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How ex-Katsina governor blew N5.7bn on politics -Ex-aide

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A witness told the Federal High Court in Katsina Tuesday of how about N5.7 billion Subsidy Reinvestment and Empowerment Programme (SURE-P) funds went down the drain.

Nasiru Ingawa, Special Adviser to former Katsina State Governor Ibrahim Shema on SURE-P, said at the Federal High Court in Katsina that Shema directed him to spend the cash on politics.

The former special adviser testified at the resumed hearing of a fraud case against Shema.

Shema is standing trial before the court on a 26- count charge bordering on fraud, in contravention of Section 15(2d) of the Money Laundering Prohibition Act, 2011, as amended.

The offences are punishable under Section 15 (3) of the Act.

Ingawa told the court that he was the Special Adviser to Shema on SURE-P from June, 2014 to May, 2015.

“I remember him (Shema) telling me that we were going to use the funds for politics and that we would extract our savings from there,’’ he said.

He said that the duo wrote memos for certain programmes and used half of the money; the remaining half went into savings.

Ingawa also said that the department made direct purchases from which a certain percentage would go into savings.

He added that sometimes, they wrote memos for programmes not implemented at all.

“The tradition is that I had to sit down and discuss with him on any programme; if he agreed, he would instruct me on exactly how much the savings should be from that programme,’’ he said.

The witness testified that, sometimes, he gave the funds to Shema directly; other times, he (Shema) instructed him who to give.

“All money from SURE-P account were withdrawn in cash, with the exception of few programmes which the withdrawal was done with cheques,’’ Ingawa said.

After the evidence, the prosecution counsel, Mr O. I. Uket, applied for adjournment, which the defence counsel did not object to.

Justice Hadiza Rabiu Shagari adjourned the hearing till January 14, next year when the trial will continue.

The former governor was arraigned on a 26-count charge bordering on alleged money laundering of N5.7 billion SURE-P funds on July 17.

The trial started de novo (afresh) following the transfer of the trial judge Justice Babagana Ashigar. He was replaced by Justice Shagari.

When the charges were read to him, Shema pleaded not guilty to all the 26 counts.

Defense counsel Mr A.T Kehinde, (SAN), moved an application for his client to continue to enjoy the bail earlier granted to him. Prosecution counsel Jibrin Okutepa, (SAN) did not object to the bail application of the defendant. He informed the court that the Administration of Criminal Justice Act provided that an accused already granted bail could continue to enjoy the terms of the previous bail conditions. The previous bail conditions, the court directed the defendant to deposit his international passport in the court registry. Justice Shagari granted the former governor bail on the conditions previously provided by the court and adjourned the case till yesterday for trial.

The Subsidy Reinvestment and Empowerment Programme (SURE-P) was established by the Goodluck Jonathan administration to re-invest the savings from fuel subsidy removal on critical infrastructure and social safety net programmes with direct impact on citizens.

The scheme was established in January 2012 when the government announced the removal of subsidy on Petroleum Motor Spirit (PMS).

Its core objectives being to provide employments for unemployed graduates through internship programmes and create a database of unemployed youths and reduce social vulnerability through the mechanism of the policy.

Shema is also standing trial before Katsina State High Court for alleged diversion of about N11 billion state funds during his tenure following a petition by the state government to the EFCC.

Shema is being tried in the second case alongside three others – former Commissioner for Local Government Affairs, Sani Makana, ex- Katsina ALGON Chairman Lawal Dankaba and former Permanent Secretary Ministry for Local Governments Lawal Rufai.

They are facing 24 count charges of alleged misappropriation of about N11bn of local government funds.

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THE NATION

Firm hails Abdullahi’s appointment as NITDA DG

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An Information Communication Technology hub in sub-Saharan Africa, Global IT, has hailed President Muhammadu Buhari for appointing Kashifu Inuwa Abdullahi as the Director-General/CEO of the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA).

Country Director of the Global IT Rasheed Bakare, in a commendation letter to the President, praised the appointment of 39-year-old Abdullahi, whom he described as a digital guru and an industry key player with passion to improve on his predecessors’ achievements in NITDA.

Bakare said: “Abdullahi, for a couple of years, has shown and proved to be a world-class professional who will use his wide network to take NITDA to the next level, in line with the vision of Mr. President and the agency’s role as the clearing house for IT projects and infrastructural development.”

Global IT advised Abdullahi to live above board and justify the confidence reposed in him by the president.

Abdullahi is a graduate of Computer Science from Abubakar Tafawa Balewa University, Bauchi, and a Massachusetts Institute of Technology – MIT Sloan – trained strategist with 15 years of experience in IT operations, business transformation and solution architecture across the private and public sectors.

He attended Leadership and Management courses at Harvard University in the United States of America (USA), University of Cambridge in the United Kingdom (UK) and IMD Business School in Switzerland.

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Yaba Psychiatric Hospital doctors’ strike enters 4th week

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The strike action embarked on the 31st of July 2019 by the  Association of Resident Doctors, Federal  Neuropsychiatric Hospital, Yaba has entered its fourth week.

The doctors are protesting what they have described as a “severe lack of doctors to provide seamless delivery of mental health service.”

The strike action was reviewed on Monday August 19th, 2019 when the doctors deliberated for over six hours to review their ongoing industrial action.

The review meeting was called due to timely interventions of key stakeholders.

After their deliberations, the resident doctors in a statement made available to the press “resolved to CONTINUE our industrial action to insist on standard mental health  care for our clients and quality work experience for our overworked doctors, until such a time the Hospital Management deems it fit to meet our singular demand!”

Find below their resolutions:

“1. The Hospital Management is insensitive to the plight of over 535 in-patients and 220 outpatients daily who now receive suboptimal, if not pernicious,  mental health service in the 20 days that this industrial action has been allowed to fester without goal-directed interventions

2. The Hospital Management has blatantly refused to replace the annual exit of resident doctors  for the past four years. Instead, they have let  patient load and clinical work increase significantly for hapless resident doctors  whose health and academic pursuits have suffered irreparably

3. In light of the above, the Hospital Management’s insistence on employing only FIVE locum doctors is highly provocative of our demands. It hardly improves the status quo which already puts overworked resident doctors at the brink of academic failure, health challenges and malpractice suits

Our Resolution

We have resolved to CONTINUE our industrial action to insist on standard mental health  care for our clients and quality work experience for our overworked doctors, until such a time the Hospital Management deems it fit to meet our singular demand!

To this end, we call on Nigerian citizens and the  Presidency under the able leadership of  President Muhammadu Buhari to prevail on the Hospital Management to do the needful in line with the Next Level Agenda of this administration.

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THE NATION

Meet Kashifu Abdullahi, new DG of NITDA and ‘architect’ of cashless banking in Nigeria

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President Muhammadu Buhari has appointed Kashifu Inuwa Abdullahi as the new Director-General/CEO of the National Information Technology Development Agency, NITDA.

The appointment was disclosed by the Senior Special Assistant to President Muhammadu Buhari on Media & Publicity, Garba Shehu.

Below is the profile of the new NITDA helmsman

Born on February 21, 1980, Kashifu Inuwa Abdullahi is a graduate of Computer Science from the prestigious Abubakar Tafawa Balewa University, Bauchi.

Mr Abdullahi is a Massachusetts Institute of Technology – MIT Sloan – trained strategist with 15 years of experience in IT operations, business transformation and solution architecture, across both private and public sectors.

He attended Leadership and Management courses at Harvard University in the USA, University of Cambridge in the UK and IMD Business School in Switzerland.

As the 1st Cisco Certified Internetwork Expert (CCIE) in Nigeria’s Public Sector, he is also a certified project manager and solution architect. He also has many professional certifications in networking, telecommunications, service management and Solution design such as: Huawei telecommunications engineer, Cisco design professional, ITIL, Prince2, etc.

He has worked at Galaxy Backbone as Network Engineer, IP Network Field Engineer, Senior Network & Lead, IP Operations Team, and Senior Solution Architect & Lead, Technical Solution Design Team between 2004 to 2013.

In 2014, he joined Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) as a Technology Architect, where he dedicated his time to developing Technology Architecture Repository that gives 360 view of the Bank’s IT infrastructure and easy decision on new IT investment. He was part of the team that executed software license rationalization which has increased cost savings for the bank in license annual subscriptions.

Mr Abdullahi was a key resource in the development of IT standards for the apex bank, which has reduced mean time to deploy/integrate new system by over 20%. One of his major achievements as a Technology architect was the production of 7 Solution Architectures for critical IT initiatives that helped in achieving cashless society in Nigeria.

He joined NITDA in 2017 as Technical Assistant to the Director General/CEO. Being the IT regulatory body in Nigeria mandated to implement National ICT policy, he Managed execution of strategy which has increased ICT contribution to Nigerian GDP by over 13% in Q2 2018.

The new DG coordinated Local Content initiatives that has increased ICT local production by over 200% in 2017.

He also overhauled IT clearance process and encouraged shared services among agencies. This has helped Federal Government saved over 16Bn NGN from IT projects.

Mr Abdullahi also oversaw procurement process that has reduced cost of major projects by over 5% in two consecutive annual procurement cycles.

Additionally, he managed project execution that has implemented over 300 IT infrastructure intervention.

Mr Abdullahi is a member of both British Computer Society (BCS) and Nigeria Computer Society (NCS) in addition to many memberships to his credit.

He is a recipient of 100 Leading Telecom and ICT Personalities in Nigeria – By Association of Telecommunications Companies of Nigeria (ATCON).

Mr Abdullahi is from Hadejia, Jigawa State, and he is married with children.

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