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Bizarre: Federal university staff, Lokoja celebrated the exit of their Vice Chancellor with obituary posters.

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Evidence has shown monumental fraud, corruption, abuse of office and violation of procurement processes at the Federal University, Lokoja, Kogi State, for that the staff decided to celebrate the exit of Professor Angela Freeman Miri, Vice-Chancellor, Federal University of Lokoja with Obituary poster boldly printed and staged in front of the school

You recalled that Documents obtained by The OBSERVERS TIMES reveal that the Federal University, one of the 12 established by the administration of Goodluck Jonathan, former president of Nigeria, has a history of corruption but the underhand dealings became more glaring under the watch of Angela Freeman Miri, the current Vice-Chancellor of the University.

Miri, a former Commissioner of Health and Education in Plateau State was among 13 Vice-Chancellors appointed by President Muhammadu Buhari in February 2016 in what was a breach of the Universities Miscellaneous Act 2003 which vested powers to appoint and remove vice-chancellors in the Governing Council.

Some Federal University LOKOJA staff celebrate VC tenure Ends.
Sweep the campus with Brooms.
Carrying placards with caption
“EFCC arrest Miri Now!
“No more diversion of Fund”
“One motor worth 9m

The investigations show that the 60-year-old Vice-Chancellor, a professor of English and Literary Studies has been fingered in a number of infractions relating to financial misappropriation, fraudulent practices, violation of procurement process and other abuses of offices.

Professor Angela Freeman Miri, Vice-Chancellor, Federal University of Lokoja
The 2017 Auditor-General Annual Report and other documents obtained during this investigation show the malfeasance under the Vice-Chancellor and her predecessor.

Professor Miri did not respond to calls and messages to her phone to answer questions on all the allegations against her. She told this reporter that she was in a meeting during the first time she was called. But she never answered subsequent calls again.

On August 3, at about 3:20 pm, an SMS asking her for a response to the allegations was sent to her phone, she did not respond while calls to her phone were not answered.

Staff celebrating VC tenure Ends.
Carrying placards with caption
“EFCC arrest Miri Now!
“No more diversion of Fund”

A message was sent to her on August 14 seeking an audience with her to speak to the allegations, there was no response. The message was sent at about 6:03 pm.

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Another text message was sent to her on August 23, there was no response and calls to her line were not picked.

Money paid into VC’s personal accounts in violation of procurement processes

Professor Angela Freeman Miri, Vice-Chancellor, Federal University, Lokoja

The ICIR investigation indicates that the Vice-Chancellor was barely one week in office when she was paid the statutory Relocation Allowance and First 28 days Allowance. Specifically, the amount, N1, 544,870 was paid into her Diamond bank account on March 3, 2016.

But within a space of six months, Professor Miri was paid over N35.8 million directly into her private bank accounts- the payments were not her salaries.

For the rental of the Vice Chancellor’s official residence, a sum of N6 million was paid on March 23, 2016, N1,703,460 on April 6, 2016, and N7million on May 9, 2016, into her Zenith Bank account number 1005119456. The money was paid as five years’ house rent.

The payments were done in clear violation of the Federal Treasury Circular with Reference No TRY/A2&B2/2009OAGF/CAD/026/V dated March 24, 2009, which states that “all Accounting Officers and Officers controlling expenditure are to ensure that all local procurement of stores and services costing above N200,000 shall be made only through the award of contracts.

An official of the university with the Bursary Department who did not want to be named because he may be victimized says there’s a committee of the university that ought to do procurement for the services.

He revealed that the Vice-Chancellor vetoed the payment into her private accounts, adding that Professor Miri already collects N320,977.50 as a rent allowance in her salary.

On May 17, 2016, the university management paid the sums of N4.8 million and N749,460 on May 24, 2016, totalling N5,249,460 into her Diamond bank account 0011525942 for the renovation of the house rented as the Vice Chancellor’s official residence.

This payment was flagged by the 2017 Annual Auditor General report. While the report described it as a violation of Federal Treasury Circular with Reference No TRY/A2&B2/2009OAGF/CAD/026/V dated March 24, 2009, which states that “all Accounting Officers and Officers controlling expenditure are to ensure that all local procurement of stores and services costing above N200,000 shall be made only through the award of contracts, it said management’s override of internal controls was an indication of fraud.

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“Response from the university was not satisfactory,” the report says.

The Vice-Chancellor is required to refund the sum of N5,249,460 to the Consolidated Revenue Fund with evidence of remittance forwarded to my office for confirmation, it adds. But as of the time of filing this report, it was not clear if the sum was refunded to the government coffer.

Diversion of rental and renovation payments

Investigations by The ICIR revealed that the amount paid into Professor Miri’s account as rental payment for her official residence was not fully utilized for the purpose. Rather, parts of it were diverted into other private accounts.

Only the sum of N5.6million was paid by the Vice-Chancellor to the property owner, Hadid Nigeria Limited, Lokoja. The payment was done through a transfer from her Zenith Bank account number 1005119456 to the Hadid’s Skye Bank account bearing Mahmud Bala Ibrahim on April 18, 2016. While the payment of the money into her private account violates the Procurement Act, the eventual transfer of N5.6million into the property owner’s account is another violation.

The university management ought to make the payment, says Joseph Folorunsho, chairman of the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) in the Federal University, Lokoja.

Further investigations show that the balance of the money was further diverted into other private accounts. On June 6, 2016, N5million was transferred into an account with Diamond Bank belonging to Dommam Freeman Miri, the Vice Chancellor’s son. On June 22, another N1.5 was transferred to Domman again, while N1.2million was transferred to a particular Muhammed Biu’s GTB account on October 5, 2016.

Meanwhile, after the payment of N5,249,4608 as a fund for the renovation of her rented official residence which was flagged by the Auditor General’s report, evidence revealed that N4.7million was taken from the money through a cheque withdrawal on May 20, 2016.

Our fight against corruption is not holistic- ASUU chairperson

Dr Joseph Folorunsho, chairperson of the Academic Union of Universities (ASUU) at the university believes that the Federal Government’s war against corruption is not holistic.

This, Folorunsho says, is the reason the VC has not been questioned and prosecuted despite glaring evidence.

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“The Vice-Chancellor ought to have been in jail since 2018 if the present government does not harbor corruption,” the ASUU chairperson said.

He laments that anti-corruption agencies like the EFCC and ICPC have all been petitioned to investigate Professor Miri on all the violations of due process and allegations of fraud but nothing has been done.

Professor Angela Freeman Miri, Vice-Chancellor, Federal University, Lokoja

“The violations of the procurement process by the VC are true. For example, the money for the renovation of her house, there was supposed to be a committee, a contractor,” he told The ICIR in an interview.

“Again, for her house rent, what she presented and was paid into her account which is contrary to the Procurement Act was above N7million and actually the rent was N5.6million for the two years. That’s the first contravention of the law. Number two, it is not supposed to be paid into her private account but there is evidence that the money was paid into her account. That was why she was able to remove the N5.6 million for the landlord.”

“We have all the evidence to show that,” Folorunsho added.

He confirmed that the union was aware of the red flag issued by the Auditor General Office 2017 annual report against payment of money into the VC’s private account.

“Yes, we are aware that the Auditor General Annual report 2017 questioned the payment of the money into her private account.”

“Even there are TETfund projects in our school that our internal auditor queried but still went through.”

The ASUU chief corroborates that corruption has been going on in the university even before the appointment of the current VC.

“You know in our society people don’t go to the equity market with clean hands. People use sentiments over issues that are supposed to be on merit and justice. I can’t affirm or refute the fact that even as a grown-up Nigerian of my age, it is something that you cannot rule out.”

On the payment into private accounts of two staff of the university’s Bursary Department, Folorunsho said they should be queried. “Those people should be queried and called to book,” he says.

“If there is an indictment against me, there should be a procedure, because he who alleges must prove. If you say there is this indictment on Ojo for example, you call him and interrogate him. You can be sure such money may be diverted money and a percentage would be given to such a person at the end of the day.”

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Crime

EXCLUSIVE: Abuja Schools Shut Down As Truckload Of Bandits Arrives In Border Town

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Despite assurances by the police authorities that the Abuja is safe, private schools in Bwari Area Council of the Federal Capital Territory, yesterday, hurriedly shut down their activities over fear of possible attack by kidnappers.

LEADERSHIP learnt that some schools hurriedly sent their students home when news got to them over 200 unidentified men suspected to be bandits were dropped by a truck in Sabon Wuse area of Niger State, a border town with Bwari, Abuja.

A source disclosed  that some private schools closed their schools with instructions to student to remain at home till further notice.
Some parents who do not want their identities revealed told our correspondent that the schools gave the instructions on various group WhatsApp platforms of the schools.

In the last two weeks, over ten persons have been kidnapped in Bwari area council with ransom of about N10million paid to secure their release.

Last week, about seven persons were kidnapped in Sabon Fulani area of the council and about N5 million ransom was said to have been paid.
According to residents, the fear was heightened following the report that over 200 unknown persons were dropped from a truck in Sabon Wuse area.
A parent who spoke to LEADERSHIP said, “We were asked to come for our children in their school before the time they were supposed to close for the day.
”I don’t know if they will be going to school tomorrow because we are still waiting for further directives from their school group WhatsApp platform”, the parent, who does not want her identity revealed said.

Another parent told LEADERSHIP that there was specific instruction for students to remain at home until further notice from the school authorities.
”My children came back home before the usual closing hour. When I enquired, the school said there were reports that kidnappers had surrounded Bwari area council and they (school authorities) do not want to be responsible for any kidnapped student, hence the closure of the school.
”As we speak, the school has been shut down indefinitely,” he said.

Some of the schools in Bwari area council that sent their students home yesterday for fear of possible attacks by kidnappers include De-Goopherwood Montessori School (close to Nigerian Law School), Glorious Bright School, Tundun Fulani and Asusi International School.

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A parent, who has children at Glorious Bright School said she got a call from the school management to come and pick their children before the normal closing hour for fear of attacks by kidnappers. Another parent who has children at De-Goopherwood Montessori School also confirmed that his children closed before the normal closing hour.

According to her, the students were asked to go home after information got to them that there is a likelihood of a breach of security in Bwari.
LEADERSHIP learnt that Veritas University, in Bwari, has been closed down and students sent home.

According to a senior lecturer of the school, who said she was not authorised to speak with journalist, ”The school was shut this morning by the vice chancellor. ‘We received a circular that everyone should vacate the school by 11am today (yesterday). ”

She said the students had been on holiday since last week but the academic staff and other staff were still going to school before the circular was sent out.
”Though the students were on holiday, we were still going to school until we got a circular today (yesterday) from the office of the Vice Chancellor that everyone should leave the campus”, the source said.

Another polytechnic in the area also sent its student out of the hostel.

A 200-level student of Dorben Polytechnic, Bwari, told LEADERSHIP that the school authorities issued a circular asking the students to vacate the hostels and that henceforth they will holding lectures online.

The student who studies public administration at the polytechnic said all the student promptly complied with the directive and quit the hostels.
About three days ago, the FCT Police Command faulted information that the territory was under possible the attack of Boko Haram terrorists. The command had, in a press statement by the Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO), ASP Yusuf Mariam, said, “The attention of the FCT Joint Security Team has been drawn to a viral publication in the social media purporting that the ‘Federal Capital Territory is under the attack of Boko Haram Terrorists’.

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”The Joint Security Team of the FCT wishes to refute the mischievous publication targeted at creating palpable tension amongst the well-spirited residents of the FCT.”

We’re Monitoring Situation – Police

Meanwhile, following the social media report of invasion of Bwari axis of the FCT by suspected Boko Haram terrorist, bandits or kidnappers, the Nigeria Police have said they monitoring the situation.

Though the spokesperson of the police and the FCT PRO did not comment on the issue, a reliable senior police officer, who pleaded anonymity, told LEADERSHIP that the police management had deployed tactical teams which are monitoring the situation, but that there is no cause for alarm.
According to the source, the situation is very critical and the police are not taking it lightly.

There were reports on social media of invasion of Bwari by a group numbering about 800.

This led to report of closure of schools around the area fearing abduction as has been the case in recent times.

27 Abducted Kaduna Students Regain Freedom
Parents and family members of the kidnapped students of the Federal College of Forestry Mechanisation, Afaka, Igabi local government area of Kaduna State can now heave a sigh of relief after they were released by their abductors yesterday.

According to the chairman of the parents committee, Malam Abdullahi Usman, 27 of the students who were in the captivity of the abductors were released unharmed.

He said two of the students had escaped on the day they were abducted but that the parents chose to keep mute in other not to jeopardize the chances of securing the release of the remaining students.

Earlier, 10 of the students were released in two batches of five each after it was reported that ransom was paid.
When asked whether ransom was paid for the release of the 27 students, Usman declined to speak on it, stressing that the parents worked tirelessly, including reaching out to prominent persons to assist towards their release.

“We are indeed thankful to former President Olusegun Obasanjo and Kaduna-based Islamic scholar Sheikh Ahmad Gumi among others for their roles towards the eventual release of the students.

“We also thank the journalists who helped to publicise our cries and worries, and Nigerians who encouraged and prayed with us for the safe release of our children. We are indeed grateful and pray that God will bless them all,” he said.

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The parents of the students had on Tuesday stormed the National Assembly in Abuja to protest the continued holding of their children in captivity and government’s apparent indifference over their abduction.

The students, 39 in all, comprising of 23 females and 16 males, were abducted on March 11, 2021 from their school premises. Two of the students were said to have escaped from their abductors leaving 37 of the students, out of which ten of them were released before the final release of the balance of 27.

Meanwhile, the students were taken straight to the Kaduna Police command headquarters in two 18-seater buses, accompanied by an ambulance and nurses.
They looked emancipated and one of them could hardly work and had to be helped and later rushed to the hospital.

In a short address, the Commissioner Ministry of Internal Security and Home Affairs Samuel Aruwan, who spoke to newsmen at the police headquarters in company of the police commissioner, said details will be given about the students today.

“Yes we can confirm that the students have been released as you can see, but details will be made available on Thursday. They will be taken for proper medical checkup now,” he said.

Meanwhile the state government has confirmed that the Police Command had reported the release of the remaining students of the Federal College of Forestry Mechanisation, Afaka, in Kaduna State.

Meanwhile, President Muhammadu Buhari has welcomed the release of the 27 students of the Federal College of Forestry Mechanization, Afaka, near Kaduna and congratulates their friends, families and the government and people of Kaduna State following the happy end to the saga.

“We are happy they have been released,” says the President.

“We express our deep appreciation to all the actors who contributed one way or the other to this happy outcome,” President Buhari said in a statement by his media aide,Garba Shehu, yesterday.

Credit Leadership Newspaper

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Education

Insecurity: Veritas University Abuja Shut Down

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Veritas Catholic University in Abuja shut down due to insecurity threat, a reliable source made this known on Twitter :

 

Veritas was founded by the Catholic Bishops Conference of Nigeria through a resolution given at its March 2002 meeting in Abuja.

The University emphasizes strong moral values, self-reliance and the development of the students’ entrepreneurial capabilities for the social and economic benefit of the graduates and the Nigerian society.

OBSERVERS TIMES recall thagt Suspected bandits have attacked Greenfield University, a private university in Kaduna State, and kidnapped many students.

The bandits attacked the institution in the early hours of Wednesday.

PREMIUM TIMES could not verify the exact number of students kidnapped.

Greenfield University is located along the Kaduna–Abuja Highway, some few Kilometers to the Olam feed factory which is about 30km from Kaduna town.

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Education

Tension, As Bandits Threaten To Kill Remaining Students Abducted From Greenfield University

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Bandits have threatened to kill the remaining 17 students abducted from Greenfield University, Kaduna State.


Twenty-two students and a member of staff were abducted from the school campus along the Kaduna-Abuja highway on April 20 and within a week, five of them were killed.

In an interview with the Hausa Service of Voice of America (VOA), monitored by our correspondent, a leader of the bandit group who identified himself as Sani Idris Jalingo, said if the Kaduna State Government or their families fail to pay a ransom of N100 million as well as provide them with 10 brand Honda motorcycles by Tuesday, the remaining students will be killed.
Jalingo said there were 17 students in his custody, including 15 females and two male students among them a grandchild of the late 18th emir of Zazzau, Shehu Idris, whom he identified as Hamza.


The bandit revealed that the families of the students have already raised and paid N55 million to them but said they had used the money in feeding the students.
He vowed that it was his final warning and should government or the students’ families fail to meet his demands, all the students will be killed.

“You are speaking with the abductors of Greenfield students. We heard the utterances of the Kaduna State Governor that he will not pay ransom to bandits to purchase additional arms.
Asked if he sees himself as a terrorist, Jalingo laughed and said: “I’m not but a food seeker.”

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Emphasising on his threat, the bandit said: “If they fail to bring N100 million and 10 brand new Honda motorcycles known as Boko Haram by Tuesday, I can assure you they will use trucks to evacuate the bodies of the remaining students.”
He warned security agencies not to waste their time planting trackers on the motorcycles, saying his members do not go to cities and therefore arresting them will be difficult.

 

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