Barely 11 months after the Abdulrashid Maina reinstatement scandal that created serious credibility crisis for the Muhammadu Buhari administration – and while no action has so far been taken against the top government officials that facilitated the fraudulent and embarrassing manner of the reinstatement – DESERT HERALD can authoritatively report that the son of Gen. Abdulrahman Bello Danbazau (rtd), Nigeria’s ‘powerful’ Minister of Interior, Nasiru Bello Danbazau, though not in government, as the powerful son of Nigeria’s Minister of Interior, is now enmeshed in employment fraud. He is said to be using one of the Agency’s under his father’s supervision, the Nigeria Immigration Service, to line his pocket.
It would be recalled that the Ministry of Interior under Mr. Danbazau was recently in public spotlight for the role his ministry played in the illegal reinstatement of Mr. Maina to the Federal Civil Service. While Mr. Maina has since been sacked on the orders of President Buhari, those that reportedly worked for his return including Mr. Danbazau are not only still in government but remain as powerful as ever. During the crisis, it was clear that although the Ministry of Interior insisted that the Head of Service of the Federation, HoF, Winifred Oyo-Ita, was part of the purported meeting that approved the fraudulent reinstatement of Maina and that she was in full knowledge of the whole process, that Danbazau’s ministry in deed played the major role in the deal that caused serious national and international embarrassment to the government. At the end of the ugly saga, it became clear as stated earlier by Mrs Winifred Oyo-Ita that she matter-of-factly had no hand in the signing of the letter for Maina’s controversial reinstatement and that the Ministry of Interior under Mr. Danbazau’s supervision had in fact acted wrongly and illegally in reinstating Maina.
That was why all efforts then by the Senate ad-hoc committee probing the scandal involving fugitive ex-Chairman of the Presidential Task Force on Pension Reforms, Abdulrasheed Maina, for Mr. Danbazau to appear before it was frustrated by one excuse or the other. Mr. Danbazau despite the pressure did not honour invitations from the two chambers of the National Assembly. And in a last minute desperation to cover Mr. Danbazau for the clear case of fraud his ministry facilitated which he is directly to blame, insiders believe that an arrangement was made with the Permanent Secretary of his ministry, Abubakar Magaji to shoulder the whole blame that exposed Danbazau’s culpability in the reinstatement saga since he Abubakar Magaji had nothing to do with the bizarre event.
It would also be recalled that Mr. Magaji had delivered a shocker to the Senate ad-hoc Committee when he appeared, instead of Danbazau. Mr. Magaji told the senators that his boss was unable to appear before the committee due to late communication of the change of date. He provided the cover for his principal when he told members of the committee that the minister, Abdulrahman Dambazau, played no role in the reinstatement of Mr. Maina into the ministry, more than four years after he was dismissed from the civil service.
According to the permanent secretary, the minister neither saw nor received any mail in the process of the controversial reinstatement. Magaji said he, and not the minister, was in the best position to answer questions on the issue as all correspondences were received in his office as if correspondences are solely being decided by the office of the Permanent Secretary without the input of the minister.
Magaji justified the ‘innocence’ of his boss and told the investigative hearing that the minister was not the official to be quizzed on the issue for which he was invited. He stated inter alia: “In a ministry, there are responsibilities. The minister is in charge of policy direction while the permanent secretary’s office is in charge of establishment matters, which we are discussing today; and all correspondences to the ministry were sent to the permanent secretary directly and not to the minister.
“The minister has not seen a single mail related to Maina in his office or directed any action other than the perm sec’s office. That’s why I feel I should be here to assist even though I wasn’t in the ministry when this thing happened.” If Mr. Magaji as he rightly stated that he is not in the ministry when the whole scandal happens many wondered why he brought himself then to the Senate which the sole aim as he told the senators is to provide flimsy excuses to cover his boss.
As weak as Magaji’s submission was, it succeeded in killing the matter for now and easing the tension on Danbazau, while the silence from Nigerians thereafter made the Federal Government to as usual relax on the issue as no one has so far been punished by the administration, despite verbal exchanges between Mrs Winifred Oyo-Ita and the Chief of Staff to the President, Mr. Abba Kyari that further exposed clear culpability by high profile government officials.
It is such cases of official impunity and abuse of office mostly by those claiming to love the president more than even his immediate family that usually go unpunished. This has in no small measure affected the credibility of the Buhari administration. Instances of high profile government officials that are abusing their offices or becoming lackadaisical in checking the excesses of their close associates and in some cases family members for dabbling in official affairs are many. One of such cases DESERT HERALD can reveal involves Nasiru Bello Danbazau, the son of the same interior minister, Danbazau that recently became enmeshed in Maina’s reinstatement saga.
Mr. Danbazau’s position as the interior minister and office is strategic, influential, powerful and ‘lucrative’. The Nigeria Police Force, Nigeria Immigration Service, Nigerian Prisons Service, Nigeria Security and Civil Defence as well as the Federal Fire Service are all under his office and supervision. In the Nigerian context, a minister of interior has so much influence and say in what happens in any of these government critical institutions. That is why the name of Mr. Danbazau’s son, Nasiru, featured prominently during the recent recruitment of the Nigeria Immigration Service and the ongoing recruitment exercise of the Nigeria Prisons Service. In fact, in his determination to create jobs to teeming unemployed youths particularly to the children of the poor, President Buhari had given approvals to several government Agencies and institutions including the Nigeria Immigration Service, Nigeria Prisons Service, Federal Fire Service etc to recruit workers.
Documents at the disposal of DESERT HERALD as well as audio interviews with some victims of the Immigration employment fraud in which they accused Nasiru Danbazau of defrauding them, is a clear testimony of how relatives or family members of some government appointees dabble not only into official matters but manipulate such offices for their selfish aggrandizement. In one of the documents dated 11th May, 2018, Nasiru Danbazau according to two of his victims, Mustapha Hassan and Sani Sammani, agreed to secure a job for them at the Nigeria Immigration Service with the condition that they will pay him N900,000.00. In the said agreement, the sum of N600,000.00 was given to Nasiru by the two desperate applicants with a commitment in writing and signed by Nasiru, Mustapha and Sani that the remaining balance of N300,000.00 will be fully paid immediately the job is secured. And in the event Nasiru failed or could not secure the job for them for whatever reason, the signed agreement stipulates that Nasiru will refund all the money he collected from them. The victims have also provided DESERT HERALD with evidence of the N600,000.00 electronic transfer payment they made directly to Nasiru’s Zeneth Bank account. Details of the transaction indicates that “You have successfully transferred NGN600,000.00 to Nasir-Al-Din Abdulrahman Bello”.
Another bank document detailing payment of N500,000.00 dated 19th April, 2018 from one Haruna Aliyu through his Guaranty Trust Bank account to the Stanbic IBTC Bank account of one Maawiya Yahaya Abdulkadir who the victim said is a close friend and confidant of Nasiru Danbazau and that he has collected several payments for the same purpose of facilitating recruitment into the Nigeria Immigration Service, Nigeria Prisons Service on behalf of Danbazau junior and the same agreement was made available to this paper by the victim. Also, two separate payments of N350,000.00 and N150,000.00 respectively in a duly stamped and signed Stanbic Bank payment teller by another victim of the employment fraud, one Saifullahi Hashim Abubakar, was paid by the victim through the same account of Nasiru Danbazau’s friend, Maawiya Yahaya Abdulkadir for the same purpose.
DESERT HERALD can also confirm through the verified documents at our disposal that another sum of N500,000.00 was transferred by another victim, Salisu Abdullahi, to the Stanbic Bank account of Nasiru Danbazau’s bosom friend, Maawiya Yahaya for the same purpose. This paper can also reveal that some of the payments that were directly effected into the account of Nasiru Danbazau including the N600,000.00 paid by Mustapha Hassan and Sani Sammani were paid to his Zeneth Bank account No. 1003163833.
All the victims claimed that they were indeed defrauded by Nasiru Danbazau and his agents, pointing out that all the monies they paid were for the purpose of securing jobs for them at the Nigeria Immigration Service as contained in the initial signed agreement they undertook with Nasiru Danbazau. But Nasiru has failed to fulfill his promise after the recent Immigration recruitment exercise. The victims disclosed that all attempts by them to pacify Nasiru to refund their money in line with their initial agreement have been rebuffed by Danbazau junior. The victims expressed sadness that when they asked for the refund, Nasiru started threatening them that he will use the police to arrest them.
It was because of that reason, according to them, that six of them decided to formally report the matter to the Police at Zone 2, Kano. They told DESERT HERALD that even though they are aware that the Police Force as an institution is also under Nasiru Danbazau’s, father: “We are prepared to use all legitimate means to force Nasiru and two others to refund our money”. They expressed their frustrations over the way and manner the Police is handling the matter.
In a letter of complaint of criminal conspiracy, breach of trust and cheating to the police against Nasiru Danbazau, Maawiya Yahaya and one Hafisu Sarki, the victims stated that the six of them gave the total sum of N2,600,000.00 to the accused persons with a promise to secure jobs for them at the Federal Fire Service and at the Nigeria Immigration Service, all under the Federal Ministry of Interior within three to four weeks. They said all efforts to either get the employment offer or the refund of the money from the principal suspect, Nasiru Danbazau, have proved abortive. They said they became comfortable and paid Nasiru’s demand (N2,600,000.00) having known that he is the son of the interior minister and with a promised to used his ‘influence’ to secure the jobs for them. They urged the Assistant Inspector General of Police, Zone One Headquarters, B.U.K road, Kano to expedite investigation and action. They lamented that no action has so far been taken by the police. The complaint was signed by Haruna Aliyu, Hashimu Abubakar Saifullahi, Mustapha Hassan, Nuradeen Muhammed Shitu, Sani Sammani Sani and Salisu Abdullahi.
DESERT HERALD also gathered that all in an effort to get justice from a young man whose father is in-charge of the Police, Immigration, Fire Service etc and after they were severally frustrated by the police, the six victims that organised themselves decided to take the matter to the National Human Rights Commission in Abuja where the Commission is attending to the matter now. When our reporter asked one of the victims whether they have contacted Gen. Danbazau on the issue for possible refund or if he is aware about what Nasiru is doing, one of them declared: “His father is very much aware of the case. We believe the father is encouraging Nasiru to misbehave otherwise he wouldn’t have collected the money from us. If his father had wanted he would have paid us our money long before now, but they are highly insensitive. This is a father that usually goes for official functions including outside the country with Nasiru. He is indirectly encouraging Nasiru and by extension giving him cover to defraud people. This is a son of a former chief of army staff and a current minister. You can imagine what he will do with a meagre N2.6m from poor people that are struggling for survival. It’s unfortunate that while President Buhari is working hard to sanitize the system those that are very close to him are creating one form of scandal or the other for him. We will pursue this case till the end insha Allah”.
Attempts by this paper to speak to Mr. Danbazau on the issue for his response was not successful, as his GSM line is permanently busy each time a call was placed. Also, when this reporter called his son, Nasiru and requested his response on his story he cut the line when the subject matter was narrated to him and subsequently blocked calls to his GSM line.