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Monday, March 4, 2024

NIRSAL: Case of a Cesspool of Corruption under AbdulHameed – By Sanusi Muhammad



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Sometimes in 2021, an Abuja based Non-Government Organization, Transparency for National Development, had called on the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) under the leadership of an identified  corruption personified governor, Godwin Emefiele and the anti-corruption agencies to commence the probe of the stewardship of the managing director of Nigeria Incentive-Based Risk Sharing System for Agriculture Lending (NIRSAL), Aliyu AbdulHameed, whom they described as unfit for trust to pilot the affairs of such an important organ of government going by his leadership antecedents at the organization.

In a letter of petition, signed by its National Director for Legal Services, Barr. Edward Shikzum, it was alleged that at several instances, AbdulHameed had violated the executive directive of President Buhari, to public servants on flying first class while going on official assignments that cost NIRSAL unnecessary economic burden against laid down policies that shouldn’t had been wished away for any reason.

Transparency alleged that the now sacked managing director had misappropriated over N342 million that released on July 19, 2018 by the Central Bank of Nigeria under its Anchor Borrowers Programme (ABP), an action that caused the loss of about N600million, and that N1 billion was withheld by NIRSAL in respect of Imo and Delta States Intervention Fund that needed further investigation to expose other cases of suspected malfeasance associated with the withhold but that was ignored by the authorities concerned.

Barr Shikzum stated that contrary to former President Buhari’s directive of placing a ban on foreign trainings, the disobedient and rude managing director violated the executive directive and dispatched some favored NIRSAL selected staff to South Africa that needed further verification to dig deep down into the cause of the violation and insubordination but that was also ignored, stressing that the engagement of Nextzone, Blue Accord and Global Knowledge Consulting by NIRSAL needed further check to expose suspected case of compromise for corrupt practice as the engagement from documents made available violated the Federal Government’s rules of engagement as was circulated through an official circular signed by the former Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), Sen. Anyim Pius Anyim and relevant sections of the Public Procurement Act.

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The NGO further stated that one Babangida AbdulHameed, suspected to be a blood brother of Aliyu AbdulHameed (managing director), was the Technical Assistant of NIRSAL who handled all procurement related matters of the organization, showing a clear case of nepotism, compromise and ease of corrupt practices for further verification and action if the people’s confidence is of any value to agricultural policies of President Tinubu, Central Bank of Nigeria, NIRSAL, Civil Society Groups  and the renewed and modified anti-corruption fight of President Tinubu.

It further stated that, “apart from Babangida AbdulHameed, there was also Imran AbdulHamameed, who is suspected to be a biological son of Aliyu AbdulHameed that was co-opted into NIRSAL to serve as its sole supplier of office equipments, Desk top computers, laptops and other office requirements. Most of the supply contracts were suspiciously awarded from memos in our possession in violation of the Public Procurement Act that needs discreet investigation to clear the cloud beclouding transparency and probity in the affairs of NIRSAL under Aliyu AbdulHameed. We confirmed the relationship between Aliyu AbdulHameed, Babangida AbdulHameed and Imran from their Yola (Adamawa State) ancestral home to verify our claim”.

The NGO added that should a discreet investigation be conducted as requested, several cases of fraud, diversion, violation of presidential directives and nepotism shall be exposed as there are several cases of backdating of documents to tally with current requests to cover either violation of presidential directives, supplies or misappropriation of public funds under different guises.

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“A check at NIRSAL reveals that the former managing director apart from being dictatorial, pompous and administering the organization with primitiveness, he boasted of having the backing of his blood brother at the CBN, the now embattled CBN Governor and connected to the then presidency and some security agents that provided him cover”.

Meanwhile, despite several pleas and attempts to have reached the now sacked managing director for his side of the story when it was ripe, we were turned down by overzealous and poorly trained security guards strategically stationed at the entrance of NIRSAL as one of them expressed his fear of immediate sack should he allow us entry into the premises without a valid invitation from any member of staff.

As the sack of Aliyu AbdulHameed was announced, NIRSAL frustrated members of staff who survived under his dictatorship jubilated for the needful as the organization stands to benefit from the commitment of a brand new managing director.

Meanwhile, as of the time of filing this report, the sacked managing director was arrested by an anti-corruption agency in Abuja for a case of stealing over N5billion from NIRSAL meant for wheat production in Jigawa and Kano states. He is now a guest of the anti-corruption agency to vomit what he stole that caused declined in massive wheat production for economic benefit. He is in fact, an economic saboteur that should be thoroughly investigated.

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