Stakeholders blame govt’s complicity on corruption at Federal University, Lokoja
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The actions and inactions of the Federal Government, anti-graft agencies, and involvement of citizens have been identified as the main factors abetting corruption, abuse of office, and violation of procurement processes by the authorities at Federal University, Lokoja, Kogi State.
Jide Ojo, a Public Affairs Analyst, and Yekeen Akinwale, a Senior Investigative Journalist with the International Centre for Investigative Reporting (ICIR), said this during a radio program, Public Conscience produced by the Progressive Impact Organization for Community Development (PRIMORG).
The Auditor General of the Federation and The ICIR had in their reports indicted the institution of an array of financial misappropriation and fraud under the watch of Prof. Angela Freeman Miri, the current Vice-Chancellor of the University.
It will also be recalled that the 2017 Auditor-General Annual Report stated that the university authorities failed to remit N61.9 million, being the 25 percent of Internally Generated Revenue (IGR) for 2015 and 2016 into the Federal Government’s Consolidated Revenue Fund account.
Reacting to the corruption report, the duo of Jide Ojo and Yekeen Akinwale noted that the report indicting the school and the Vice-Chancellor has been in the public space with the Federal Government, anti-graft agencies, the governing council of the university, and other stakeholders doing nothing to report the act or bring perpetrators to book.
Jide Ojo faulted the federal government, and members of the National Assembly for not taking action after hundreds of ministries, agencies, and department were fingered in massive misappropriation of fund in the Auditor General’s report of 2014 to 2017, stressing that it was part of the Senate and House of Representative Committees on Public accounts responsibility to play oversight function on MDAs.
On why the government is reluctant to go after officials fingered in corruption at the Federal University, Lokoja, he said: “there is lack of political will because if petitions are written to different agencies and there are still no actions taken, it then shows that we are not serious about fighting corruption.
“Where is the university council in all of this? There are checks and balances within the system and if the university council is inaugurated and is in place, the council should have reacted to the report. Maybe what the anti-corruption agencies are looking for is a direct petition to them.”
He also wondered why the students’ union association failed to mount pressure on the school authorities to act. Saying: “the road to the school is not good and you have N61 million misappropriated. The universities in Nigeria are where characters are molded. We must reform our universities.”
Earlier, Yekeen Akinwale revealed that one of the most outstanding aspects of their investigation was the payment of public funds into the Vice-Chancellor’s private account for renting of her official residence upon her appointment in March 2016.
“The payment was a violation of the Procurement Act because the money ought to have been paid into a designated committee account that ought to have executed the project on behalf of the university not directly into her account and it did not end there,” Akinwale said.
“When the money was paid, the Vice-Chancellor also did some transfer from that amount into the account that belongs to her son and another fellow who is neither a staff of the university nor relation.”
The syndicated radio program is produced weekly by PRIMORG with the support from the MACARTHUR FOUNDATION.