The Director of Finance and Administration (DFA) in Nasarawa State Ministry of Finance, Mr. Abdul N Abdul, has alleged that the Secretary to the State Government (SSG), Ahmed Aliyu Tijjani, compelled him to deliver N1billion cash to him and not through e-payment.
He was speaking with members of the ad hoc committee of the House of Assembly investigating the SSG over his alleged involvement in the diversion of N1billion meant for renovation of secondary schools across the state.
Abdul said that his attempt to advise the SSG, who was then the Commissioner for Education, against moving government money to that tune in cash, was rebutted by him, and that he delivered the money to him under duress.
The DFA spoke on Monday at the House of Assembly when he appeared before the committee investigating the diversion of N1billion by the SSG when he served as the Commissioner for Education.
Speaking earlier, Commissioner for Education, Science and Technology Fatu Sabo told the investigative committee that the said N1billion was released to the ministry and expended before she came and her handover note did not capture the release and expenditure of the money.
She said that she became aware of the projects when N50million was released to the ministry to pay contractors, who had completed their work.
“I try to find out from the Director, Research and Statistics in the Ministry of Works to constitute a verifiable team to ascertain whether the projects were executed before I authorised payment.
“That was when I knew about the N1billion, the total sum of the whole contract was N1.4billion for 209 projects in 69 schools” Sabo said
Speaking while inaugurating the committee, Speaker Ibrahim Balarabe Abdullahi said the Assembly is determined to dig deep into the diversion of N1billion meant for the renovation of secondary schools across the state.
He said: “On March 17, we invited the SSG and he gave an unsatisfactory explanation. When he appeared here, he accepted that N1billion was released to him in November 2018 when he was Commissioner for Education.
“But the Committee on Education had during their oversight functions discovered that most of the jobs were not done, making our children to sit under the trees and inside the scorching sun to receive lessons.
“This calls for public concern. We are resolute that we must get to the root of the matter. Since this investigation started, we have been receiving threat text messages of mischief, harassment and insults, but it can’t stop the investigation.
“People are calling us names such as taxi drivers, keke drivers, but we are not bothered, we have an obligation to serve this state and ensure good governance.
“If you have been accused of committing any wrong, it is for you to come and clear your name, rather than resorting to insult on the social media, asking your thugs to attack members. We must get to the root of the matter.”
The Speaker urged the committee not to be afraid of any intimidation, but should be focused by doing a good job, digging deep into how the money was diverted without work being done.
The committee Chairman, Daniel Ogazi, assured the Speaker that the investigating committee under his leadership would not allow anybody to intimidate them.
“Our children in public schools are sitting under the trees and in the scorching sun. No name dropping will stop this investigation. We are investigating the diversion of N1billion and the person involved has admitted that he collected the money,” he said.