Heads roll education ministry bribery
December 28, 2006 | posted by Nigerian Muse (Archives)



UN-STAR CORRUPTION:  Heads Roll over Education Ministry Bribery


March 23, 2005


Dear Compatriots:


Here is the alarming CORRUPTION  ROGUES GALLERY (18 persons so far):


Procuring or giving money:


- Prof. Fabian Osuji: main "briber" [Imo State];

- Dr.. P.S. Abdu, Education Perm Sec and five other directors: procuring bribe money (N5 million);

          -  Deputy Director, Finance: Mr. Frank Ike

          - Director, Administration, Dr. B.B. Ibe

          - Director, Planning, Research and Statistics, Mr. Olu Ilesanmi

          - Director, Inspectorate

          - Director, Higher Education


-Prof. Peter Okebukola, NUC Executive Secretary : providing a N20million "loan" to Osuji [Ogun State];

-, Prof. Jude Njoku, VC of the Federal University of Technology, Owerri: providing N25 million for passage of the 2004 budget; an additional N10million was given to Matazu.


Other bit players:

Hajiya Hafsat Mohammed, Assistant/Acting Chief Accountant, Central Pay Office (CPO)

Mr. Njoku F. Ejike - a staff of CPO

Mrs. Paulina I. Olaniyi - cashier of the ministry

Mr. Andrew Ugwu -  head messenger in the ministry


Taking 2005 Budget bribe money:

- Senator Wabara, Senate President; [Abia State]

-Senator John Azuta Mbata, the Chairman of the Senate Committee on Appropriation; [Rivers State]

-Senator Ibrahim Abdulazeez, Chairman, Senate Committee on Education; [Taraba State]

-Senator Chris Adighije [Abia State];

-Senator Badamasi Maccido [Sokoto State];

-Senator Emmanuel Okpede [Nassarawa State];

-Alhaji Shehu Matazu, Chairman, House Committee on Education [Katsina State].


Mrs. Ngozi Obichere - Senior Legislative Officer and Secretary, Senate Committee on Education


Taking 2004 Budget bribe money (N24 million):

-Honourable Gabriel Suswan  [Benue State]

- Honourable Osita Izunaso  [Imo State]


Oro p'esi je !  Lord have mercy !


Bolaji Aluko

Shaking his head

At the rotteness of our system



The Punch, Wednesday, March 23, 2005

Osuji dismissed, Wabara, others for trial

Dotun Oladipo, Oluyinka Akintunde and Dayo Aiyeyemi

The Minister of Education, Prof. Fabian Osuji, was on Tuesday dismissed by President Olusegun Obasanjo following his indictment by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission for allegedly offering N50million bribe to the National Assembly.

Also, the President of the Senate, Chief Adolphus Wabara, and six other members of the National Assembly will be reported to the Independent Corrupt Practices and other related offences Commission for their roles in the bribery saga.

The matter will also be referred to their political parties - the Peoples Democratic Party and the All Nigeria Peoples Party.

Making this known in a radio and television broadcast on Tuesday, Obasanjo said that it was shocking that despite his warning to ministers, ministries and extra-ministerial departments not to offer bribes to the National Assembly for their yearly budget or for any other purpose, Osuji went ahead to bribe the lawmakers.

Obasanjo said he first got a hint about the bribery saga on February 9, 2005 through an intelligence report, adding that the final report was given to him after his return from a foreign trip on March 19.

He said the report indicated that Osuji, acting in concert with the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Education, Mr. P.S. Abdu, and five other directors, raised N55million with the sole purpose of bribing members of the National Assembly for an increase in the ministry's 2005 budget.

He said while the directors raised N35million from votes under their control, N20million was taken from the National Universities Commission as loan.

Obasanjo said that the money was collected from Osuji by Wabara; the Chairman of the Senate Committee on Appropriation, Senator John Azuta Mbata; the Chairman, Senate Committee on Education, Senator Ibrahim Abdulazeez; Senator Chris Adighije; Senator Badamasi Maccido; Senator Emmanuel Okpede; and a member of the House of Representatives, Alhaji Shehu Matazu, who is the Chairman, House Committee on Education.

He said that the Chairman of the EFCC, Mr. Nuhu Ribadu, has recovered the money from Adighije.

Obasanjo announced the dismissal of Osuji and said he would be handed over to ICPC for prosecution.

Abdu and the other five directors who raised the money are to be referred to the Federal Civil Service Commission for necessary disciplinary action.

The NUC Executive Secretary, Prof. Peter Okebukola, is also to face the music for providing the N20million loan to Osuji.

Obasanjo also indicted the Vice-Chancellor of the Federal University of Technology, Owerri, Prof. Jude Njoku, for allegedly providing N25million for the same purpose during the passage of the 2004 budget, noting that an additional N10million was given to Matazu.

The President said that in the absence of a Governing Council for the University, Njoku would be recommended for appropriate discipline by the Ministry of Education, adding, "He (Njoku) too will be referred to the ICPC for necessary action. This should serve as a lesson to the heads of other institutions and parastatals. Further investigation on the receivers of Professor Njoku's payment during the 2004 Budget confirmed Honourable Gabriel Suswan and Honourable Osita Izunaso as members who shared the bribe money with Dr. Shehu Matazu.

"The allegations against other ministers and departments that may have committed similar offences will continue to be investigated."

Obasanjo said that he was disappointed that the country's number three citizen could be involved in such a scandal, adding that, "It is an action that violates all known norms of good governance, progressive leadership, integrity and credibility. This tends to vindicate those who made similar allegations in the past."

While commending government officials and appointees who have remained steadfast in the fight against corruption, Obasanjo said the time had come for the National Assembly members to undertake self-cleansing in order to restore the respect associated with their offices.

He said the rating of Nigeria as the third on the ladder of corruption by Transparency International was unacceptable to Nigerians.

Earlier on Tuesday at the first President of the Senate's Roundtable on debt, development and democracy, Obasanjo said that it would be foolhardy for the legislature to wallow in corruption and expect the international community to take Nigeria's plea for debt relief serious.

Obasanjo, represented by Vice-President Atiku Abubakar, said, "Corruption in such a highly regarded political institution compromises national integrity, contaminates public morality and misguides those that look up to you for leadership.

"Debt service payments continue to deprive Nigeria of resources badly needed for poverty reduction, for improved health services, for the education of our children and for the provision of potable water for our teaming population," Obasanjo explained.

The President disclosed that $1.8 billion was the actual debt service payment to all external creditors.

The amount, he said, translated to about 11 times the recurrent budgetary allocation to the health sector and about five times the recurrent budgetary allocation to the education sector.

He added, "The $1 billion paid to the Paris Club alone represents over 85 per cent of the total Federal Government recurrent-plus-capital budget for health and education or over 280 per cent of capital budget in these sectors.

"Even then, the actual debt service payment of $1.8 billion made to all categories of external creditors was much less than what was due for the year, which was $2.95 billion. This excluded arrears amounting to $3.36 billion. This picture clearly illustrates that Nigeria's debt is unsustainable."

Reacting to the President's statement on corruption in the legislature, the Minister of Finance, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, said it demonstrated the seriousness of the government to tackling sleaze in the country.

Okonjo-Iweala said that the government was determined to investigate all alleged cases of corruption and prosecute the offenders.


This Day

Obasanjo Fires Osuji, Indicts Wabara, Others


From Josephine Lohor, and Chuks Okocha in Abuja, 03.23.2005

N55m Bribery Scandal


President Olusegun Oba-sanjo yesterday announced the dismissal of the Minister of Education, Professor Fabian Osuji, from his cabinet. The former minister will also be handed over to the Independent Corrupt Practices and Related Offences Commission (ICPC) for prosecution over allegations of giving N55 million bribe to members of the education committees of the two chambers of the National Assembly to make them jerk up budgetary allocations to his ministry in the 2005 fiscal year.

Obasanjo in a nationwide broadcast last night also indicted Senate President Adolphus Wabara; Senators John Mbata, Ibrahim Abdulazeez, Chris Adighije, Badamasi Maccido, Emmanuel Okpede and Hon. Shehu Matazu for collecting the bribe offered by the minister.

The President further announced that the Vice Chancellor of the Federal University of Technology, Owerri, Professor Jude E. Njoku and Executive Secretary of the National Universities Commission (NUC), Professor Peter Okebukola, would be dealt with appropriately.

While describing the situation as “a disheartening event”, he said the affected persons were indicted in the report from investigations following intelligence reports that some ministers have indeed paid bribe to committees and individuals in the National Assembly despite his warning against such practices.

The President while quotiong from the reports of the bribery scandal,stated that “the Minister of Education invited his acting Permanent Secretary and some Directors to collect money from votes under their control to bribe some members of the National Assembly so that they can ensure that their budget will not be reduced. In fact, in order that the budget for the Ministry submitted by the Executive may be increased.

“That those Directors produced from the votes under their control the sum of N35 million, while an additional loan of N20 million was taken from the National Universities Commis-sion, NUC, to pay a total bribe of N55 million which was collected by the Senate President, Adolphus Wabara; Senator John Azuta-Mbata, Chairman Senate Appropriation Committee; Senator Ibrahim Abdulazeez, Chairman Senate Committee on Education; Senator,Dr, Chris Adighije, Senator Badamasi Maccido, Senator Emmanuel Okpede and a member of the Federal House of Represen-tatives, Honorable Dr, Shehu Matazu who is Chairman of the House Committee on Education”.

The President added that “the acting Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Education, Mr. P. S. Abdu and five Directors of the Ministry are to be referred to the Federal Civil Service Commis-sion for necessary follow-up action.

“I have forwarded the report on the Senate President, Senator Ibrahim Abdulazeez, Senator, Dr, Chris Adighije, Senator John Azuta Mbata, Senator Badamasi Maccido and Senator Emmanuel Okpede to the Deputy Senate President and Leader of the Senate for appropriate action while sending the same report to the Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, and the Chairman of the All Nigeria Peoples Party, ANPP for appropriate action at the House level and at the party level.

“A copy of the report has been forwarded to the Honorable Speaker of the House of Representatives in respect of the Chairman of the House Committee on Education, Honorable Shehu Matazu for appropriate action at the House level and the party level.

While regretting that the nation’s number three man in the hierachy of government could involve himself in such “sordid matter”, the President observed that “contractors have also alleged such acts on the part of members of the Senate and the House in the past but such contractors were scared to substantiate their allegations. There have also been allegations against some members of the National Assembly who directly or indirectly make demands from Ministers and parastatals in the performance of their oversight functions.

Equally, allegations have been widespread about demands from members of the National Assembly during political confirmation exercises as well as during the on-going N25 billion equity requirement on banks”.

However, in his reaction to the development in the National Assembly, National Chairman of the All Nigeria Peoples Party (ANPP), Chief Don Etiebet, said the case should be pursued to a logical conclusion with the prosecution of the culprits.
He also commended Obasanjo for his renewed battle against corruption. "If he continues like this, then he will have a good legacy to inherit," he said.

"We cannot afford to be paying lip service to this battle against corruption. Everyday at the National Political Reform Conference, we lament the evils of corruption on the image of the country and on the economy. This is the time to prove that we are not chasing shadows.

"The party will watch and see how this matter will end, but we want justice to prevail at the end of the day. Let anyone found guilty be punished according to the law of the land and let the innocent ones be vindicated," Etiebet added.

Also, National Chairman of the National Democratic Party (NDP) Alhaji Habu Fari commended Obasanjo on his renewed battle against corruption and called for the prosecution of all those indicted.  Fari told THISDAY that it is the position of the party that any one found guilty of corruption should be punished.

"In this matter, let no ox be gored. Let the battle be thorough. We have to sit up and once and for all tackle this monster called corruption.

"This is test case for both the National Assembly and Executive to tell Nigerians that they are serious with the fight to curb corruption," Fari said.

Deputy National Chairman (South) of the All Progressive Grand Alliance (APGA), Barrister Maxi Okwu told THISDAY on phone that the education ministry bribery scandal is a test case for government to prove that it is serious in the fight against corruption.

"Let the Federal Government immediately arrest the Senate President and all those that have so far been indicted. If it is true that the Minister of Education gave out money, let Nigerians know those that collected the money and let them face the full wrath of the law," he added.

Senator Olorunnimbe Mamora, however, faulted the president for making a hasty national broadcast, "I have always believed that President Olusegun Obasanjo means well but I disagree with his style. You don't correct ills by destroying institutions. We are in a democracy and what separates democratic government from autocracy is the legislature. His going on air to insult the legislative institution would only destroy the system."

"The executive is about rendering the legislature to a toothless bulldog and it would not speak well for our democracy. I can even say that his indictment means that PDP is not fit to rule this country. After all, the party has two-third majority of both houses and the (Senate) leadership was forced on us by the PDP. We did not elect them.

Also, Senator Farouk Bunza Bello, Vice Chairman, Senate Committee on Banking, Insurance and Other Financial Institutions said, "President Olusegun Obasanjo is being unfair to us (Committee). My committee was mentioned (by the President) but at no time was I approached or did I receive money to pass the CBN or BOFIA Acts from any quarters."



N55m scam: Obasanjo sacks education minister

•NUC boss, FUTO VC also indicted


THE public service career of Education Minister, Professor Fabian Osuji, crashed like an uncovered stack of feathers last night as President Olusegun Obasanjo dismissed him from the Federal Executive Council (FEC) with immediate effect over his alleged involvement in the N55 million bribery scandal between his ministry and the National Assembly.

Only last Sunday, Osuji was released from detention after four days of questioning by officials of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).

The President also directed that Prof. Osuji, who assumed office in 2003, be subsequently handed over to the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) for prosecution, signalling perhaps even worse days for the respected academician unless he is able to clear himself of the allegation.

In a five page radio and television address to the nation, President Obasanjo also referred to the ICPC, the Vice Chancellor of the Federal University of Technology Owerri (FUTO), Professor Jude Njoku, who allegedly provided "the sum of N25 million... as bribe to the House (of Representatives) committee on Education in the 2004 budget year."

Professor Njoku and the Executive Secretary of National Universities Commission (NUC), Professor Peter Okebukola whose parastatal, the President said, allegedly provided a loan of N20 million to the Education Ministry on "on instruction of the then Minister (Osuji), are also to be appropriately dealt with by the Ministry, which insiders said may sack them.

Mr. Abdu and five directors in the Education Ministry are to be referred to the Federal Civil Service Commission (FCSC) for "necessary disciplinary action."

Giving a brief on intelligence activities leading to the exposes, President Obasanjo traced same back to last February when a report turned in to him showed that "contrary to my firm instructions to Ministers and Departments and parastatals under them that nobody should bribe or give inducement to any individual or group in the National Assembly for approval or enhancement of the budget proposed by me, some Ministers have disregarded my instructions."

According to the President, Professor Osuji invited his acting Permanent Secretary, Mr. P.S. Abdu and some directors in the ministry allegedly "to collect money from votes under their control to bribe some members of the National Assembly so that they can ensure that their budget will not be reduced, in fact, in order that the budget for the ministry submitted by the Executive may be increased."

President Obasanjo further said the alleged instruction to the directors was for them to raise the sum of N35 million while an additional N20 million loan was secured from the NUC.

According to the President, the total of N55 million was allegedly "collected by the Senate President, Adolphus Wabara; Senator John Azuta Mbata, chairman, Senate Appropriation Committee, Senator Ibrahim Abdulazeez, chairman, Senate Committee on Education; Senator (Dr) Chris Adighije, Senator Badamasi Maccido, Senator Emmanuel Okpede, and a member of the Federal House of Representatives, Hen. (Dr) Shehu Matazu, who is chairman of the House Committee on Education."

The President said an Interim Oral Report was made to him, on his return from a foreign trip, on March 19 this year on the alleged misdeeds of the group even as discreet investigations continued, leading to the listed personalities coughing out the money to the EFCC.

Insisting that government was serious in its war against graft and would pull down the high and mighty caught perpetrating same, President Obasanjo declared that allegation of sleaze in other Ministers and departments will continue to be investigated.

It would be recalled that in 2003, Minister for Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Mallam Nasir el-Rufai had accused some Senators of demanding millions of naira as bribe so as to endorse his ministerial nominantion.

He named Deputy Senate President, Ibrahim Mantu, as involved in the alleged demand.

The matter which tiggered off a national controversy ended as Senate cleared Mantu of lack of complicity even the legislative chamber dismissed the accusation as false.


This Day

The Indicted Men

By Joseph Ushigiale, 03.23.2005


Senator Adolphus Wabara

He represented Abia South senatorial district and was first elected into the Senate in 1999. He was a member of the House of  Representatives in between 1992 and 1993.

His re-election in 2003 was dogged by controversy when his opponent, Elder Dan Imo of rival All Nigeria Peoples Party (ANPP) claimed victory at the polls.

His return to the Senate, few days to the inauguration, was facilitated by an Abuja High Court ruling presided over by Justice Wilson Egbo-Egbo.

Yet, in spite of the fact that Wabara had to struggle to return to the senate, he confounded pundits by emerging senate president in a manner many suspect was designed by the presidency.

His tenure last year witnessed the first financial scandal in which former Federal Capital Territory Minister, Mallam Nasir el-Rufai alleged that the leadership had requested for a gratis of about N54 million to facilitate his clearance as a ministerial nominee.

He has survived several other scandals and that may have bolstered him to elect to intervene in the seeming face-off between the senate education committee and the Minister of Education, Prof. Fabian Osuji in which about N55m allegedly changed hands.

Unlike other Senate Presidents before him, it is quite an irony that Wabara who set out to provide good governance to sustain democracy would succumb to the temptations which as described by President Obasanjo based on the report of the EFCC, the Senate President is a key dramatis personnae in the bribery scandal.

Senator Azuta Mbata

Mbata was a second time senator and has represented Rivers East senatorial zone since 1999. He has occupied several committee chairmanship positions including that of Appropriation. His senate sojourn climaxed in his becoming a senate President Extempore who filled the vacuum after late Dr. Chuba Okadigbo's exit from the position. He supervised the emergence of Chief Anyim Pius Anyim as Senate President.

His closeness to Wabara under the present dispensation was believed to have ensured that the two men are now indicted in the current scandal. At 45, and with a bright future ahead of him, the former businessman turned politician rather has dimmed his star by his involvement in the education ministry bribery scandal.

  Senator Chris Adighije

He was a first time senator representing Abia Central on the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP). He trained as a geologist but went into politics in 1990 when he emerged as the National Treasurer of the National Republican Convention (NRC).

When he set out for the senate, he raised expectations by promising to work for the welfare of the people as well as improve on the quality of life of his constituents. If the EFCC report is found to be true, then Adighije could be accused of betraying people's confidence.

Senator Emmanuel Okpede

He was elected in 2003 to represent Nasarawa South senatorial zone. Born in 1960, Okpede, a holder of the University of Jos doctorate degree in Philosophy, has held several appointments including that of the Director General and later Commissioner for Education between 1992 to 2002. On his election, he promised to accelerate development in the education sector as well as maintain national stability.

Senator Badamasi Maccido

He was elected as an ANPP senator to represent Sokoto North in 2003. Born in 1961, Maccido graduated from the Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria (ABU) with a Bsc in Building Engineering. He once served as a commissioner in the Governor Attahiru Baffarawa administration. He is a son of the present Sultan of Sokoto, alhaji Muhammadu Maccido.

Senator Abdulazeez Ibrahim

He was the chairman, senate commitee on education and represented Taraba Central. Born in 1957, Ibrahim holds two degrees in Engineering and Business Administration from the Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria. He was elected as senator in 1999 and 2003.

Hon. Matazu Garba

He won the best legislator's award for 2002 for his contributions to legislation under the present dispensation. Born in 1961, Garba was elected twice in 1999 and 2003 on the platform of the PDP to represent Musawa/Matazu Federal constituency. He holds a doctorate degree in Philosophy from the Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria and headed the now controversial House Committee on Education.

Hon. Osita Izunaso

He represented Ohaji-Egbema-Outa-Oru West Federal Constituency in Imo State. Born in 1966, he graduated from the Universities of Jos and Calabar and earned BA (Hons) and MBA degrees respectively. He was Chief Press Secretary to former Senate President Evan Enwerem and later served as , Adviser to Imo State government before contesting and winning the federal seat to represent his constituency. He promised to articulate the provision of quality representation as well as promote democracy.

Hon. Gabriel Suswam

He was elected twice in 1999 and 2003 to represent Katsina Ala/Ukum/ Logo Federal Constituency in Benue State. He graduated with a Bachelors degree in law from the University of Lagos and has held such legislative committee positions as chairman House service committee  and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).

Prof. Fabian Osuji

He started an illustrious career in the academia where he rose to become a professsor at the University of Nigeria (UNN). Osuji's sojourn into politics started in the 90s when he constested and lost the governorship race to Senator Evan Enwerem. He was the Social Democratic Party (SDP) candidate.

He was appointed by President Olusegun Obasanjo as one of those from the academia and posted to the ministry of education to help rescue the falling standard in the schools. Before he stumbled last week, he was already making surreptitious moves in pursuit of his governorship ambition in 2007 in Imo State. 


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