Massive Corruption Scandal At National Identity Management Commission; DG, Onyemenam Enmeshed In N50 Billion Fraud
- DG unlawfully spending his 9th Year in Office
- Refuses to Pay Severance Package to Sacked Staff since 3 years
- DG Under Panic to Abscond
On Monday, 25th August, 2015 Barrister Chris Onyemenam visited the Presidential Villa, at that visit it was widely reported that President Muhammadu Buhari was registered for his National Identity Card by the National Identity Management Commission, NIMC.
Onyemenam had at the villa told Journalists that from the NIMC Database, that he has been able to register about seven million Nigerians and that in collaboration with other agencies, in the next three months the number will be quadrupled.
But a NIMC staff who spoke on the condition of anonymity told this medium that the DG, should bury his head in shame, “Is Onyemenam not ashamed of himself by making such statement that he has only registered a paltry seven million Nigerians, since 2007 when he became the Director General of the Commission. Out of over 140 million Nigerians, Barrister Onyemenam could only boast of registering only seven million and he is happy to say it to the world.”
“We all know that he is mired in corruption in collaboration with senior management officials of the Organisation, but we know their time is up, the staff said.”
Universalreporters247.com learnt that some workers in the Commission such as drivers, and some technicians who are on contract with the organisation has not been paid for months, some are being owed three months, while some are being owed five months.
Meanwhile, this medium learnt that this may not be the best time for the Director General following an open letter written by Citizens United for Peace and Stability, CUPS, to President Buhari on the brazen being perpetrated by the DG.
In the letter dated 26/8/2015, and signed by Dr. Idris Ahmed, President and Founder of CUPS divulged how the Director General turned the National Identity Management Commission, NIMC into a commercial entity, using it to enrich himself.
In the letter titled: Exposed! Massive N50 Billion Corruption At National Identity Management Commission – An Open Letter To His Excellency, President Muhammadu Buhari, CUPS, stated that they are compelled to write to the President on matters of national importance, CUPS, said; “Very senior staff at the National Identity Management Commission (NIMC) have contacted us, raising alarm about ongoing massive corruption in the commission, which has since almost crippled its operations.”
According to CUPS, it said; “It can be recalled that NIMC was established by an act of Parliament (Act No. 23 of 2007), with the sole aim of fostering the orderly development of an Identity Sector, and building a modern Identity Management System for Nigeria. Some of the objectives of the organisation includes the following:(a) Create, operate, and manage a secure, sustainable National Identity Database for Nigeria; (b) Build and manage an Identity Authentication and Verification Service Infrastructure for Nigeria; (c) Establish Permanent Registration Centres across the country to enrol every Nigerian and legal resident at his/her convenience; and (d) Issue a chip based, highly secure and user friendly multi-application Smart Card to facilitate online/offline identity authentication and verification.”
According to CUPS, it said in spite of the benefits of NIMC to the country, it said that the commission is a shambolic white elephant; “It is saddled with grandeur corruption running into billions of Naira. As discovered by our investigation, during which we received input from many NIMC staff, corruption at the highest management level is endemic. We hereby outline some of the corruption charges raised.”
Chronicle of brazen corruption perpetrated by the current Director- General of the Commission, Barrister Chris Onyemenam, as enumerated by CUPS in it open letter to President Buhari shows how he spent over N50 billion of the Commission’s fund with nothing tangible to show for. Only a paltry 2 million ID cards have been issued since 2007. Similarly, the National Identity Database is a sham. It contains no more than 10 million records, out of a potential 180 million. Besides the DG and his senior colleagues, nobody can tell exactly where the bulk of the N50 billion went to, CUPS said.
“Without proper feasibility studies of the security implications, without due consultation with Nigerian security apparatus, and without due process of bidding, the current DG commercialised the National Identity Database. He solely handedly entered into a commercial agreement with MasterCard, which enables the National ID Card to operate as a Credit Card. Your Excellency, the security and commercial implication of this mistake are enormous.”
According to the NIMC bank account obtained by CUPS, showed that at least N400 million has been squandered in the so called National Agricultural Payment Initiative (NAPI). The N400 was paid to Cellulant Nigeria Ltd. Cellulant is a mobile e-commerce and content management company. It manages, delivers, and bills digital content over mobile telephone network. On 22/7/2015, a whopping N200 million was transferred from NIMC Zenith Bank account to Cellulant.
“The NAPI contract between NIMC and Cellulant is unlawful. It was done devoid of due process of law. There was no proper advertisement for tender, no proper bidding process, and no proper screening exercise that determined the final winner of such a significant contract. Everything was shrouded in secrecy,” CUPS said.
Speaking further, the organisation in its petition stated thus; “Your Excellency, there is also another ongoing scandalous contract between NIMC and a shadowy company called IFY EZE NIGERIA LTD, of no specific address. Without due process of advertisement, bidding for tender, and screening, this company was awarded the contract to supply NIMC with diesel to fuel its generators. Even though the highest cost of 1 litre of diesel is N150 in the market, IFY EZE is allowed to supply diesel to NIMC at the extortionist cost of N250 per litre. On 25/7/2015, the sum of N43,321,759.42 and N6,678,240.58 were transferred from NIMC Zenith Bank Account to IFY EZE.”
“Since 2012, the current DG has spent over N50 million supposedly trying to connect the NIMC offices with the national grid. Up until the time of wring this report, this project has not been implemented. Instead of prioritising the connection of NIMC offices to the national grid to save money, N50 million has been wasted with no results. And at least another N50,000,000 (N43,321,759.42 + N6,678,240.58) has wastefully being paid to shadowy IFY EZE NIGERIA LTD to supply diesel at exorbitant price per litre,” the letter said.
The letter reads thus; “Your Excellency, even the staff at NIMC are not safe from the treachery of their DG. On 18/8/2013 he sacked 3,099 staff under the pretext that they did not have degree qualifications. Not long after that, some more unfortunate staff was unlawfully laid off. These unlawful acts were supported by the then Labour Minister, John Wagu, who we learnt benefited from the illicit lay-off operations. Despite being ordered by the 7th National Assembly to settle the benefits of the sacked employees, none of them is settled as of the time of writing this report.”
In the letter CUPS made some recommendations to President Muhammadu Buhari, in the recommendation it said; “Your Excellency, we contend that it is inimical to national interest to renew the contract of NIMC DG, Mr. Barrister Chris Onyemenam. He has demonstrated propensity towards corruption, he is clearly incompetent, and is therefore not fit for purpose. He has already served two successive terms of 4 years each, and had his contract unlawfully extended by another one year by the then Secretary to the Federal Government, Pius Anyim Pius; All contracts entered into between NIMC and other parties since 2007 should immediately be cancelled and thoroughly investigated, as they were done without due process of law.”
Making further recommendation to the President, CUPS said; “The commercial partnering with MasterCard is inimical to Nigeria’s commercial and security interests. We contend that it is dangerous to commercialise the National Identity Database in this way. Therefore we advise his Excellency to terminate this senseless contract with immediate effect; The new employees hired by the DG after the unlawful sacking of over 3,099 staff are mainly people with even less qualifications. They were employed only as favours to friends and family. They should be screened and retained only on merit; The over 3,099 employees unlawfully sacked by the DG, whose benefits have still not been paid, should be settled by the Federal Government to ease suffering on them and their families; The National Identity Management Commission and the National Population Commission are serving very similar functions. Billions of Naira could be saved annually in overhead costs by simply merging the two commissions.
Meanwhile, CUPS in its latest report stated that: “following its open letter to President Muhammadu Buhari on 26/8/2015, and our subsequent update on 27/8/2015, in which we reported grandeur theft worth over N50 billion by the DG National Identity Management Commission (NIMC), we are reliably informed that a witch-hunt exercise has commenced today at the commission.
“The NIMC Director General, Barrister Chris Onyemenam, seems to be in total disarray since we exposed him on 26/8/2015. He spent the whole day harassing and threatening his staff to reveal the identity of the person who leaked this attached bank statement. Of course we know that he will never succeed! This grandeur thief of billions of Naira is totally oblivious of the fact that his every move is actually being recorded, and will be used against him when he gets to the Court. The man seems to be going from frying pan to fire,” CUPS said.
According to CUPS it said; “As a reminder, Barrister Chris Onyemenam has been the DG at NIMC for the past nine years. He systematically brought down the organisation and made it worthless, despite taking more than N50 billion from the Federal Government. Furthermore, without any provocation and warning, he unlawfully sacked nearly 5,000 low ranking employees in 2013. This brought immense suffering to all the families affected, and even death to some of them. We spoke with some of the affected families. Their story is not pleasant to hear.”
More update on the revealing corruption shows that following the CUPS open letter to his Excellency, President Muhammadu Buhari on 26/8/2015, CUPS said that they are in a position to reveal that more witnesses have come forward to expose the rot at the agency.”
“Meanwhile we have been reliably informed that panic has set in at NIMC. An emergency meeting was held in Abuja, the meeting which was chaired by the DG Barrister Chris Onyemenam and his senior management officials are making plans of what to do next. Even as CUPS said that absconding may be one of their options,” said CUPS.