N1bn School Projects Scandal: Nasarawa SSG Indicted, To Refund Over N248.5m

The Nasarawa State House of Assembly (NSHA) Ad-hoc committee investigating the alleged one billion naira released in 2018 for the renovation/fencing of secondary schools in the State has asked the former Commissioner for Education and current Secretary to the Government of Nasarawa State, Alhaji Aliyu Ahmed Tijani to refund over N248.5 million as unaccounted funds to the coffers of the State Government.

Hon Daniel Oga Ogazi (APC-Kokona East), the Chairman of the committee made this known while presenting the committee’s reports during the House proceeding in Lafia today (June 1, 2020).

Honourable Daniel Oga Ogazi, Chairman of the Ad-Hoc Committee presenting the report before the House today

Rt. Hon Ibrahim Balarabe Abdullahi, the Speaker of the House, after receiving the reports slated tomorrow Tuesday, June 2nd, 2020, for deliberation on the report.

Ogazi, while presenting the committee’s report, said that the former Commissioner displayed blatant inefficiency, incompetence and ineffectiveness in the performance of his official duties.

According to him, based on findings by the committee, the total sum of N873, 233,942.60 was expended based on information from the Payment Vouchers (PVs) excluding 5% deductions for Monitoring and Evaluation (M $ E), as payments for the completed and uncompleted projects.

“During our investigation, we have summoned the Commissioner for Education, her principal officers and management staff, the former Permanent Secretary of the ministry, the former Commissioner for Education and now SSG, Commissioner for Works, his principal officers as well as the contractors that handled various works.

Honourable Ogazi laying the report before the mace

“As during our investigation, the SSG has agreed that he will take responsibility of his action.

“The total released contract sum was N1, 084,000,000 Naira only, if N873, 233,942.60 is deducted from the total contract sum, this will amount to N210, 766, 057.40.

“Then add 5% Monitoring and Evaluation which is N37, 718, 499.19. The total sum of unaccounted funds will amount to N248, 484,556.60,” he said.

Ogazi urged the government to declare state of emergency on all the project sites to ensure its completion.

“All contractors who completed their work should be paid immediately by the ministry and all payments made to the unknown contractors should be refunded to government coffers immediately.

Speaker of the Nasarawa State House of Assembly, Rt. Hon Ibrahim Balarabe Abdullahi receiving the report

“Funds should be released to contractors who have the capacity and ability to carry out the work,” he said.

He also called on contractors who collected money and refused to carry out the renovation/fencing to do so within one month or face the consequences.

The committee chairman urged the Ministry of Education to take an on-the-spot assessment of all uncompleted projects to see the level of work done and to make funds available for the completion of same in the interest of development.

It would be recalled that on March 17, 2020, the Speaker of the Nasarawa State House of Assembly, Rt. Hon Ibrahim Balarabe Abdullahi, constituted an ad-hoc committee to carry out a thorough investigation on how the one billion naira approved by the immediate past administration for the renovation/fencing of public secondary schools in the state was spent.

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