Multi Million Naira Scandal Rocks Plateau Command Of Nigerian Civil Defence Corp’s Cooperative, As Command’s Cooperative Chairman, Sule Balogun Is Enmeshed In Many Frauds

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Yakubu Busari

The Plateau State Command of the Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corp, NSCDC, is currently enmeshed in a multi-million Naira scandal perpetrated by the Command’s Co-operative Chairman, CIC Sule Balogun Mohammed, which has snowballed to a wanton victimization of personnel who dared question the financial recklessness of the cooperative chairman who have at least four years to retire in service.

Insider sources confirmed to this medium that the cooperative Chairman has the full backing of some top shorts in the command and national headquarters who prevents all petitions filed against the cooperative Chairman from reaching the Commandant General of the Corp, but instead informed the state commandant of any such petitions and subsequently spearhead the transfer of some senior officers to other state commands as a punitive measure.

Our findings revealed that the cooperative Chairman has become so powerful that he threatens anybody that dares oppose to his reckless leadership style with a transfer out of the command and even tell them beforehand which command they would be posted to for daring to demand accountability on the finances of the cooperative.

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Trouble started raring its head in the cooperative sometime in December, 2016 when the cooperative Chairman, without recourse to laid down guidelines approved and paid over N17 million to a Kaduna based firm, Tredah Olumin (Nig) Ltd, to supply a truck of Thailand rice to the cooperative for distribution to members during Christmas celebration, but not a grain of rice was supplied, to the chagrin of fellow colleagues who started to ask questions.

In other to cushion the brewing tension arising from the non-supply of the rice initially paid for, the Chairman further released another N11 million to purchase 460 bags, which he claimed was 660 bags, yet no record was available to indicate distribution of the grain to members, which further aggravated the mistrust between the chairman and his members.

In a fraudulent effort to placate members of the cooperative who began to press for the refund of their monies with the Kaduna firm that breached the initial contract, the chairman forged a letter purportedly addressed to the Inspector General of Police seeking intervention of the police to help recover the said sum – a letter he was brandishing to members as his effort at recovering the money, despite the manifest irregularities in the purported letter.

Further prove of the Chairman’s deliberate effort to defraud the cooperative became more glaring when Tredah Olumin, managed by one Richard Balogun, whose surname made members suspect is a relation of the chairman, made a refund of N10 million via Fidelity Bank Cheque no.4010232526, dated 10th January, 2017 in the name of Sule Balogun Mohammed (the cooperative chairman), rather than the name of the cooperative.

The cheque was not honoured by the bank for non-compliance with financial regulations.

The first set of victimized Corp personnel to be posted out of the command were those who questioned the rationale behind the cooperative chairman’s unilateral decision to give the commandant a whooping #500,000 from the cooperative fund when the commandant was newly posted to the state, despite the fact that the commandant is not a member of the cooperative, thus has no right to benefit from the cooperative fund.

Though the command cooperative Chairman grudgingly refunded the money after questions were raised, he openly promised to deal with all the personnel that raised eyebrows to the transaction, hence their vindictive transfers out of Plateau state Command.

As the cooperative braces for another round of elections to elect new executive committee members in October 2017, the cooperative Chairman, in active connivance of the commandant and some top echelons of the Corp at the headquarters, opened floodgates of transfer out of Plateau state command to any officer that is perceived to be against the re-election bid of the cooperative Chairman.

The transfers are more of vindictive than national transfer because copies of transfer letters of some of the affected officers indicate that the transfers are without financial benefits, which totally in contravention of public service rules.

Moreover, the first batch of officers so transferred, their salaries were stopped for no just reason and since then they were not paid up to the time of filling this report.

In one of the audio recordings of the chairman’s threats to the victims, the chairman was audibly heard to have threatened the officers that they were going to be transferred out of the command to unfavourable commands.

When complaints were made to the Plateau State governor to intervene in the victimization of Plateau indigenes working in the state Command, the commandant was said to have told the governor that it was a national transfer.

However, investigations by this reporter reveals that the provisions of the service rules of the Corp stipulates that officers below the rank of Superintendent of the Corp should be made to serve in their states of origin, except where the said officer on his own volition desires to work outside his state of origin.

This is because by the nature of their service, it is believed that officers serving in their states of origin are familiar with the terrain of their respective states, thus would be more productive in a familiar terrain.

This policy is believed to be responsible for the success story of the Corp since it was established, which prompted the Nigerian Police Force to contemplate implementing the same policy applied by the Corp. This revelation, therefore, made rubbish of the commandant’s claim that the transfer is a national one.

This is more so that no or few corresponding transfers are carried from other state commands.  Others are of the view that such unhealthy practice in the hierarchy of the Corp typifies a total negation of the anti-graft posture of the present administration in the country, and advocate a full-fledged investigation into the activities of the affected officers without the view to purging the Corp of bad eggs.

All efforts to contact the Cooperative’s Chairman Sule Balogun to respond to these allegations proved abortive, as phone calls placed to his phone number were not answered while text message sent to his phone was also not replied.

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