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Alleged N3.5b Scam on NAPSAS: Amb Igali Has No Case – Group

Ambassador Godknows IgaliA pro-transparency platform – Human Rights Writers Association Of Nigeria (HURIWA) has alleged that there’s a well-concocted but subtle blackmail against the

Permanent Secretary of the Federal Ministry of Power Ambassador Godknows Igali by those peddling an unsubstantiated and outrightly baseless story of a certain N3.5 billion scandal in the ministry regarding a training programme that is largely private sector initiated but funded in part through governmental means.  

In a statement signed jointly by the National Coordinator Comrade Emmanuel Onwubiko and the National Media affairs Director Miss Zainab Yusuf, HURIWA said it has uncovered a sinister motive behind the allegations which from her discreet findings emanated from a Federal agency set up for capacity training in the power sector but which wasn’t the creative originator of the training package introduced to the Presidency by a respected private sector capacity building management firm.    “Petty jealousy and selfishness are behind these cocktails of lies being peddled about to harass the Permanent Secretary in the  Power Ministry and hoodwink President Muhammadu Buhari into removing him from that beat for someone that can be arm-twisted “.

The Rights group stated thus: ” Our attention was drawn to the story making rounds in some national dailies which alleged a certain N3.5 Billion training programme scandal which purportedly linked the well regarded Permanent Secretary in the ministry of Power Ambassador Godknows Igali  as someone who allegedly diverted the said fund allegedly released for the training programme which inevitably is structured to benefit hundreds of unemployed youth by way of capacity building in the power sector. We have since been shown convincing evidence both orally and by documentary evidence which exonerated the Permanent Secretary in any of such scandal which in any event has no existential value. We have it on good authority that no such N3.5 billion was ever approved or released and we can corroborate the claims made by the officials of the ministry of power which beyond all shadow of doubts showed the exact details of that specific training programme. “

 HURIWA stressed that the Ministry of Power had in a widely published rejoinder at the weekend stated thus: “Our attention at the Ministry of Power has been drawn to a report published on pages 1 – 2 of your Monday, September 14, 2015 edition, with above caption.  The report claimed that a petition detailing wrong doings against the Permanent Secretary, Amb. Godknows Igali and the Programme coordinator, Mrs. Sybil Williams, as having allegedly embezzled money in the sum of N3.5 billion meant to run a training programme for Nigerian youth.”

HURIWA said the Power ministry had explained clearly and it has already sighted document based on an application through Freedom of Information Act request to demonstrate that the said training programme is to ensure that trainees undertake technical skill acquisition for 6 months to fill-in the gap within the manpower in the power sector.

“There are a number of fallacies that are raised in the said petition; the origin of the N3.5 billion is still unknown.  What the Ministry is aware of is a Presidential approval of N1.3 billion to be sourced from the existing capital allocation to the Ministry”.

“For a programme that was flagged off on November 6, 2014, cannot be immune from lack of budgetary releases that have become epileptic, so even what has been made available so far for the programme is far less than the approved N1.3 billion.  I wonder where these officials could have had access to N3.5 billion”.

HURIWA said that based on her investigations there is a nexus between the wild allegation and a subterranean plot by a Director General of a certain Federal Government’s capacity training Agency to further rubbish NAPSAS, because in the considered conclusion of HURIWA the Power ministry was right to have stated thus: ” the report claimed that only 25 trainees attended the flag off of the programme in Abuja whereas it is on record that 20 trainees per State including the FCT were invited for the event, the total number being 740 trainees”.

HURIWA said it read a report recently from Accountant General’s office which confirmed that no Capital Allocation were made from 2 quarters last year (2014), while none has been released this year (2015) and we can justifiably state that the Power ministry is correct to have claimed that it was against all odds that the Ministry has kept NAPSAS programme on track.

“We found out that the approved stipend for the participants is N18,000.00 and not N20,000.00 as quoted by the report. NAPSAS programme was meant to train artisans/technicians and not engineers as erroneously quoted, so the Permanent Secretary would not have said that 600 Engineers have been recruited after completing their training and had been offered employment into 11 Discos”.

 “HURIWA stated that it was authoritatively told by independent sources it is on record that after the completion of the course by the 1st batch of NAPSAS trainees, 288 NAPSAS graduates have been absorbed into some DISCOs and other related power sector companies. Furthermore, report from the field indicates that more trainees would be considered for employment and there after details will be forwarded to NAPSAS Secretariat”.

HURIWA has therefore called on President Muhammadu Buhari to sustain this apprenticeship programme and expand it further to accommodate more youth because of its inherent potentials to create jobs and wealth for Nigerian youth. HURIWA said that even developed societies of Germany and Great Britain are investing so much in similar youth apprenticeship programmes.

Emmanuel Onwubiko

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