Category Archives: Journalism

These are reports I write as South East Asia Correspondent (stringer) for Daily Trust newspaper based in Abuja, Nigeria

DSS, ex-Governor Babangida Aliyu and the missing cars

In October 2013, the governor of Niger State at that time, Governor Babangida Aliyu, approved the purchase of 19 vehicles for the Department of State Services (DSS) in Niger State; to be funded through the SURE-P programme.  Two years later, checks within the DSS command in Niger State revealed that some of the vehicles are no longer with them in Minna, the state capital.  Many speculate that the former director of the service in Niger State, Larry Obiagwu, absconded with some of the cars when he was posted out of Niger.

Credit: OpenClipartVectors / Pixabay

On 23 September 2013, in a letter to Governor Babangida Aliyu of the PDP, Mr. Larry Obiagwu requested for cars “for operational effectiveness.”  Whereupon Governor Babangida Aliyu approved the request on the same day.  While approving, the governor stated that the vehicles should “be provided within the week.”

Larry Obiagwu's letter to Gov Babangida Aliyu
Larry Obiagwu’s letter to Gov Babangida Aliyu

Two weeks later, on 7 October 2015, the commissioner for works and chairman of SURE-P implementation in the state, Muazu Mohammed Bawa, in a letter, reminded the governor of his approval and itemized the vehicles to be purchased to include:

1 Toyota Prado Jeep LLX 2013 at N13.6 million naira.

5 Toyota Hilux Pickups at N7.1 million each

3 Toyota Camry saloon at N6.2 million naira each and

10 used Ford Focus at N1.35 million each.

The total cost of the vehicles was stated as N81, 200, 000 (eighty-one million, two hundred thousand naira).

Muazu Bawa’s letter to Gov Babangida Aliyu on the donation of cars to DSS
Muazu Bawa’s letter to Gov Babangida Aliyu on the donation of cars to DSS

Many in the state and even some officers of the Department of State Services have been shocked by the revelation.  This, they said, reeks of the corruption under President Jonathan led PDP administration where everybody did what they wanted without thinking of the consequences.  “If it is true that Larry  took the cars, Niger State Government should collect them back from him,” a top DSS officer said in Minna.

Muazu Bawa's letter to Gov Babangida2

 

 

First of all, DSS is a Federal Government agency for which the FG holds the responsibility of funding. Although it is customary in Nigeria for state governments to donate equipment to Federal Government agencies, donating up to 19 vehicles in one transaction is a tad excessive.  Especially when children in schools for which the state government was responsible were sitting on the floor, their schools lacked equipment and their teachers were not properly remunerated.

Following the changes in the service when President Buhari came into office in May 2015, the new leadership of the DSS first posted Mr. Larry Obiagwu from Niger to Kaduna State before he was finally retired from service.

However, this leaves many questions outstanding:  were all the approved 19 vehicles delivered to DSS by the state government?  If so, how many are left with the service?  Is it true that Larry Obiagwu left with eight of the vehicles?  If yes, would the DSS collect back the vehicles from Mr. Larry Obiagwu after sighting the evidence in this report? If the cars were not delivered, should the Economics and Financial Crimes Commission be asked to recorver the vehicles for the Niger State Government?

 

 

Sambo Dasuki against Niger​: Did he cheat Governor Abubakar Sani Bello?

 

Many months after Niger State Government sent a petition against the previous administration to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), the commission has not visited the state.  Is it because they’ve been occupied by Sambo Dasuki’s case?

One of the demands the people of Niger State put on the plate of the new administration of Governor Abubakar Sani Bello was the probe and prosecution of officials from the government of former Governor Babangida Aliyu.

 

Did Sambo Dasuki cheat Governor Abubakar Sani by occupying the EFCC?
Did Sambo Dasuki cheat Governor Abubakar Sani by occupying the EFCC?

What some of the people do not know is that even before they started the agitation, the government had gone far in investigating the financial transactions of the previous administration from 2007 to 2015.

 

That was even before my friend and brother, Mohammed Haruna (a legislator who counts among only a handful of the members of our state assembly who know what they’re doing) moved a motion for the state government to investigate the former governor. The finance committee of experts that Governor Abubakar Sani Bello empaneled largely worked in the background, the reason many didn’t know what was going on.

The governor was especially interested in the investigation because he wanted the monies stolen – if any – recovered so that he could use that in the service of the people. The Finance Committee has since concluded its assignment.  But long before they finished, it sent preliminary results of the investigation to the EFCC.

I remembered the governor was in New York with President Buhari when he enquired if the EFCC had visited Niger State to follow-up with the state’s petition.

But they had not.

The reason – or excuse, if you will – EFCC gave was that the bank statements Niger State Government gave were for purposes of the petition.  They would get their own bank statements from the banks to use for prosecution.  They would have to do that before visiting Minna, they said.  One week passed.  Two weeks passed.  The third and fourth weeks passed before I stopped counting.  That was when Ibrahim Lamorde was the commission’s chairman.

Recently, because the EFCC had refused to come, the state government has resorted to home-grown measures of using the security agents in Minna, the state capital, for arrests for the purposes of prosecution and money recovery.

How Sambo Dasuki cheated Niger

An official of the new administration told me two weeks ago that EFCC has started inviting the culprits in the government of former Governor Babangida Aliyu.  I will let you know when I get details of who was invited.

Col Sambo Dasuki has monopolized EFCC due to the magnitude of his alleged involvement in corruption
Col Sambo Dasuki has monopolized EFCC due to the magnitude of his alleged involvement in corruption

But the silence of EFCC for a long time fueled the rumours that Abu Lolo doesn’t want to probe Talba.  The rumour carriers were quieted somewhat when Governor Bello made a broadcast that detailed how his predecessor wasted the people’s money.

However, if the EFCC had come at the time they were expected, that would have helped the governor in two ways:

  1. Because it was what the people wanted, seeing EFCC arresting former government officials would have given Governor Bello some political capital.

 

  1. Arresting the officials would have quickened the recovery of looted funds with which the governor would have built the needed infrastructure. That would have also lessened the people’s hardship and engendered popularity for the governor.

Now it has come to light that EFCC agents did not come to Minna because they have their hands full with the case of Sambo Dasuki, the ex-National Security Adviser.

 

Therefore, if you count the two advantages due to the governor above, you’d agree that Sambo Dasuki has not only cheated Niger State, but has also cheated the governor by monopolizing and occupying EFCC with his filth.

But if this is the case, it seems EFCC is under-staffed and needs to recruit new agents to tackle multiple cases before they grow cold.  Doing so would facilitate the recovery of looted funds the states badly need.

 

Follow Dooba on Twitter: @dooba123

Malaysian cop helps Nigerian escape detention

By Ibraheem Dooba

The Malaysian police said on Wednesday that a police corporal had helped a Nigerian, Osuji Kelly Prince, escape from detention.

The 52-year old corporal allegedly aided the escape of Osuji, 25, from Jinjang detention centre on Monday, according to a press conference by Kuala Lumpur CID chief Datuk Ku Chin Wah.

Osuji Kelly Prince
Osuji Kelly Prince

Osuji Kelly had been arrested and detained since August 1 for drug possession. Drug trafficking carries the death penalty in Malaysia.

The KL CID chief said the cop was arrested at his home on August 12 and remanded.
“His actions will not be tolerated and I will see to it that he be charged as soon as possible,” said Ku at the press conference on Wednesday.

According to the police chief, the corporal has a record of improper conduct and had been transferred from station to station in the past.
Meanwhile, Osuji Kelly Prince is still at large.
There have been a number of incidences of detainees escaping from custody in recent times.