The Centre for Anti-Corruption and Open Leadership, CACOL, has thrown its weight behind the Nigerian Senate in its bid to probe revenues being remitted by the MDAs between 2014 and 2020 and the payment of one per cent stamp duty on all contracts awarded by the MDAs within the same period.
In a release issued by CACOL and signed by Tola Oresanwo, the anti-corruption organization’s Director, Administration and Programmes on behalf of its Chairman, Mr. Debo Adeniran, he stated, “We were flabbergasted with the news that some Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) are yet to remit over N2 trillion to the Consolidated Revenue Fund (CRF) of the Federal Government between 2014 and 2020. This disclosure was made by Chairman, Senate Committee on Finance, Senator Solomon Adeola (APC- Lagos), in a statement by Kayode Odunaro, his Media Adviser recently”.
The senator spoke on the heels of the ongoing investigation of remittances of revenue by MDAs and payment of 1 percent stamp duty on contracts between 2014 and 2020. Adeola was quoted as saying “the unremitted revenue may have been trapped with the MDAs or spent on frivolous expenditures. He said this is contrary to the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and the Fiscal Responsibility Act (FRA) 2007. He said the minister, director general, budget office, and the Accountant General of the Federation, were invited to speak on the unremitted funds which was revealed from investigations of the committee. The investigation has so far revealed that many agencies were involved in illegalities relating to expenditure of funds that should be remitted into Consolidated Revenue Fund (CRF)”.
The anti-corruption Czar opined that “We have said it over and over again that it is disheartening and demoralizing how most of the MDAs flagrantly disregard the directives of the National Assembly and the country’s Auditor-General (AuGF) on submission of audited accounts for necessary vetting and scrutiny because there is a lacuna in our Constitution that has made it expedient for them to tactically evade such order with no fear of backlash or any sanction whatsoever for such impunity.
The CACOL Boss further enthused, “We want to commend the Senate Committee on Finance for investigating and bringing this issue to public knowledge. Over the years, we have been at the forefront of championing calls for the legislature to take full charge of their oversight functions especially in situations where public funds were misappropriated. With the advancement in technology today, most of the looting or financial manipulations would be effectively prevented and detected ab initio if we focused more on prevention and greater accountability and independence of organs saddled with oversight and embrace e-governance as a matter of urgency.
“We at CACOL, would like to recommend that henceforth Ministries, Department and Agencies (MDAs) that fail to remit their funds to the federation account should not receive appropriation in subsequent year’s budget and the various Anti-Corruption agencies in the country should be called upon to investigate the whereabouts of the money in question and any official(s) found wanton should be prosecuted or make to face the full wrath of the law to serve as necessary deterrent”.
“This is no doubt, in line with our previous calls for the audit law and other useful legislation that are already begging for speedy consideration and passage in the National Assembly for ages to be accorded due attention so that the fight against official corruption could become a thing of the past in the country”.
President and Commander-In-Chief of the Armed Forces
Aso Rock Villa, 3 Arms Zone
Garki – Abuja
Federal Republic of Nigeria
We have observed keenly the events of past weeks concerning the allegations levelled against the incumbent Minister of Communication and Digital Economy, Isa Pantami. We have tried as much as possible to listen to arguments in favour of and against his sack as a Minister of the Federal Republic.
It is in view of the foregoing that we have taken a position on the matter based on the various allegations as stated below:
ü In April 2021, a publication by an online media company linked Pantami to the then leader of Boko Haram, Mohammed Yusuf as allies, and that Pantami has been listed by the American Government under its terrorist watch list.
ü There are series of audio and video messages of Pantami, which has gone viral on social media, in which he publicly supported the activities of Taliban and Al-Qaida.
ü There has been a steady stream of new evidence of the views he held in the past and the latest are documents that appeared online recently. The documents are purportedly from a 2010 meeting he chaired at the Jama’atu Nasril Islam (JNI), a top Islamic body, where it was agreed that Christians should be prohibited from building churches in city centres across northern Nigeria, which has a majority Muslim population although millions of Christians also live there.
ü Among other things, he also said, “Oh God, give victory to the Taliban and to al-Qaeda,” and, “This jihad is an obligation for every single believer, especially in Nigeria.” In another, he reportedly endorsed the killing of “unbelievers.”
ü In a 2006 speech, Mr Pantami publicly offered his condolences after the death of al-Qaeda’s leader in Iraq, Abu Musab al-Zarqawi.
ü In one audio clip, where he talks about the Nigerian army’s war against Boko Haram, he appears to be on the verge of tears as he passionately describes the militants as “our Muslim brothers” who did not deserve to be “killed like pigs”.
ü In another audio recording, he declares he is always happy when infidels are massacred.
ü Audio and video recordings have also emerged of Mr Pantami’s fiery prayers and sermons at different stages of his career as an imam. In one sermon he volunteered to lead a force of the Sharia police, Hisbah, to Shendam in Plateau state, where there had been a deadly religious conflict, to fight in defence of the Muslims. So many more extremist views have been attributed to Pantami.
He has not denied the authenticity of these texts, audio and video clips. In his defence, Pantami argues that he has repented; that he erred as an innocent youth.
After the backlash and calls for his resignation continued, Pantami disavowed the statements on April 17, saying “some of the comments I made some years ago that are generating controversies now were based on my understanding of religious issues at the time, and I have changed several positions taken in the past based on new evidence and maturity.”
Mr. President, we wish to state unequivocally that the fact that Pantami has developed the level of orientation that made him uttered those grievous words and statements as stated above, cannot be wished away by mere recanting which some people in your cabinet are claiming he has done.
Ideological issues are ingrained in the mind of those who pursue it. Even when they denounce it they are not to be trusted because they can always go back to that conviction that led them into accepting that extremism and for somebody who has said that people should be killed and that he is happy when he sees that and who has supported terrorists in the past, we want to believe that it cannot get out of his mind so easily.
Moreover, due to the sensitiveness of the Ministry that he is supervising, he can provide information about anybody to the terrorists, because terrorists don’t work with their foot soldiers alone, they also work with those who pretend to be part and parcel of the decent society and Patami can be some of those conduit pipe through which information are streamed to them.
Furthermore, in the area of the security system, the ministry also could have a link with the way security communication are being organised and deployed and Pantami could sabotage the process by facilitating access to the terrorists to kind of jam the communication system of the military and other security agencies in the country.
Your Excellency, we are of the opinion that Pantami is a dangerous person that ought not to be a minister of the Federal Republic if all the agencies of government that screened ministerial nominees including the Senate and the State Security Service carried out their due diligence before he was sworn in as a Minister.
A situation whereby the Senate would ask a Ministerial Nominee to take a bow showed the level of mediocrity among those in government considering the fact that governance is a serious administrative endeavour guided by international best practices. He is indeed one of the tares sown by the enemies of the country in your cabinet when Your Excellency was asleep. His continued presence in your cabinet is like leaving a venomous snake under the bed and someone goes to sleep or leaving a spark of fire on the roof and someone goes to sleep. He is dangerous to the peace and security of Nigeria, he is a security risk to the nation. Even if he has denounced his extremist orientation, our mind would only be at rest if he is removed.
Therefore, we are aligning with calls on your office to immediately swing into action by removing and sacking Isa Pantami as Minister of Communication and Digital Economy now and also ask the Department of State Services to investigate him!
For the pioneer secretary-general, Committee for the Defence of Human Rights (CDHR), Debo Adeniran, extending invitations to citizens by security agencies is not all that matters, rather, the outcome of such invitations that should be of concern to the generality of Nigerians.
Adeniran, who is the Executive Chairman, Coalition Against Corrupt Leaders (CACOL) added that there are occasions when people make remarks or give information that are not generally available in the public space. When this happens, security agencies may think that such persons could help them shed light on the issues they raised or the remarks that they made. “It has happened to me a couple of times, even in the days of military rule.
“Of course, it is the fundamental right of every citizen to have freedom of speech, association, to hold opinion and disseminate it along the dictate of the law. What should not be tolerated is a situation whereby people who do not make inflammatory remarks, are unjustly invited. It should be noted that there is no freedom that is absolute anyway,” the consultant educationalist added.
He said even when citizens resort to protests, “as long as the protests are not violent, the government does not have any business stopping it. What government should do is to send its agents to join the protesters, listen to their demands, and take the information back to government for it to know the grievances of the citizenry. It is not the business of government to be over sensitive, and resort to stopping peaceful protests with brute force. That is not acceptable in a democracy, and is a violation of citizens’ fundamental rights.
“Even though we agree that no right is absolute. But the government should be tolerant of opposing remarks. Instead of chasing after the messenger, government should find a way of fixing the complaints and ensuring that there is good governance, accommodation and tolerance.”
Attempts to get the Presidency to comment on the travails of Mailafia, the former Presidential candidate of the African Democratic Congress (ADC) in the 2019 general election failed as presidential spokespersons, Garba Shehu and Femi Adesina failed to respond to emails or calls and text messages sent to their mobile phones.
The Centre for Anti-Corruption and Open Leadership, CACOL, has commended President Muhammadu Buhari for taking the right decision in a bid to calm frayed nerves at the University of Lagos.
In a release issued by CACOL and signed by Mr. Tola Oresanwo, the anti-corruption organization’s Acting Director, Administration and Programmes on behalf of its Executive Chairman, Mr. Debo Adeniran, he stated, “it would be recalled that due to the aftermath of the announcement of the removal of Prof. Oluwatoyin Ogundipe as the University’s Vice-Chancellor on Wednesday 12th of August, 2020 at a meeting of the governing council held in Abuja, there have been several reactions from different quarters.
On our part, as a concerned civil society organization, we tried to intervene in the crisis. It is on record that a letter was sent to the President, Muhammadu Buhari on 11th December, 2019 titled “MISAPPLICATION OF PUBLIC FUNDS AT THE UNIVERSITY OF LAGOS: MATTERS ARISING” in which we suggested that “the President and Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces as the Visitor to the university could also seize the constitutional provisions to, direct the National Universities Commission (NUC) to set up a visitation panel to visit and examine the state of University of Lagos (UNILAG) as at today and act upon their findings and recommendations”.
It should also be noted that in our press release dated 19th August, 2020, “we called on Mr. President who is the Visitor to the University to intervene in the ugly situation playing out at the University”
The CACOL boss said “it gladdens our heart when we read the government’s position on the crisis as contained in a statement issued on Friday night by the Director, Press and Public Relations, in the Federal Ministry of Education, Ben Bem Goong. The statement in which the University’s Vice Chancellor, Prof. Oluwatoyin Ogundipe and the chairman of its Governing Council, Dr Wale Babalakin (SAN), was directed to step aside pending the outcome of the Special Visitation Panel set up by the President, Muhammadu Buhari. The statement also directed the Senate of the university to “nominate an acting vice-chancellor from amongst its members for confirmation by the Governing Council.”
CACOL therefore commends President Muhammadu Buhari’s wisdom for intervening in the crisis rocking the University before it goes out of hand. The decision taken by the President was in line with our earlier position as stated in the letter we sent to the President and our last press release on the same issue.
We have always believed in the principle of University Autonomy which is the institutional form of academic freedom and a necessary precondition to guarantee the proper fulfillment of the functions entrusted to higher-education teaching personnel and institutions.
We hope this intervention will not in any way violate the autonomy being enjoyed by the university and also believe this will bring a lasting solution to the crisis and engender peace and mutual co-existence between all the stakeholders of the university.
Mr. Tola Oresanwo
Acting Director, Administration and Programmes, CACOL
The Centre for Anti-Corruption and Open Leadership, CACOL, has chided the Governing Council of the University of Lagos headed by Dr. Wale Babalakin on how Prof. Oluwatoyin Ogundipe was controversially removed as the university’s Vice-Chancellor on Wednesday 12th of August, 2020 at a meeting held in Abuja.
In a release issued by CACOL and signed by Mr. Tola Oresanwo, the anti-corruption organization’s Acting Director, Administration and Programmes on behalf of its Executive Chairman, Mr. Debo Adeniran, he stated, “With bated breath, we received the news of the hasty removal of the Vice-Chancellor of the University of Lagos, Prof. Oluwatoyin Ogundipe”.
“We have been drawn to the lingering crisis within the topmost hierarchy of the university of Lagos management, occasioned by allegations of mismanagement of funds by certain officials of the university on one hand and the alleged overbearing attitude of the Pro-Chancellor of the institution, which has weighted negatively on free administration of the school that threatens the traditional and symbiotic relationship between the Governing Council, the Senate and the university’s Vice-Chancellor as the Chief Accounting officer of the ivory tower on the other end”.
“We have tried to intervene in the crisis as a concerned Civil Society Organisation and our intervention became necessary considering the primal position the affected university holds as one of the premier universities established shortly after Nigeria’s independence in the 1960s and its impressive array of alumni that cut across all social strata in the country”.
Though we were able to gather some information from a cross-section of the University community representing both sides of the divide, we could not take a stand, specifically because we could not hear the Pro-Chancellor’s side of the story directly as all our attempts including the letter of request were rebuffed on the ground that the university’s law forbade him from discussing the issues with an off-campus organization like ours.
Although, a few of the direct stakeholders including Professors sounded out at Akoka and the College of Medicine Campuses of the institution supported the Governing Council but most of them were on the side of the Vice-Chancellor.
Inasmuch as we are not saying the embattled Vice Chancellor is right or wrong, our major interest is that due process guiding the removal of a Vice-Chancellor must be followed. The fact that the selection of the Acting Vice-Chancellor announced by the Governing Council was not known to the Senate who runs the day to day activities of the University left much to be desired of the whole process leading to the removal of the Vice-Chancellor.
Moreover, the four labour unions of the university namely, the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU), Senior Staff Association of Nigerian Universities (SSANU), National Association of Academic Technologists (NAAT), and Non-Academic Staff Union (NASU) also kicked against what they described as arbitrary removal of the Vice-Chancellor and even staged a protest on Thursday, 13th of August, 2020 to demand for his reinstatement.
It is a popular saying that whenever two Elephants fight, it is the grass that will always suffer, this is what seemed to be playing out at UNILAG as the administrative impasse within the University of Lagos will no doubt not only affect the majority of undergraduate and postgraduate students of the University but also affect other areas of administration, research and teaching.
CACOL strongly recommends that the way out of this quagmire is the immediate reversal to the status quo and to allow all and sundry especially the primary stakeholders which include all the Unions in the university to agree that due process has taken its course. It is University of Lagos today; it may be another University tomorrow and if the right things are not done now, then it may turn out that the wrong precedents would have been laid for such future rascality and arbitrary hiring and firing of Vice-Chancellors in our citadel of learning.
“It is disheartening that almost a week after the announcement of the sack of the Vice-Chancellor, there has not been an official statement from either the Ministry of Education or the National Universities Commission (NUC). This seemingly conspiracy of silence from the two principal agencies of government who should be in the know concerning the running of the reputable institution of higher learning is loud enough to send the wrong signals to other stakeholders and even members of the public”.
We therefore call on Mr. President who is the Visitor to the University to intervene in the ugly situation playing out at the University now and bring all warring factions to the roundtable with a view to ensuring that lasting peace and harmony reign on the campus, so that the goodwill and the brand the university has built over the years will not be brought to disrepute and the University as a whole will not be irretrievably demarketed.
Mr. Tola Oresanwo
Acting Director, Administration and Programmes, CACOL.
The Centre for Anti-Corruption and Open Leadership, CACOL, has taken a swipe at the action of Former Zamfara State Governor, Abdulaziz Yari for allegedly assaulting an environmental officer enforcing the COVID-19 protocol put in place to curb the spread of the dreaded virus at the nation’s airports.
In a release issued by CACOL on behalf of the organization’s Chairman, Mr. Debo Adeniran and signed by its Coordinator, Administration and Programmes, Mr. Tola Oresanwo, he noted, “The Centre for Anti-Corruption and Open Leadership, CACOL received with concern and disapproval news making the rounds to the effect that the former governor of Zamfara State, Abdulaziz Yari allegedly assaulted an airport official who was doing what he was paid to do”.
It would be recalled that the airport officer, on Saturday at the Malam Aminu Kano International Airport in Kano State, tried to disinfect the luggage of the former governor who was a passenger but Yari pushed him away, claiming he was a very important personality.
“We condemn the attitude of this former governor in its entirety. His action is reckless and height of irresponsibility. By his action he has portrayed himself as an enemy of the state going by the enormity of the effects of the COVID 19 pandemic on the country. One would have expected a supposed ‘Very Important Personality’ to support and abide with all directives and protocols laid down to stem the tide of this pandemic”.
“It is lamentable that a man of his status would make nonsense of a well thought out arrangement and protocol aimed at curtailing the spread of the dreaded virus. His attitude shows that many of our past and present public office holders see themselves as superman and demigods that should always be revered, adored and worshipped wherever they are. Can he try that absurdity in a foreign land? Little wonder then, the reason many of them are so bold to engage in various acts of corruption and acting as if they were above the law while holding public offices and forgetting that power is ephemeral”.
The CACOL Chairman added, “Against this unfortunate aberration, we therefore call on Federal Airport Authority of Nigeria to put mechanism in place that would prevent reoccurrence of this unfortunate incidence and spell out sanctions that would be meted out to anyone who violate the COVID 19 protocols so as to serve as deterrent to others while calling on the former governor to publicly apologize for his action”.
The Centre for Anti-Corruption and Open Leadership, CACOL, has decried the arrest of the Acting Chairman of Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) by the officials of Department of State Services (DSS).
In a release by the Executive Chairman of CACOL, Mr. Debo Adeniran and signed by its Coordinator, Administration and Programmes, Tola Oresanwo, he stated, “The Centre for Anti-Corruption and Open Leadership, CACOL, received the news of the arrest of the Acting Chairman of Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) Mr. Ibrahim Magu by officials of Department of State Services (DSS) with mixed feelings”.
“We can recall that the arrest is coming barely two weeks after the Attorney-General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami (SAN) reportedly complained to the President, Muhammadu Buhari about Magu’s conduct and advised that he should be relieved of his appointment. The AGF was said to have accused Magu of insubordination and discrepancies in the figures of funds recovered by the EFCC”.
“Though the details of his arrest is still sketchy, we believed that inasmuch as no one is above the law Mr. Magu just like every other citizen of the country can be call to give an account of his stewardship at anytime, our position is that it would have been nice if Mr. Magu was investigated by the Special Fraud Unit (SFU) or other anti corruption agency of government but not DSS that has continually shown bias towards him (Magu) going by the report submitted to the Senate by the DSS which has stalled his confirmation as the Chairman of EFCC for some years now. It is a common knowledge that there had been no love lost between DSS and the person of Mr. Magu. We have also observed that the relationship between EFCC, DSS and Ministry of Justice had been frosty over the years”.
“In view of the above, we hope Mr. Magu would be able to defend himself and come out clean from the myriads of allegations leveled against him. We are also optimistic that he will be given a fair hearing and his rights will be respected.
Since he has demonstrated extra courage in the fight against corruption in the country we hope his arrest is not a case of ‘Corruption fighting back’.”
“A situation where the Acting Chairman of EFCC is ‘invited for questioning’ with a very short notice could cost the fight against corruption serious setback, as well as much embarrassment to the Federal Government and its anti-corruption stance, hence, the need for the various agencies of government to always be mindful of their actions at all times”.
The Centre for Anti-Corruption and Open Leadership, CACOL, has hailed the Federal High Court Abuja for granting an order of interim forfeiture of 48 choice properties, allegedly belonging to a former chairman of the Nigerian Social Insurance Trust Funds, Ngozi Olejeme.
In a press release issued by the anti-graft coalition’s Coordinator for Administration and Programmes, Mr. Tola Oresanwo on behalf of its Chairman, Mr. Debo Adeniran, he noted, “it would be recalled that the forfeiture order was granted after the counsel for the EFCC, Ekele Iheanacho, convinced the court that the said property was purchased with proceeds of crime. The former chairman of the Nigerian Social Insurance Trust Funds, Ngozi Olejeme who was also the treasurer of the Jonathan-Sambo Campaign Organisation in 2015 has been on the run since 2016 and was in September 2017, declared wanted by the EFCC for criminal conspiracy, abuse of office, diversion of public funds and money laundering. She was alleged to have, along with the former managing director of NSITF, Mr Umar Abubakar, mismanaged and diverted over 69 billion Naira”.
“The court presided over by Justice Taiwo Taiwo, in granting the application, ruled that the interim order should be published in a leading newspaper within seven days of receipt of the order and for any interested party to show cause within 14 days why the property should not be permanently forfeited to the government”.
The chair of the Anti-Corruption Coalition said “we commend, laud and enthuse on the Justice Taiwo Taiwo of the Federal High Court, Abuja for granting an order of interim forfeiture for these choice properties though the principal suspect in the case is still at large”.
“We can also recollect how President Buhari, recently asked the current Managing Director, Nigeria Social Insurance Trust Fund, Mr Adebayo Somefun, to go on immediate and indefinite suspension for alleged financial misappropriation.
In a statement by the Ministry of Labour and Employment on Thursday stated that 11 other officials in the NSITF were also asked to proceed on suspension. Their suspension, according to the ministry, was due to the preliminary established prima facie infractions of the Financial Regulations and Procurement Act, and other acts of gross misconduct”.
“This recent suspension of the top management cadre of the fund is an indication that corruption has indeed found its safe abode in the nest of the trust fund. It further shows that these set of people who were entrusted with the fund cannot be trusted as they have continually been dipping their hands in the cookie jar”.
The CACOL’s Chief added “It is pathetic and lamentable that in a country with majority of its citizens living far below the poverty line and where social safety nets are almost nonexistent, the fund allocated for social insurance can be misappropriated and spent without recourse to due process”.
“We therefore call on the Federal Government to immediately and as a matter of urgency audit the role of the suspended officers in financial and procurement breaches as well as in gross misconduct in the NSITF from 2016 till date as stated in the statement from the Ministry of Labour and Employment and if found wanton they should be handed over to the anti-corruption agencies for necessary prosecution. The government should not fold its arms and allow unscrupulous public officials to run the various parastatals of government in their care aground while illegally enriching their private purses”.
The Centre for Anti-Corruption and Open Leadership, CACOL, with clear mandate for anti-corruption crusade and open, transparent governance has hailed the Auditor-General of the Federation for exposing the financial misappropriation of several millions in the records of the Nigerian Law School.
In a press release issued by the anti-graft coalition’s Coordinator for Administration and Programmes, Mr. Tola Oresanwo on behalf of its Chairman, Mr. Debo Adeniran, he noted, “it would be recalled that the Office of Auditor-General of the Federation uncovered multiple infractions in the school records, ranging from outright misappropriation to spending without approval and necessary appropriation. The Auditor-General’s Financial Report for 2015 which was submitted to the Senate Committee on Public Accounts for investigation indicted the management of the Nigerian Law School and exposed how N32 million was paid to an unnamed “cleaner over a period of 12 months.”
The payment, it was noted was not appropriated in the budget of the Nigerian Law School, which indicated the money was withdrew directly from its internally generated revenue without necessary approval. The Auditor-General also queried the payment of another N36 million as dressing allowance through the account of one of the staff for 52 others; again without approval and in violation of Nigeria’s Financial Act.
The Auditor-General’s report also indicated that the financial record of the Law School showed very weak signs of internal control measures, the Law School Storehouse had no ledger to show its inflows and outflows with some of its bank mandates not dated and even the Internal Auditor official stamp was not numbered; suggesting massive recklessness in the finance of the Law School.
The anti-corruption czar noted that “It is despicable that an institution meant to train and develop the cognitive, affective and psychomotor domains of legal professionals could be embroiled in acts of corruption like this. What are the values the school wants to inculcate in our young lawyers, if it cannot be run with probity and accountability?”
It is in light of these revealing allegations that we (CACOL) commend the Office of the Auditor General of the Federation for submitting the report to the Senate Committee on Public Accounts for investigation. We urge the authorities not to sweep this case under the carpet and call on the Anti-corruption agencies to take this case up and carry out diligent and meticulous investigation in order to bring all known culprits from both past and present management staff of the school to book by recovering all the misappropriated funds, while making them to face the full wrath of the law to serve as necessary deterrent”
The Centre for Anti-Corruption and Open Leadership, CACOL, has called on anti-corruption agencies in the country for necessary investigation of fraud allegation rocking the Lagos State Waste Management Authority (LAWMA).
In a release issued by CACOL and signed by Mr Tola Oresanwo, the anti-corruption organization’s Coordinator, Administration and Programmes on behalf of its Executive Chairman, Mr Debo Adeniran, he stated, “It would be recalled that Fraud running into hundreds of millions of naira has been reportedly uncovered in the Lagos State Waste Management Authority. The Punch newspaper reported that the beneficiaries were some contractors, who engaged street sweepers for the cleaning of Lagos roads. It was learnt that due to the connection of some of the culprits, who are mostly politicians, there was fear nothing would be done about the discovery. It was also reported that a former Chief Executive Officer and Managing Director of LAWMA, Dr Muyiwa Gbadegesin, was said to have been removed as storms gathered on allegations of fraud in the system. It was also reported that the running cost of LAWMA rose from about N540m to N1bn and the governor, who wanted to save money, asked the former Managing Director to step aside for an audit while the new Managing Director, Mr Ibrahim Odumboni, was asked to oversee the process.
“The report, detailed how the management of the agency had been siphoning public funds through corrupt practices of padded wage bills by contractors of the Lagos State Waste Management Authority and passed the cost to government as the salaries of their workers”.
“The PUNCH reported that trouble started when auditors got to the Ikorodu area to verify claims made by the contractor in charge of the route. She (contractor) was identified as Iron Lady and allegedly had 66 routes assigned to her. The woman, it was said, claimed to have 2,310 workers. The auditors discovered that most of the names submitted by the woman to collect money were non-existent, while a number of the routes were unkempt. Based on the figures she submitted to the government, her company was collecting over N80m monthly from LAWMA. On the appointed day, only half of the number she gave showed up for verification. In some cases, a sweeper would be discovered to own several phones documented under different names”.
The report also has it that the audit was only one week old when a protest broke out among the street sweepers, who claimed that they had not been paid for several months.
The CACOL boss also said “from our direct interactions with some of the sweepers in the State the Punch story is not far from the truth. It is also noteworthy that the Commissioner for the Environment also corroborated the Punch story by saying “there was no reason why the Agency should owe the sweepers because their funding comes directly from the Ministry of Finance”.
The anti-graft czar added, “Considering the strategic and critical role of the agency in the maintenance of cleanliness in the State, we are seriously concerned about the enormity of corruption going on in the waste management authority in the State. We, therefore, call on the anti-corruption agencies to quickly wade into the matter now with a view to sanitizing it and bring those responsible for the alleged fraud to book so as to serve as a deterrent to others while maintaining a cleaner environment for all Lagosians”.
“We, therefore, make a clarion call for the immediate handing over of the former Managing Director of the Agency to the ICPC or EFCC to answer for the allegations. The laxity, mediocrity and ineptitude he brought on LAWMA are the reasons why everywhere was flooded during the week and a few lives and property were lost irretrievably”.
“We also call on the State Commissioner for Environment to as a matter of urgency constitute an emergency Drainage De-silting Exercise to safe people from imminent floods as heavier rains are still expected before the last quarter of the year”.