President Muhammadu Buhari’s silence amidst monumental fraud and impunity at Upper Benue River Basin Development Authority, a federal agency in Yola, Adamawa State, is horrifying, a group has said.
The National Youth Council of Nigeria, on Wednesday in Yola, the Adamawa state capital, decried President Buhari’s refusal to effect the removal of the former Managing Director of the agency, Abubakar Mu’azu, whose tenure ended on June 6, 2020.
NYCN had argued that even if Mu’azu were to be reappointed, it was ethically and morally wrong for the president to allow him to illegally discharge the functions of the office of MD, without officially reappointing him.
The youth group said it suspected that corruption and religious cards were at play.
The group also said it believed that the next highest-ranking officer, due to succeed Mu’azu, was being blocked because of his Christian faith.
A spokesperson for NYCN, Shehu Kamile, said they were issuing a 7-day ultimatum for the president to do the needful and remove Mu’azu to face prosecution, failure of which would lead to protests.
He said, “We demand that President Buhari should enforce Mu’azu’s removal from office.”
A whistleblower, Bashiru Ahmed, had raised the alarm, urging anti-graft agencies to investigate corruption allegations against Mu’azu, running into billions of naira.
However, the investigation revealed that Mu’azu, who seems untouchable, is being backed by powerful godfathers within the presidency, to remain in office against the law.
It was gathered that the president’s Assistant on Domestic Affairs, Sarki Abba, and Minister of Water Resources, Adamu Suleiman, are some of the forces backing Mu’azu’s illegal stay in office.
According to a whistleblower’s revelation, Water Resources Minister Suleiman, who is President Buhari’s nephew, has some vested interest in Songhai modelled farm; a project set up by the President to stimulate agricultural growth.
Songhai modelled farm is one of the multi-billion naira water projects being executed by the Upper Benue River Basin Development Authority.
He said, “Notwithstanding, there has never been any activity on the project site. Songhai modelled farm has gulped the following budgetary allocations in the past three years: 2018….N510,000,000; 2019….N378,000,000; 2020….N114,000,000.
“Also Mu’azu was grilled by ICPC investigators last year and he implicated the Minister of Water Resource, who was subsequently invited for questioning.
“What remains to be seen for now is whether President Buhari will heed the public outcry and wade into the matter; else corruption will continue to rubbish the administration’s claim of fighting corruption.”