Zamfara 87 Villages Electrification Project: How N8.2b was diverted into private pockets

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BY Ifeanyichukwu Nwannah

The Zamfara State Youth Forum has raised alarm over N8.2 billion fraud which was withdrawn from the state treasury and deposited into the account of the state directorate for rural electrification for the electrification of 87 towns and villages in the state at the cost of N8.2 billion which the forum said the contract was awarded to Alhaji Abba Aliero but was never executed since 2012 pointing out that the money could not be traced in the account of the Directorate.

Speaking to newsmen through the chairman of the forum, comrade Abba Muh’d Gusau, the contract was enshrined into the 2012 budget which was presented to the State House of Assembly by Governor Abdulaziz Yari and passed into law by the House According to the details of the contract, 48 towns and villages were to be connected to the National grid while the remaining 39 villages were to be upgraded with extension and high tension lines, the chairman said.

Dismayed that the State is not governed with honesty and integrity, pointing at the scope of economic dangers and it potential threat to the economic development of the State, the group said that the actors owe Zamfara people explanations to the key issues which had led the State to the present economic woes. Continuing the group lamented that looting of public funds has brought the economic crisis facing the state that must be checkmated by patriotic Zamfara people before it becomes too late.

“The State government cannot provide any justification why the project could not be executed given the facts that the money had been released from the State treasury in the name of the project. We are therefore calling for the investigation of the money and other missing billions in that order and the mismanagement of the State resources under Governor Yari. We are saddled with the reality that N8.2 billion was siphoned which was meant for electrification of 87 towns and villages even when people lack the basic necessities of life. Health care is in shambles, education sector is in a pathetic situation yet billions are going into private purses No. accountability but financial recklessness in the management of the State resources. Governor Abdulaziz Yari has remained silent on the atrocities committed in the State by his government” the group noted.

The forum stated that it is unfortunate that even when the world is turning to a global village, Zamfara State under Yari cannot up lift the standard of living of the people who voted him into office, rather the people remain in the years of Dark Age. This is because the money is being laundered and the people are being duped of their national cake, claiming that they are awarding contracts for the benefits of the people whereby they are looting funds, the group stressed.

According to the group, there are a lot of questions arising from the economic mismanagement than answers by the present administration. They are wondering how Zamfara resources is being blown to private purses. It also recalled that in 2012, Governor Abdulaziz Yari set up what he called rationalization committee to sanitize the State civil Service which he appointed Alhaji Ahmed Zabrama as the chairman. The group noted that about 14,000 workers were laid off by the committee which it said the report was presented to governor Yari.

The forum said that the state government supposed to be saving N196 million every month which it said the committee revealed that the N196 million does not enter into State Government account saying that the money is being looted every month. The group described the Governor Yari’s administration as a government of waste. According to the group, this action runs contrary to the call by the president Buhari’s war against corruption.

Speaking further, the group said that the missing N8.2 billion is a demonstration of immorality in government challenging the independent corrupt practices and other Related offences commission and the Economic and Financial crime commission (EFCC) to investigate the missing billions which the group described as direct stealing of public funds.

“We are calling on the anti-graft commissions to swing into action and bring the perpetrators to book and prosecute financial crimes committed against the law” the group lamented.

When contacted, some top officials of the state ministry of works declined comment on the issue, saying that the contract was not awarded through the ministry but directed our reporter to the state director of rural electrification. The directorate confirmed the award of the contract to Alhaji Abba Aleiro, they younger brother to former Governor of Kebbi state, senator Adamu Alerio, but declined to give further information regarding the missing billions.

Intensive investigations by this medium revealed that the contract was awarded directly from the governor’s office through the directorate which the source revealed that the whole N 8.2 billion was with dawn from the state treasury and lodged into the account of the directorate but was looted with impunity without using it for the purpose for which it was meant for.

A sources that does not want his name in print said that the whole money was withdrawn from the account of the directorate by the orders of the governor, saying that Abba Aleiro was given a mobilization of N3.8 billion there after all the money disappeared from the account.

The source further said that the contractor brought few electric poles without transformers, high tension wire etc.

All efforts to get in touch with the secretary to the state government (SSG) Professor Abdulahi Shinkafi proved abortive again; newsmen made efforts to make the contractor speak or take them to the sites but that also could not produce any result. The conclusion of the issue is that both the government and the contractor are not willing to talk on the issue.

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