Looting in God's Name! – Elendureports




Looting in God’s Name!

 Written by Jonathan Elendu Tuesday, 25 March 2008

…At Easter, Nyako’s Christmas looting re-echoes; gets
Yar’Adua, Adamawa people worried.

President Umaru Musa Yar’Adua’s last Sunday’s visit to
Adamawa State was greeted with fresh exposures of massive corruption
perpetrated by the short-lived government of Murtala Nyako. The
president had led prominent members of the Peoples Democratic Party
(PDP) to Yola, Adamawa State for the March 16th launching of the
party’s campaign for the impending by-election, following the
nullification of Nyako’s governorship.

Reliable Presidency sources revealed that the President went there in
spite of himself, having also been made aware of serious instances of
corrupt practices in so short a time. It was also revealed that many PDP
stalwarts from Adamawa State had attempted to dissuade the President
from going to Yola, claiming that his presence at the occasion would be
contrary to his anti-corruption stand.

A reliable presidential aide has confirmed to Elendureports.com that
President Yar’Adua’s government is obviously conversant with
some charges of corruption against Nyako and his aides, and of some that
may have been reported to EFCC. He said it was such reports that made
the President to start considering sending an executive bill to the
National Assembly to amend the Constitution and remove the Immunity
Clause which has shielded corrupt governors from arrest and prosecution.
He, however, claimed that the Presidency still regards reports against
Nyako and other governors as hearsay until proven.

Also trailing the presidential visit to the state are hot denials by
many legislators, top politicians, Non-Governmental Organisations and
other prominent indigenes of Adamawa State that they ever benefited in
any way from the huge sums of money which were to have been withdrawn by
the former governor, Murtala Nyako and his aides to fete different
segments of the population during the last Id-el-Kabir and Christmas
celebrations in December 2007. The controversy has gained fresh currency
following the coincidence again of two Muslim and Christian festivals,
Id-el-Malaud and Easter this month.

In December last year, Eid-el-Kabir and Christmas took place within six
days interval and Governor Nyako approved the total withdrawal of a
whopping sum of N220 million for the purpose of playing `Father
Christmas’ for the people of the state, sums which investigations by
Elendureports.com have found out never reached the people form whom they
were instantly approved and withdrawn on the basis of memoranda raised
by three close aides of the former governor without any demands for the
usual breakdowns for the disbursement of public funds.

It has, however, been found out that every kobo of those huge sums were
pocketed by the former governor and his aides.

The barrage of the demands for the funds was set off by a December 7th,
2007 memorandum from Nyako’s Secretary to the Government, John
Manassa, requesting approval and withdrawal for a sum of N130 million to
be spent on legislators of the state. His memo reads: “Very soon the
members of the State House of Assembly will be proceeding on recess.
There is the need to pay off their Constituency Allowances. You may wish
to be informed that in addition to the normal allowances, at the end of
the year assistance is given to them for the wardrobe allowances. This
time around, the Sallah, Christmas and New Year celebrations are in
sequence. You may, therefore wish to approve the release of One Hundred
and Thirty Million Naira (N130, 000,000) to that effect”. Even
though the memo was not accompanied by any documents or breakdowns, the
sums were approved the same very day by Governor Nyako.

This action was followed up with a memo from the Commissioner of
Finance, Emmanuel Vahyala, routed through the Secretary to the
Government to the Governor, requesting him to approve his withdrawal and
disbursement of N30 million for the celebration of the Muslim and
Christian festivals last December. His memo reads in part:

“Your Excellency, the end of the year 2007 has come. It is customary
to have celebrations of both the Eid-el-Kabir for Muslims and Christmas
for Christians. At each of this occasion, His Excellency will play host
to Government dignitaries from in and outside the state as well as
members of the public…”

For this, the Commissioner requested for the approval of the sum of N30
million, with the sum of N10 million allocated each to the Christian and
Muslim celebrations, while another N10 million be allocated to
`contingencies’. Governor Nyako promptly approved the sum the
following day, ordering immediate release of the sums.

Following on the Commissioner’s footsteps, Nyako’s Chief of
Staff, Bello Tukur who was also the Deputy Governor in the last
administration of Boni Haruna fired a memo to his boss dated December
17th 2007. He urged his boss to note that “…the 2007 Christmas
celebration comes on 25th December 2007 throughout the world”. He
therefore requested Governor Nyako to approve and direct the Finance
Ministry to release the sum of N23, 329,644.00 to him to disburse as
“…welfare package to prominent personalities and Non-governmental
Organisations in the state to mark the Christmas celebrations…” The
governor duly complied.

On the same day, Bello Tukur submitted another memo requesting approval
for the sum of N25, 961,520.00 for the performance of the same ritual on
behalf of the Id-el-Kabir celebrations which took place on December 19,
2007. The governor also obliged.

Bello Tukur was not yet done with the coffers of the state. On the
following day, December 18th which was the eve of the Sallah festival,
he took another memo to the governor, requesting him to “…approve
and direct the Ministry of Finance to release the total sum of Three
Million and Forty-Seven Thousand Naira (N3, 047,000.00) only being
Sallah entertainment to teaming populace that will come for homage
during the celebration as per attached details, please”. Even though
no such claimed `details’ were attached, the former governor,
nevertheless approved.

Significantly, documents in our possession indicate that it was not
until December 21st, two clear days after Sallah that the Finance
Ministry processed the approval for payment, lending credence to the
claims by a cross-section of the Adamawa populations that the funds had
nothing to do with what they were demanded for.

On December 21st, 2007, the same insatiable Chief of Staff, Tukur, went
to Governor Nyako with yet another memo requesting approval and release
of the sum of N2,646,000 “…being Christmas entertainment to the
teaming population that will come for homage…” The request was duly
approved even though Elendureports.com investigations found out from our
sources in the Finance Ministry that the funds were processed and
released on December 27, two days after Christmas.

Surprisingly on the same day, the Secretary to the Government, John
Manassa, sent his own memo to the governor informing him of “…the
need to give some token welfare assistance to some organised groups to
help cushion some of their needs in respect of Sallah, Exmas and New
Year. Some of these occasions (Sallah and Exmas) have come and gone, all
the same it is still in order to assist them”. He requested and got
approval for N5million!

Prominent and concerned personalities who would have benefited from
these huge withdrawals told our reporter in non-mincing words that it is
not only terrible that huge sums of money should be looted from the lean
resources of the state on such flimsy pretexts, but that it was even
worse that the stolen funds should be done in the name of the long
suffering citizens of the state.

One member of the state House of Assembly told Elendureports.com that
the fraudulent `Sallah and Christmas’ withdrawals are only a tip
of the iceberg in the horrendous acts of fraud that are being discovered
to have taken place during the eight month tenure of the ex-Governor
Murtala Nyako



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