Farmers are confronted with various degrees of maladies, from the utilization of less arable land, inability to produce high quality and bountiful yields, or rearing healthy and numerous livestock, to lack of modern agricultural tools and facilities, financial insecurity, good education for farmers’children and qualitative living conditions. To address these trucks of problems, the former President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan’s government, in 2011, launched an agricultural system which was tagged: the Nigerian Incentive-Based Risk Sharing System for Agricultural Lending (NIRSAL).
The NIRSAL was conceived to address the aforementioned maladies through issuance of high flow of private credit from commercial banks to the agricultural sector in Nigeria, due to perception of agriculture being a high risk/low security sector. In 2013, NIRSAL was incorporated by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) with a takeoff grant of $500 million US Dollars, given the mandate to de-risk agriculture and promote credit to the sector from the commercial banking system. However, the NIRSAL has not only fallen short of its primary objectives, it has equally become a den, not just of lions, but also of corruption, wherein stained personalities like its current Managing Director, Mr. Aliyu Abatti Abdul Hameed and a host of others siphoned NIRSAL funds for their personal use.
ALIYU ABDULHAMEED, IDRIS AWEDA AND MUHAMMEDABDULKADIR DIVERSION OF NIRSAL FUNDS
NIRSAL’s Head of Finance, Idris Issa Aweda, as a conduit is on record for routinely using three personal bank accounts: FCMB (4986133010), GTB (0245155058), and Stanbic IBTC for receiving proceeds of fraud on behalf of the Managing Director. In spite of the fact that NIRSAL is not a security agency, Aliyu Abdulhameed fraudulently orders payment of money for “advance for security challenge in the North-East on the farms fields”,“security challenge in the North- Central on the farms fields”, “advance for external security issue armored car” and “advance for security challenge in the South-East on the farms fields”. These illegal funds are directly wired into the private bank accounts of Aweda.
On the 16th day of August, 2017, at 4:50 PM, NIRSAL paid N8 million into the GTB account number0245155058 of Aweda being payment for “security”. Also, on October 6, 2017, at 4:56 PM, NIRSAL credited Aweda’s GTB account with the sum of N8 million for “security imprest”. As at October 2019, Aweda still received money in his personal account. At 9:31 AM, on October 23, 2019, over N12 million was paid into Aweda’s FCMB account 4986133027. This is despite the fact that neither NIRSAL nor Mr. Idris Aweda is a security agency. Find below some of the transactions that constitute part of the over One Billion Naira that have been so far diverted by these individuals in the name of “Security”. These monies are moved from the accounts of Idris Aweda to that of Bureau De Change for foreign currency which is always handed over to Muhammed Abdulkadir, the Personal Assistance to the ‘Ex’ MD, Aliyu Abdulhameed:
Muhammed Abdulkadir is a notorious name that deserves capitalized emphasis. He is involved in almost every shady transaction that happens in NIRSAL as a witness and a facilitator. He is also aware of a number of high end properties purchased by the MD as he facilitated the purchase of most of these properties, including houses in Maitama, Katampe, Eko Atlantic, Lagos, Germany (through one Baba Ali), the UK, Dubai, and South Africa as well as a massive plot of land on airport road Abuja, formerly owned by Diff Hospital, and a farmland in Gembu, Taraba State. Muhammed Abdulkadir has been aiding and abetting fraud to the tune of billions of Naira on behalf of the MD.
Another individual who is rootedly involved in procurement fraud on behalf of the MD is Dr. Olusegun Steven Ogidan.
WHO IS DR. OLUSEGUN STEVEN OGIDAN? AND WHAT ROLE DOES HE PLAY IN ALIYU’S SIPHONING OF NIRSAL FUNDS?
Dr. Olusegun Steven Ogidan is NIRSAL’s National Coordinating Consultant of Project Monitoring and Remediation Offices (PMRO). But what the public does not know is that, he is far more than that. Mr. Ogidan is the anchor man who is being used by Mr. Aliyu AbdulHameed to divert over 30 billion Naira from NIRSAL’s coffer. Besides his skilled diversion of public funds, he is also talented in the use of looted funds to purchase properties both within and outside Nigeria, this he proved excellently with the various properties he bought for Mr. Aliyu with stolen NIRSAL funds.
Mr. Ogidan is solely in charge of all NIRSAL’s operations across the 36 states including the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja, via his company Successory Limited, with headquarters at 54B Abidjan Street, Wuse Zone 3, Abuja. The office building itself was purchased and rebuilt by Mr Ogidan from proceeds of fraud. Mr. Ogidan is also the owner of Beresh Consulting, also registered in South Africa with him as a director. The company also has Aluko Akinyele Oluwole, Makolo Samuel Omakoji, and Bamigboye Anthony Akinloye as directors.
Interestingly, Mr Aluko Akinyele is the coordinator of PMRO in the South West while Mr Makolo Samuel also worked as a PMRO consultant for NIRSAL. IS IT NOT CLEAR THAT THE BERESH CONSULTING WAS SPECIFICALLY ESTABLISHED IN 2018 WITH THE SOLE PURPOSE OF LAUNDERING NIRSAL FUNDS?
MR. STEVEN OGIDAN (HEAD, PROJECT MANAGEMENT,NIRSAL), PURCHASE OF PROPERTIES FOR MD ALIYUABDULHAMEED WITH NIRSAL LOOTED FUNDS
Millions of dollars have been sent to the Middle East, South Africa, United States, and Europe through Mr Ogidan for the purchase of properties and luxury vehicles and items including a five star resort in South Africa where substantial shares of the hotel were purchased for the sum of $5 Million. Mr Ogidan sits as a shareholder and a director of the hotel. The name of the hotel is Vivari Hotel and it’s located at 30 Bryanston Drive, Sandton, Johannesburg.
Below are some pictures of the Vivari hotel:
Other properties fraudulently acquired by Mr. Ogidan on behalf of Mr. Aliyu AbdulHameed are: Vivari Spa
TROPICAL PARADISE TRADING LTD
Rotem International Services LTD
This address was used as the registered address for Beresh Consulting in South Africa. Beresh Consulting was also used for a training program that involved over 100 NIRSAL staff in South Africa. This contract, awarded to Beresh by NIRSAL, was to the tune of over N2 Billion Naira.
On quarterly basis, key persons from every PMRO are invited to a training session in Abuja. NIRSAL spends the sum of N40 Million to organize this training. However most of the funds are diverted by the NCC (Dr. Ogidan).
For instance, a Head of PMRO is entitled to the sum of N57,600 per night (N172,800 for 3 nights) as duty tour allowance, but ends up being paid N20,000 (N60,000 for 3 nights) – the sum diverted in this case is calculated as N8,288,000 (i.e. N112,000 X 74 attendees) per event. The bulk of the money (N21 million) is usually spent on training manuals that are never printed (5,200 copies at the rate of N4,200 each).
The MD through Mr Ogidan, has from the above been diverting the sum of over N204 Million on monthly basis, and a total of N2.4 Billion annually over the past 4 years, making it a total of over N8.5 Billion. This is done through the ghost-worker scheme and slashing of PMRO staff salaries. The total amount of money being spent by the Central Bank on PMRO monthly is about N309 Million. This is allocated to the 12 Zonal Coordinating Consultants (ZCCs) in charge of the 36 state offices across the country. Head PMROs receive the sum of N350,000 as monthly salary instead of N850,000 as outlined in the subsisting contract representing 41% of salary sum payable. This implies that the sum of N181million representing 59% of funds due to PMRO is continually diverted on a monthly basis since inception.
Mr Ogidan recently married a South African Lady, Julita Matlou, in order to allow him to complete his documentation for permanent residence. This will provide him with the ability to flee the country should the need arise. He has also moved money to the United States and recently purchased a house in Houston Texas.
The MD and Mr Ogidan use Dignity Finance and Investment Limited, a Microfinance bank headed by Mallam Yusuf Yahaya to launder money in order to evade detection. The MD, through Mr Ogidan has taken control of this Microfinance bank. Dignity Finance is located at 5 B.O.W Maferi Close, Off O.P Fingesi Street, Utako, Abuja. This is the vehicle Mr Ogidan and the MD have been using to move millions of dollars out of the country.
Other vehicles used by Mr. Ogidan for such transactions include Successory Nigeria Limited owned by Mr. Ogidan, Beresh Consulting Owned by Mr. Ogidan, and Global Knowledge owned by Mr. Ogidan. The MD maintains a permanent apartment at Ikeja, Lagos State, where NIRSAL pays the sum of N60 Million annually as rent for this apartment. Interestingly, this apartment is under the name of the MD and not NIRSAL which pays for the property.
ALIYU AWARDED OVER 2 BILLION NAIRA CONTRACT TO HIS SON, IMRAN – A KNOWN CONVICTED MONEY LAUNDER
In August 2018, the MD’s son, Mr Imran Aliyu Abdulhameed, was arrested in Dubai for money laundering and found himself in the Ras Alkhaimah Central Prison. At the time of his arrest, he was driving a Lamborghini Urus, a four hundred thousand US dollar ($400,000) car, and was wearing an Audemars Piquet, one of the world’s most expensive wrist watches worth tens of thousands of dollars.
However, prior to his apprehension, Imran was awarded contracts worth over N2Billion for the purchase of MacBook Air laptops, iPhones, drones, and ICT software used by staff of NIRSAL.
The head of ICT Mr Etin Omonbude structured these fraudulent transactions on behalf of the MD’s son. A number of properties have also been purchased in Dubai and around the world in the name of Imran by the MD and his cronies. This was done by Mr Ogidan. The question is, what is the source of such funds and were these funds available prior to the appointment of his father Mr. Aliyu Abdulhameed as MD of NIRSAL?
TOWN CRIER is aware of a strong allegation that the MD has diverted over N1 Billion (One Billion Naira) in cash and hard currency through a certain Anne Ihugba for the settlement of media houses in order to make sure that no story on the fraudulent activities of NIRSAL gets into the public domain.
In the past couple of days alone, hundreds of millions of Naira have allegedly been moved through Anne for the settlement of media houses.
HOW ALIYU ABDULHAMEED, OLUWATOSIN ARIYO AND STEVEN OGIDAN DIVERTED N5.488 BILLION BUDGETED FOR NIRSAL’S 20,000-HECTARE WHEAT PROJECT
Mr. Oluwatosin Ariyo planned and “executed” a N5.6 Billion, 20,000-hectare dry season wheat project in Kano and Jigawa. N5.6 billion was supposed to finance the cultivation-to-harvest of twenty thousand (20,000) hectares of dry season wheat in Kano and Jigawa States. The plains of North-West Nigeria, including Kano and Jigawa States, are known for excellent cultivation of wheat, but for the non-prioritisation of such successively by the systems of government and organised private sector. Thus, NIRSAL’s wheat programme in this instance meant N280,000 per hectare, which is the average standard funding amount adopted by NIRSAL on almost all of its grain programmes. Of the 20,000hectares financed, only 400 hectares was actually cultivated representing a mere 2 percent. This means that only about N112,000,000 (one hundred and twelve million naira) was actually disbursed to the farm sites in Kano and Jigawa States, leaving N5.488 billion, or 98 percent of the total project sum diverted to personal use by certain individuals and their own personal corporate entities such as the acquisition of a house in the United Kingdom on behalf of the MD by Mr. Oluwatosin Ariyo and one Architect Ibrahim Abdullahi, a friend to the MD that was allegedly involved in a fraudulent livestock contract in Adamawa.
Three companies were responsible for the receipt of the loan, namely: Forest Hill, Mainframe and Woodfarm. However, huge fraud characterized the utilization of the loan as the MD and his cronies perfected a fraudulent act of round tripping the loans meant for farmers for the MD’s personal use. The project is not hinged on NIRSAL’s Anchor Borrowers programme, but on a corporate participation programme. Officers at NIRSAL who planned the programme understood that NIRSAL’S operating guidelines has a single obligor limit which does not allow for a single company to be supported to execute a N5.6 million project.
To get around this impediment, the planners engaged these three companies, which then splits the total sum of the project into three with respective amounts not exceeding the single obligor limit of NIRSAL. This is the first grave infringement on this package. The Managing Director of NIRSAL, Aliyu Abbati Abdul Hameed, has substantial business interests in at least two of the companies. The arrangement was for the three companies to work out for respective agricultural instrument facilities with a commercial bank, which they did, to execute the 20,000-hectare wheat programme. NIRSAL’s role, as defined in the books, is dual: to guarantee up to, but not more than 70% of each of the instrument facilities, and then to also use its Interest-Drawback principle to offset a certain percentage of the interest paid by the borrower to the lending bank so long as the borrower is quarterly up to date with its loan obligations.
Keystone Bank offered the instrument facilities to the participating companies squarely as an agricultural facility for a wheat production programme. The participating companies “approached” NIRSAL for its dual role of guaranteeing such loans, as well as for the application of its InterestDrawback principle. NIRSAL got involved, and then Keystone began its disbursements to the participating companies (loanees). The administrative setting is done with, and the field work for a wheat production set to commence.
A short length into the field work, Keystone Bank observed actions which may be defined as potential infringements of the agreements entered into between it and the three companies, variously. Keystone Bank, in July 2019, then launched an audit enquiry into its dealings with the three companies. Keystone Bank was concerned that the terms of its dealings with Forest Hill Agricultural Development Limited, for instance, had been breached, and so the Bank had stopped further transfers of funds between Forest Hill and its other partners.
In the present instance, Forest Hill had requested Keystone Bank to transfer, from Forest Hill’s account, the sum of five hundred and forty-three million naira (N543,000,000.00) to Mainframe, to cover for expenses incurred by Mainframe on behalf of Forest Hill on the wheat project under consideration. “…Exceptions noted in our enquiry” is what Keystone Bank stated as reason for declining further transfer transactions between Forest Hill and Mainframe.
Keystone Bank noted these exceptions as: (1) That Forest Hill had “mentioned” that it had cultivated and harvested 1,060 hectares of wheat in the initial planting season which ended April 2019, which was in line with the approved transaction cycle. However, the sales proceeds for this harvested wheat did not reflect in Forest Hill’s bank account with Keystone Bank, thus violating the irrevocable letter of domiciliation executed by Forest Hill to the effect that all proceeds of the wheat in this programme shall be deposited in the account of Forest Hill domiciled with Keystone Bank. This means that Forest Hill either did not sell the harvested wheat or that it sold the wheat but diverted the proceeds away from Keystone Bank. But Keystone Bank’s enquiry did not find the wheat! This only suggests that the proceeds have been diverted. This is a gross violation of the terms of agreement between the Bank and Forest Hill.
Equally, Keystone Bank noted that, Forest Hill “mentioned”, during the enquiry, that it planted rice during the period of this contract. This has modified the project scope as there was no rice in the original contract agreement between the Bank and Forest Hill. Keystone Bank was not informed of this modification. Thus, this spells out another gross violation on the part of Forest Hill. Experts say investigators may not buy this explanation, as it will be viewed as diversionary.
Keystone Bank, in the enquiry, reviewed the Forest Hill’s bank account in question, and then “observed numerous transactions between Forest Hill, Mainframe and Woodfarm,” noting that these transactions “were not as per the approved utilization schedule”, since the companies are separate entities with different directors, which cannot be viewed as a group
Keystone Bank found that the Forest Hill made out, from its loan account, to pay ACT Agribusiness Limited the sum of three hundred million naira (N300,000,000.00) for Land Preparation and Irrigation (Mechanisation) for a land area of 6,500 hectares. Keystone Bank, in its audit enquiry, found that the agreement between Forest Hill and ACT Agribusiness Limited was for 1,060 hectares. Hence, Keystone Bank required Forest Hill to either provide contract documents obligating ACT Agribusiness to complete the outstanding 5,440 hectares, or that the balance of payment for the outstanding hectares be refunded into the loan account. Investigators know very well that this is one of the commonest methods of stealing public money in Nigeria – documenting “payments” for jobs that are never done, which is a major financial crime.
Also, in relation to the mechanization defense put forth by Forest Hill, Keystone has argued that this actual cost of mechanisation is incurred on behalf of Mainframe. Hence, passing this cost to Forest Hill, as it is in this case, while Forest Hill itself has its own cost of Mechanisation to the tune of N300,000,000.00, would bring the total cost of mechanisation to six hundred million naira (N600,000,000.00). This figure exceeds the five hundred and forty million naira (N540,000,000.00) budgeted for mechanisation in the Utilisation Schedule submitted to the Bank.
In the case of the purchase of seeds, Forest Hill claims paying N117.45 million. This figure reflects the seeds to cover 6,500 hectares while the mechanisation process was only done on 1,060 hectares. Hence where is the balance payment for the outstanding 5, 440 hectares, since that has not been paid back into the Bank account?
Mainstreet Capital paid NIRSAL fees and Insurance Premium of N120 million on behalf of Woodfarm Project. Forest Hill, from its loan account, made a refund of this amount to Woodfarm. But both NIRSAL and the insurance company refunded this total amount after cancelling such payments, but such a refund is yet to be reflected in Forest Hill’s account. Suffice to note here that Mr. Oluwatosin Ariyo’s brother is a portfolio manager at Mainstreet Capital.
There is no doubt that the monies budgeted for the wheat project were laundered. Investigation revealed that the shea seeds bought above were actually bought for a shea butter processing factory, in New Bussa, Niger State, owned by Mr Abdulhameed. The Shea butter factory was set up for Mr Abdulhameed by Mr Oluwatosin Ariyo, a Senior Technical Assistant to Mr Abdulhameed. To perfect the criminality, Mr Ariyo used his brother’s company, Agriable Limited, to set up Mr Abdulhameed’s Shea butter company in New Bussa. Agriable Limited is not the only company that Mr Ariyo used to launder NIRSAL money for Mr Aliyu. Sheaco Nigeria Limited is another!
There is an emphatic allegation that the proceeds from the fraudulent bungling of this wheat project have been channeled, by Mr Ariyo and one other Architect Ibrahim Abdullahi, to buying a house for Mr Abdulhameed in the United Kingdom. Mr Ibrahim Abdullahi is also alleged to have supervised the building of a luxury home for Mr Abdulhameed, in Yola, Adamawa State, with the funds from the bungled Kano-Jigawa wheat project. Mr. Oluwatosin Ariyo was (and possibly still is) a signatory to Mainframe and has signed the bank mandates of Mainframe (the company used for the wheat transaction).
OLUWATOSIN ARIYO, ANOTHER LOYAL PARTNER IN CRIME TO MD ALIYUABDULHAMEED
Mr Oluwatosin Ariyo, the Senior Technical Assistant (STA) to the MD is a key figure used in syphoning billions of Naira on behalf of the MD. Mr. Oluwatosin serves as a signatory to a number of NIRSAL bank accounts with commercial banks. These accounts have mostly been used for investments in fixed deposits and to divert the interest accrued on the fixed deposits. Much of these funds are kept in accounts under the control of Mr. Oluwatosin. An example is over N4 billion invested, at one time, in fixed deposit with the old Skye Bank (now Polaris Bank). This fixed deposit scheme has been perfected by Mr. Oluwatosin and other staff close to the MD as they use this scheme to divert and gain interest on funds released for the Anchor Borrowers Programme. This leads to delayed supply of inputs to farmers at a time that these inputs are not needed by the farmers thereby leading to tremendous losses by the farmers.
Secondly, these inputs are supplied to the farmers at prices above what is obtainable in the open market thereby increasing the cost of production and likelihood of default in loan repayment by the farmers. These fraudulent activities have resulted in millions of farmers defaulting on loan obligations, resulting in innocent farmers being blacklisted as not credit-worthy and excluded financially, making life more difficult for the farmers as they will be unable to take out or even be considered for any loans in future. Another fixed investment orchestrated by Mr. Oluwatosin is that of over N5 Billion Naira (Five Billion Naira) at Mainstreet capital where his brother works as a portfolio manager for the fixed investment. Mr. Oluwatosin and his brother have been using the interest generate from this investment for their personal use and that of the MD.
BESIDES VIOLATING THE CREDIT RISK GUARANTEE (CRG) GUIDELINES, RATHER THAN IMPLORING THE SCALE OF MERIT, MD ALIYU ISSUED OUT CREDITS TO COMPANIES BELONGING TO HIS ASSOCIATES
The following companies owned by the MD’s associates were presented and approved by NIRSAL for the provision of Credit Risk Guarantee (CRG) covers totaling N48.9 billion. Four of these companies listed below where approved in clear violation of the CRG guidelines which stipulates a single obligor limit of N2 billion. The companies are: Odejad Agro N900 Million; Sustivar Technologies (affiliated to Kayode Ashaolu, Senior Technical Assistant to the MD) N5 Billion; SCAGRIC N19 Billion (Samil Asha; front of the MD); Agricultural Access Development Company N11 Billion; ACT Agribusiness N13 Billion.
MD ALIYU’S ILLEGAL PROCUREMENT OF TWO ARMOURED VEHICLES AT THE COST OF N180 MILLION
As against the federal government’s policy on replacement of official vehicles after 4 years (except when possibly involved in accidents that require them to be written off) the MD directed that the depreciation of his official vehicles be fast-tracked from 4 years to 3 years by reclassifying his SUV to operational vehicle, to enable him procure 2 armoured vehicles at the cost of N180m without approval from the office of the National Security Adviser. Despite the reclassification, the initial SUV is still in his custody. The MD currently has 11 official vehicles assigned to him across various locations in the country with 5 in Abuja including two (2) armoured vehicles (Toyota Landcruiser JTMHX09J5F4083758 and Lexus LX 570 JTJHY00W2J4260990) which were procured at a cost of N180 million without approval from the office of the National Security Adviser.
He is also said to move around with a bullet proof vest due to various dealings with unscrupulous and dangerous individuals and groups. Contrary to company policy, no official vehicle has been given to any senior management staff since inception. On the other hand, consultants to NIRSAL have been assigned company vehicles for official and private use.
HOW MD ALIYU AND MR INNOCENT AZEOBOKHAI ARE CONSPIRING WITH TRAVEL AGENCIES TO DEFRAUD NIRSAL
Our investigation revealed that MD Aliyu AbdulHameed and Mr. Innocent Azeobokhai, in collaboration with travel agencies, such as Alfa Global Air Services Ltd, Mavea Travel and Tours, and Stanzar Travel & Tours, conspired and defrauded NIRSAL in hundreds of millions. Travel tickets are regularly inflated, while huge sums that are paid to agents upfront were not retired. This multi-billion-naira fraud is handled by the Head of Travels, Events and Protocol department of NIRSAL, Mr. Innocent Azeobokhai.
It will interest you to know that the MD is usually paid in cash his full Duty Travel Allowances (which cover costs of accommodation and feeding) yet, the organization still settles his hotel bills during local and foreign travels. This amounts to receiving DTA twice on every travel.
The MD also uses public funds to cover the travel expenses of his family members and friends through the above mentioned travel agencies. The wife and son of the MD have enjoyed First Class travels with public funds. The MD and the head of Travels have also been replacing the names of staff to cover up travel transactions by replacing the names of the MD’s friends and family members with NIRSAL staff in order to approve payments.
The MD and the Head of Travel Mr. Innocent, have also been creating fake travel transactions on behalf of the staff of NIRSAL in order to justify movement of funds from NIRSAL to these travel agencies without the trips actually taking place. Such instances includes the disbursement of N1,462,480 for the travels of Oluwatosin Ariyo to South Africa for risk management training and that of Abdulkadir Muhammad for another N1,462,480 made to Alfa Global. Another such fraudulent transaction is that of Imran Aliyu (the son of the MD) for N2,197,000.00 for a First Class return ticket on Emirate airline from Lagos to Dubai on the 15th of June, 2019. Another such transaction is that of N2,257,087.00 for the same Imran Aliyu for a First Class ticket from Dubair to Munich to Barcelona and then back to Dubai on the 18th of June, 2019, a few days after arriving Dubai.
Other fraudulent transactions include the payment of funds to the above mentioned travel agencies for the Airtime of the MD that runs into millions of Naira. Samil Asha who is a front of the MD has also been enjoying such travel tours by the MD of NIRSAL through the above mentioned travel agencies. Another Such travel is that of a first class ticket purchased for Aishatu Deal Hamidu, wife of the MD, on Emirates from Abuja to Dubai to Delhi, back to Dubai to Abuja on the 17th of March 2019 by Alfa Global. Multiple of such transactions and fraudulent transactions that never occurred have been used to divert and siphon hundreds of millions of Naira from NIRSAL by the MD.
NEPOTISM: QUESTIONABLE EMPLOYMENT OF SEKINAT ADAMU, DAUGHTER OF INSPECTOR GENERAL OFPOLICE, MR. MOHAMMED ADAMU
Under MD Aliyu, NIRSAL had offered employment to the daughter of Inspector General of Police, Mohammed Adamu, Sekinat Adamu, who was almost immediately flown to Morocco on an official trip, with a generous estacode in US Dollars, despite her inexperience compared to more senior colleagues. The agency is full of such employments doled out to friends and associates of the MD in exchange for favours and/or influence.
GROSS VIOLATION OF DUE PROCESS IN THE DISBURSEMENT OF NIRSAL FUNDS
There is a backlog of operating and capital expenditures approved by the MD which are above his approval limits for which no board approval was obtained. Most of these contracts were never executed. For instance, the sum of N618 million was single-handedly approved by the MD as cost of design, implementation and management of a call centre and service delivery (N292,247,230.70) and design, implementation and support of enterprise network infrastructure (N326,175,894.37) without the board’s approval. The MD’s approval limit for this category of transaction (capital expenditure) is N20million. The call centre and enterprise network infrastructure do not exist anywhere in the country as at today.
Contracts worth tens of billions have been awarded by the MD without the jobs or contracts ever done. One of such is an ERP contract of about N1.3 billion. Other expenses (since 2017) include; N122million training expenses awarded to Wildleaf Ltd., In January 2017, N263 million was awarded to Bamili for Study Tour. In December 2017, N227 Million training expenses was awarded to Bokadi, while N154 Million was awarded to EPMS for General Management. N107 milion was also awarded to Freshvine as Training expense, while Data Acquisition and Software contracts were awarded to inteliwork (N66.2m), Circus Advance (N58m) and Bokadi Links (N55 million).
In the bid to be compliant with approval limits as from 2019 following years of breaches of approval processes, the Procurement Department guided by the MD resorted to contract splitting; most of these contracts were also never executed. Examples: AVC Capacity Development contract totaling N953m was split into 64 contracts of less than N15m each. In August 2019, AVC Gap Assessment contract which worth N119m was also split into 8 contracts of less than N15m per contract, while in September 2019, Specialized Risk Management Services had its N136 million contract split into 3 contracts.
NIRSAL invested directly in a number of projects called Farmsmart which were deliberately designed to fail. These projects have now been reclassified as technical assistance (also known as proof of concept projects) to allow the funds to be written off. Two of such companies include SCAGRIC Ltd represented by Samil Asha (a dark ally of MD Aliyu) and Tradeco Ltd. While N348.2 million was invested in the former, N54.3 million was invested in the latter.
HOW MD ALIYU GROSSLY ABUSED THE OFFICE OF THE MANAGING DIRECTOR OF NIRSAL, ILLEGALLY DISMISSING STAFF WHO REFUSE TO BE COMPROMISED
Mr. Olalekan Olusanya, Head of Internal Audit of the organization, was illegally dismissed from NIRSAL, even after he had duly sent in his resignation from the organization. Mr. Olusanya was removed from his position after he had refused, on professional grounds in keeping with the dictates of his profession, to edit certain portions of an audit report that indicted the MD.
Mr. Olusanya would be subjected to series of dehumanizing measures including seizure of his official laptop and phones while he was transferred to Agricultural Extension and Field Services Unit without any job responsibilities assigned to him. He went on to present his resignation, only to be summarily dismissed without following due process of progressive disciplinary measures and documented opportunity for him to respond to any allegations against him.
A staff of NIRSAL, one Mr. Olusola Omole, a Head of one of the Technical Units of the organization, was dismissed for allegedly interacting with the hitherto dismissed Head of Audit, claiming that he violated the MD’s sacred oath of secrecy some staff are made to sign.
Seven staffers of the organization were summarily dismissed on the excuse of not being loyal to the Managing Director, even though they had no professional misconduct issues against them.
GODWIN EMEFIELE (CHAIRMAN OF NIRSAL) ENTHRONED AS THE MANAGING DIRECTOR OF NIRSAL AN EX-CONVICT WHO, FOR FRAUD, EMBEZZLEMENT AND DIVERSION OF FUNDS, SERVED JAIL TIME IN JIMETA PRISON, YOLA.
It was discovered that Mr. Aliyu Abbati Abdulhameed fraudulently changed his name from Aliyu Hamid to Aliyu Abbati Abdulhameed without the proper legal documentation and publication in any media outlet/newspaper in order to hide his criminal conviction prior to his engagement by the Central Bank. Aliyu served time in Jimeta Prison for fraud and should therefore not have been appointed as the MD of a Financial Institution under the Central Bank in accordance with the qualifications of a director under the Companies and Allied Matters Act, the CBN Act and the Banks and other Financial Institutions Act. Suffice to add that, Ibrahim Abdullahi has full knowledge details of the MD’s conviction as he is a childhood friend of the MD who is also currently serving as the MD’s driver.
It is most repugnant that a financial crime ex convict was appointed to manage a USD500 million-dollar company owned by the Central Bank of Nigeria and created to support local farmers across Nigeria. This initial seed fund is usually invested in commercial banks and generates about N4 billion in interest. This interest is usually transferred to NIRSAL bank accounts for the purpose of running the day-to-day operations of the organisation. Unfortunately, funds meant to improve the lives and operations of farmers across the country have been and are still being diverted by the MD and his cronies for personal use.
Mr. Aliyu has been using the individuals mentioned above to divert huge sums of money running into billions of Naira over the past three and a half years. Petitions have, over time, been written to the EFCC, Nigeria Police Force and the National Assembly relating to illegal diversion of organizationalfunds. The MD seems to use perceived connections to people of influence to muzzle any concerns about his illegal activities.
The MD routinely name drops the CBN Governor, Mr. Godwin Emefiele, to defend his indefensible acts of impunity, claiming that the CBN Governor would have effected his removal if he wasn’t doing things right.
Many of the above have been confirmed by a Board Audit Report commissioned by the CBN Governor and Chaired by CBN Deputy Governor Edward Adamu, which has been suppressed and not been implemented for reasons best known to the CBN Governor who is also Chairman of NIRSAL.
MD ALIYU REFUSES TO HAND OVER THE POSITION OF MANAGING DIRECTOR, EVEN THOUGH HE HAS COMPLETED HIS FIVE YEARS TENURE
The height of the hijack of the institution of NIRSAL is the expiration of the tenure of Mr. Aliyu Abdulhameed as Managing Director NIRSAL on the 23rd of December, 2020, having attained the five years contract he was given, commencing on 23rd December 2015. Mr. Abdulhameed has refused to relinquish the reins of office, holding the entire organization hostage while pursuing a supposedly, in his words to close associates, “guaranteed reappointment”.
ATTORNEY GENERAL OF THE FEDERATION SHIELDS MD ALIYU FROM INVESTIGATION INTO HIS CORRUPT PRACTICES
In the face of all of these colossal crimes committed by MD Aliyu and his goons, the Attorney General of the Federation, Mr. Abubakar Malami SAN, has done and he is still doing everything within his power to shield MD Aliyu against the sword of justice.
The MD through his office, NIRSAL, has been engaging with the office of the Attorney General to frustrate any attempt by security agencies to investigate the level of fraud carried out in NIRSAL. In a letter written to the Attorney General by the MD of NIRSAL titled “Request for Intervention on Unwarranted and Multiple Investigations of NIRSAL PLC By Law Enforcement Agencies”, referenced NIR/MD/GEN/TAPD/24/20/03, and dated 29th January, 2020 to the Honourable Minister of Justice requesting for the intervention in the ongoing investigation of NIRSAL by security agencies. Based on this petition from NIRSAL, the Office of the Attorney General, through the Department of Public Prosecution of the Federation, wrote to the Nigeria Police in a letter referenced DPPA/NIRSAL/110/20, and dated 4th of February, forbidding the institution from carrying out the investigation.