenya did not hold and that the Niger State Government with the express approval of the Governor, released the sum of N82.7million to the government House to sponsor the three hour lecture the governor delivered in Ibadan.
The letter which was mailed through one of the fastest courier service companies gave the SSG a grace of up to one week but months after the letter was written not even our series of phone calls to the Commissioner for Information, Alhaji Danladi Umar Abdulhameed revealed anything. So the question remains: Who owns the resources of Niger state, Governor Aliyu or the indigenes of the state?