Like Fuji House of Commotion, Amaka Igwe’s epic on national television, the house of the ruling Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, seems in irreversible disarray. But the trouble this time, has nothing to do with thevisit of the rebel group to the NationalAssembly, penultimate week, it is the embattled governor of Niger state,Aliyu Mu’azu ,therabblerousing,political gadfly of Niger state.
It is the rolling stone that may consume one of the pillars of the G-7 rebel governors, AliyuBabangida, if President GoodluckJonathan, refused to yield to one of their demands, that the Economic and Financial CrimesCommissions, EFCC should not investigatethe sordid mess and cesspool of corruptions in their respective states.
Coming in the dying days of his governorship,obviouslyAliyu Mu’azu did not wish, after he might have left office, to carry the cross that is now his lot. In fact , if he ever wished anythingafter his tour of Government House, Minna, it is to move to the NationalAssembly, as a senator.
But all these are now in the past and no longer features as parts of Aliyu’s worries.
Though, Mu’azu, allegedly worked hard to cover his tracks, by commissioning of nonexistent projects, like theZuma RockResort centre and the Minna Five- Star Hotels, he did not, however, envisage that onlya few months to the end of his tenure , he would be at the centre of high wire sleaze scandal, that is currently rocking the state.
Indeed, ina document entitled HR.NO.10 2008/2009-Resolution Granting Approval to the Executive Governor Of Niger state, Dr. Mu’azu Babangida Aliyu,OON, To Enable him obtain N=6billion bond facilities in favourofNiger state Government” Dated Tuesday,11 Day of November, 2008. Signed by Pharm.MM Alkali., HonourableSpeaker andMohammedA. Rijau, Permanent Secretary/ Clerk,partly stated Thus; “Whereas: The Government of Niger State is committed to the provision of infrastructural development for the purposeof enhancing thewelfare and well being of our people, the state Government after due consideration and consultations with the stakeholders and indeed purposeful deliberations by the state Executive Council came into conclusion that the available source is to seek for loan facility from the capitalmarket through a bond; after the conclusion therefore, the state Government in partnership with Zenith Bank PLC arranged to obtain a loan facilitity of N=6billion from the capital market”It stated.
As strange as the N-6billion bond from the Zenith Bank, was not tied to any projects in the state the speed with which the Niger state gave the approval, has raised more hypothetical questions, than answer as what thebond was meant for and how it will be monitored. Said our source.
On December, 12 2008, the Niger state Ministry of Finance, wrote to the Minister of Finance informing the Ministry of the deductions from the monthly Federal allocations to the state.
In the letter entitled “Irrevocable Standing order, for deduction from the Account of Niger state Government in respect of N=6billion infrastructural Development Projects Bond” signed by Aminu Yusuf, Commissioner for finance, Abubakar Tukur, Accountant General, Engr. Sani Ndanusa, commissioner for Transport and infrastructure and Mu’azuBabangida Aliyu, the state Government instructed the Federal Ministry, to make a monthly deduction ofN=142,377,502.73. With commencement date of January, 2009, with tenor of 60 months.
The letter further directed thus “The Niger state Governmenthereby gives to the Federal Ministry of Finance an irrevocablestanding payment Order (ISPO) to deduct from the state statutory Allocation the principal sum and interest (COUPON) as per the attached scheduled and pay same to the Account of Zenith Trust Company Ltd/ Niger state infrasture Development Bond Account No. 6013808602.
While to the ordinary observers, obtaining loans and Bond facility by Government and its agencies, appear normal, the frequency and applications of such loan has made a dog breakfast of the rule of engagement in such exercise in Niger state.
In may 2007, under a purported priority to give the state a face-liftthe Aliyu Mu’azu, administration had in a similar move gone to the Capital market to collect N=9 billion bond to embark on same projects.
“By the end of his tenure Aliyu would probably leave Niger state with the highest debt portfolio, with little ornothing to show for it”saida state ministry official in the state.
Documents exclusively obtained by this medium, showing states balances as at May 1995 and the summary of first line deductions, show that Niger state rescheduled London Clubstands at N=525,728,963.28, while deductions from first line charge June 1995- March 2002 stood at N=9,953,544,430.42. With Niger state coming second after Ondo state as the most indebted state.
Documents obtained from the treasury department Minna, revealed that bond rather than been deplored for the purpose are used to funds personal interest
For instance, the state Government was issued a Zenith Bank cheque No.6013803248, for the payment of his elections litigation bills in the sum of N=82,796,000.
The state Government claimed the Niger state House of Assembly received an invitation to the 56 CPA international and the CPA regional conferences holding in Nairobi Kenya on September 10-19, 2010 and South Africa July 24-31 2010 respectively.
For these legislative adventures, the House submitted a bill of over N=49,000,000,00 for the two trips
Dr. Muhammud K Yahaya, secretary to the Niger state Government, claimed that “The two rips as detailed on pages 189-190 of file. Ater a careful scrutiny, however, recommended N=42,000,000.00 to cover the expenses for the two trips.
The Chief Servant may wish toconsider and approve the total sum of 42,000,000,00 only for the two trips, please” Yahaya states in his memo to the governor.
The letter was dated August,7,2010,three days, after, Mu’azu through the Commissioner for Finance approved the 42,000,000,00 for thejamboree.
Curiously, on August, 13, 2010, barely a week after the controversial approval for the Kenya “trip”theSSG, Mr. Yahaya, in another memo obtained by our reporter, requested for another N=23,269,890.00 for a purported medical trip for the state Chief Judge, Justice Jibrin Ndajiwo.
In the memo the SSG states that ”His Lordship, the Chief Judge of Niger state, Justice Jibrin Ndajiwo, 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 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 N=23,269,890.00”
The expenses were approved barely twenty four hours, for a trip that our source claimed was never made.
Contacted through his Senior Special Assistant on Media, Mr. Emma Maku Eti, Governor Aliyu, in his standard response described the allegations as “recycled documents” It is a recycled documents, they want to extort money from me” he said
Not even the several calls to his Chief press Secretary, DanladiNdayebo, could yield much.
The Chief press secretary in his usual characteristics refused to respond to the allegations two weeks after persistent calls and SMS to his cell phone