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Nigerian Examination Body, NECO’s Whistleblowers Live In Danger For Exposing Corruption – UK-Nigeria Diaspora Group Laments

Nigerian Examination Body, NECO’s Whistleblowers Live In Danger For Exposing Corruption – UK-Nigeria Diaspora Group Laments
December 9, 2022

The group in a statement identified the whistle blowers as Ibrahim Ali and Elogie Joakin.

A civic group, the United Kingdom-Nigeria Diaspora has lamented the continued detention of two staff of the National Examinations Council (NECO) for reporting a series of corrupt practices going on within the body.

Ironically, Nigeria has a whistle-blowing policy, which is an anti-corruption programme that encourages members of the public to voluntarily disclose information about fraud, bribery, looted government funds, financial misconduct, government assets and any other form of corruption or theft to Nigeria's Federal Ministry of Finance.

According to the policy, a whistle-blower who provides information about any financial mismanagement or tip about any stolen funds to the ministry's portal is rewarded or entitled to 2.5 percent - 5 percent of the funds recovered by the Nigerian government.

The policy was launched on December 21, 2016, by President Muhammadu Buhari's administration and facilitated through the Federal Ministry of Finance. However, many civil society organisations and activists have criticised the government's anti-corruption war, saying its body language regarding corruption has been that of 'business as usual'.

The group in a statement identified the whistle blowers as Ibrahim Ali and Elogie Joakin.

It said their lives have been in danger, adding that Nigerians must not allow any harm to come to “these anti-corruption fighters.”

The statement read, “Why were two NECO whistle blowers thrown into jail without proper trial? Why were six of their colleagues, like the two that were thrown into goal, wrongfully dismissed from service? To answer these questions we have to present the background.

“The National Examinations Council (NECO) of Nigeria is one of the major public examination bodies in the country. It is a parastatal under the ministry of education, presently headed by a veteran journalist, Mallam Adamu Adamu, as minister.

“While all eyes in the education sector in the last nine months were focused on the ASUU strike, top guns in agencies such as the NECO were busy hunting down and eliminating staff members who dared to speak out, challenge or disagree with the intrusive behaviour of either the board chairman, the chief executive, or their pompous agent in the organisation, one Mr. Peter.

“This agent, a kind of 'Mr. Fix It' for those in authority, facilitates money swindling activities for influential individuals within and outside the council. This powerful network is ruthless in pursuit of its greed and dangerous to those who crossed its path. Our investigation revealed that it has stolen billions from NECO coffers through contracting out to itself, using its crooked young agent as an "untouchable" facilitator and conduit pipe.

“The network is composed of professors, highly placed law enforcement officials (police), and top bureaucrats in the ministry and agencies. This network specialises in planting its crooks, as political appointees, in key positions in lucrative government agencies such as NECO, and then proceed to use the acquired high office to scoop resources from the organisation through the use of front men, such as NECO's Mr Fix it, who is adept at the game: looting government agencies for his principals, using multiple companies (28 in the case of NECO), tied to a holding firm, as his conveyor belt.

“Part of Mr Pee's job is to shop for seemingly clean professors, particularly those on the verge of retirement, or who have actually retired, or young and unscrupulous, looking for an opportunity to make millions under the cover of being harmless and clean scholars. In reality they are scoundrels.

“For the racket to be effective, it needs the instrument of coercion. In charge of intimidation and enforcement in this racket are highly placed uniformed officers, typically the police. Here too it is those who are on the wrong side of the retirement calendar that are more easily enlisted and deadly. Their unearned retirement 'benefit' is at hand. Then there are the crooked judges. They work hand in hand with the highly placed law enforcement officers to set-up and organise the illegal arrest and indefinite detention of dissenters, whistle blowers, and principled professionals who refuse to play along.

“In front of the crooked judge, your legal arguments are worthless. Bail is frequently denied, even if you are sick and present evidence to show that you are, it is discounted. The object is to humiliate, punish and, God forbid, murder you in jail and blame prison conditions or any number of trumped up ailments for your demise. Arranged murder.

“This investigation has unearthed huge financial crimes in NECO. Not everyone is involved. In fact, most of the staff, senior, intermediate and junior, are opposed to the excesses of the racketeers, but play safe, while praying for positive change.

“What about the present chief executive/registrar, Professor Dantani Ibrahim Wushishi? Did he visit the office of an AIG (Zone 7, now retired) in Abuja while one of the wrongfully terminated officers was illegally detained by the same AIG in question form the 18th to the 25th August 2022? This same AIG, who was to retire from service in a matter of days at the time, arraigned the whistle blower before a magistrate court on trumped up charges, for which the officer was thrown into jail without bail up to the 20th September 2022. A travesty.

“We have raised these questions to let those in public authority exonerate themselves, if they can? Let them face thorough investigation for their stewardship in NECO?And let those in law enforcement who allowed themselves to be used to frame, detain and jail innocent dissenting NECO staff face the very law that they so flagrantly violate.

“This investigation will continue and the full picture of what is happening, or has happened, to NECO under its immediate past chairman and the existing registrar, beholden to the network, will emerge.

“Arranging for receipt of bogus "integrity" awards as the CEO recently did, and sham TV profile of the same shady hand behind the arrest of staffs he should be protecting says a lot about the nefarious characters managing our public offices today's Nigeria.   

“And more importantly, we are concerned about the lives and welfare of the two incarcerated whistle blowers, Ibrahim Ali and his colleague, Elogie Joakin (belatedly released on 20th September 2022, but still being hunted down by the same crooked gang). Their lives are in danger. Nigerians must not allow any harm to come to these anti-corruption fighters. We in the diaspora will keep watch and will continue this advocacy until justice is done. The first step in this direction must be for the government to probe the expired NECO Board, remove the present registrar, Prof. D. I. Wushishi, from office, and dismiss their protégé from his bogus "technical assistant" position. These people, collectively, have lost the trust of the management and staff of the council. They must go now before any further damage is done to career lives and resources in NECO. Prof. Wushishi had ample opportunity to use his honeymoon period in the organisation to correct past wrongs and restore justice, but he did not.

“The minister therefore has a responsibility to act in line with his own promise to "Change from mindless corruption and naked abuse of trust to patriotic nationalism and people oriented governance, and change from the old selfish way to the new patriotic way". Empty words, many Nigerians will say.

“But one small step from Mallam Adamu Adamu is needed here to restore the wrongfully dismissed senior managers back to their jobs, and those who were maliciously detained compensated and apologies tendered. Can Adamu Adamu be his old self here? Or will he follow his avatar? Nigerians are alert and will continue the fight for justice in this case. Let no whistle blower suffer deprivation of liberty, termination of employment or death for exposing bad corporate governance in government. It is time to free the NECO duo from harassment and restore them back to their jobs, and let the true criminals in the agency face justice.”