Another corruption scandal may be staring the Muhammadu Buhari
administration in the face following revelations that his Chief of Staff,
Alhaji Abba Kyari, and the Minister of State for Budget and National
Planning, Hajiya Zainab Shamsuna-Ahmed are stealing billions of Naira
meant to rehabilitate the ravaged northeast.
This is as the administration pussy-foots on the report of a contract scam
involving Kyari’s accomplice, the now suspended Secretary to the
Government of the Federation (SGF) Babachir Lawal.
The president had on October 26, 2016 inaugurated the Presidential
Committee on North-east Initiative (PCNI). At the occasion, the president
directed all government agencies involved in humanitarian action in the
zone to collapse into PCNI, which he said would thereafter coordinate all
efforts in the zone.
“PCNI “will be the apex coordinating body for all interventions in the
region, including those by the public, private, national and international
development partners…” and “is charged with the responsibility for
developing the strategy and implementation of the framework for rebuilding
the North east region”, said Buhari.
A presidency official told Pointblanknews.com that, unknown to Buhari,
his Chief of Staff (CoS), as well as his Minister of State for Budget and
National Planning had other ideas.
An official of the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) from Borno
State told Pointblanknews.com that Kyari, who hails from Bama, Borno
State, had always wanted to control whatever federal government monies
came into the northeast.
He said, “On four occasions Kyari flooded PCNI with his cronies. On each
occasion, President Buhari rejected the draft. This explains why it took
close to a year to inaugurate PCNI. When it became clear Kyari wouldn’t
have his way, he bidded his time, springing up a devious scheme cloaked as
“The Bama Initiative.”
He continued, “Kyari and Zainab Ahmed, who belong to Buhari’s kitchen
cabinet, fraudulently set up what they call the “Bama Initiative” , an
action plan known to only both persons, but through which they hope to
steal all of the N48 billion approved by the National Assembly for
humanitarian efforts in the six northeast states”.
The states are Adamawa, Borno, Bauchi, Yobe, Gombe and Taraba.
Pointblanknews.com investigations revealed that should feelers from the
Ministry of Budget and National Planning be anything to go by, Kyari and
Mrs Zainab Ahmed could in the coming months waltz to the banks with all
of the N48 billion budgeted for the zone.
In what a ministry official called “testing the waters,” the Minister of
State for Budget and Planning penultimate Friday released N5billion to the
“Bama Initiative” whose chairman, interestingly, is the Chief of Staff.
“In the next few weeks, madam (Minister Zainab) will release the remainder
of the N18 billion which they decieved Acting President Yemi Osinbajo into
approving in Baba’s (Buhari) absence,” offered a ministry source.
According to the official, during Buhari’s medical leave, the Minister on
July 28, 2017 wrote a memo to Osinbajo requesting the diversion of N18
billion out of the N48 bilion approved by the National Assembly for PCNI,
to “Bama Initiative.”
The four-page memo which was entitled “Request for approval for
constitution of funding for the Bama Initiative/It’s Presidential Steering
Committee Project Implementation Committee and Procurement Committee “,
the minister urged Osinbajo to approve the release of N18,227,065,037.50
“out of the N48 billion provided for Northeast Intervention Fund in the
According to the ministry official, “either to court the Acting President,
or to allay his concerns,” Minister Zainab Ahmed in the memo disclosed
that the Acting President had been appointed chairman of the steering
committee of the “Bama Initiative “.
In the memo the minister said she would be chairperson of the project
commitee, while Kyari would chair the procurement committee.
According to the source, Kyari’s strategy was to suck-in Osinbajo as the
figurehead chairman of the steering committee while she and Kyari skim
off the funds.
Pointblanknews.com gathered that, not wanting to be further buffeted by
Buhari loyalists who were accusing him of trying to oppose everything from
their end, Osinbajo, on August 10, 2017 apprroved the minister’s memo.
The approval was conveyed in a letter signed by Osibajo’s deputy Chief of
Staff, Ade Ipaye.
Noted the senior ministry official, “The Acting President acting either
out of fear or ignorance. At no point during the budget defence at the
National Assembly did Bama Initiative come up. Bama Initiative is Kyari’s
personal property, a front for stealing monies meant to rehabilitate
internally displaced persons (IDPs).
“The Chief of Staff and my boss (Minister) had their minds made up to
steal the Northeast money blind. First, they gave the impression that
there was a fund called the Northeast Intervention Fund. This is a huge
lie. It was created by the Minister to warehouse money from which they can
steal. The money ought to go straight to PCNI headed by the respected
“However, by cleverly creating a dubious account which she dubbed the
Northeast Intervention Fund, the Minister of State, in concert with the
Chief of Staff, have set the stage for controlling every kobo of the N48
billion budgetted by the National Assembly for the northeast.” he added.
A source in the office of the Accountant-General of the Federation (AGF)
told Pointblanknews.com that his office released to ‘Bama Initiative’
penultimate Friday N5 billion out of the N18billion approved by the
erstwhile acting president, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo.
Pointblanknews.com also gathered that, contrary to Buhari’s directive
that, as far as all northeast humanitarian efforts are concerned, PCNI
should coordinate, Kyari and Zainab-Ahmed have converted PCNI into a
member of the ‘Bama Initiative.’
Scoffed an official of the officie of the Chief of Staff, “I feel so sorry
for Mr. President. He is busy fighting corruption, not knowing that
corruption springs from his bedroom.
“Can you beat the fact that Chief (of Staff) is chairman of the
procurement committee of Bama Initiative, while the head of PCNI, to whom
all government agencies and agents should be reporting to, has been
reduced to a ‘member’, a typical case of the tail wagging the dog,” he
opined, stressing, with one Farouk Gumel as the taskmaster.
Continued the official, “in their wisdom federal lawmakers approved N48
billion for the entire northeast made up of six states of Borno, Adamawa,
Yobe, Taraba, Bauchi and Gombe comprising 112 LGAs.
“However, Kyari and Zainab -Ahmed feel they know better hence they
unilaterally cut out N18 billion or about a third of the entire budget for
Bama, just one of the 112 LGAs. If this isn’t corruption and abuse of
office, what is?” quarried the official.
Pointblanknews.com gathered that the fraud was worsened by the realisation
that the N5 billion released penultimate week was for “re-training”
security personnel in the zone.
Minister Zainab Ahmed is believed to have been nominated minister by
governor of her home state, Kaduna, Mallam Nasir El-Rufai.
The 56-year old minister had served as General Manager of the defunct
Nigerian Telecommunications Limited (NITEL), and later, Executive
Secretary, Nigeria Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (NEITI).
In late July 2015, shortly after Buhari’s inauguration, she had during a
coutesy visit on the newly sworn-in El-Rufai, declared that NEITI’s checks
revealed that between 2009 and 2012, Nigeria lost about 160 millions
barrel of crude oil valued at $13 billion.