Compilation by Dr. Bolaji Aluko, with a news item by your moderator to close
UNSTAR CORRUPTION:  Heads Roll over Education Ministry Bribery
Dear Compatriots:
Here is the alarming CORRUPTION  ROGUES GALLERY:
Procuring or giving money:
- Prof. Fabian Osuji: bribing
- Mr. P.S. Abdu, Education Perm Sec and five other directors: procuring bribe money
-The NUC Executive Secretary, Prof. Peter Okebukola: providing the N20million loan to Osuji.
-Vice-Chancellor of the Federal University of Technology, Owerri, Prof. Jude Njoku: providing N25million for passage of the 2004 budget, noting that an additional N10million was given to Matazu.
Taking money:
- Senator Wabara, Senate President
-the Chairman of the Senate Committee on Appropriation, Senator John Azuta Mbata;
-the Chairman, Senate Committee on Education, Senator Ibrahim Abdulazeez;
-Senator Chris Adighije;
-Senator Badamasi Maccido;
-Senator Emmanuel Okpede;
-Alhaji Shehu Matazu, Chairman, House Committee on Education.
Taking 2004 Budget money:
-Honourable Gabriel Suswan
- Honourable Osita Izunaso
Oro p'esi je !  Lord have mercy !
Bolaji Aluko
Shaking his head
At the rotteness of our system
The Punch, Wednesday, March 23, 2005
Osuji dismissed, Wabara, others for trial

Dotun Oladipo, Oluyinka Akintunde and Dayo Aiyeyemi

The Minister of Education, Prof. Fabian Osuji, was on Tuesday dismissed by President Olusegun Obasanjo following his indictment by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission for allegedly offering N50million bribe to the National Assembly.

Also, the President of the Senate, Chief Adolphus Wabara, and six other members of the National Assembly will be reported to the Independent Corrupt Practices and other related offences Commission for their roles in the bribery saga.

The matter will also be referred to their political parties - the Peoples Democratic Party and the All Nigeria Peoples Party.

Making this known in a radio and television broadcast on Tuesday, Obasanjo said that it was shocking that despite his warning to ministers, ministries and extra-ministerial departments not to offer bribes to the National Assembly for their yearly budget or for any other purpose, Osuji went ahead to bribe the lawmakers.

Obasanjo said he first got a hint about the bribery saga on February 9, 2005 through an intelligence report, adding that the final report was given to him after his return from a foreign trip on March 19.

He said the report indicated that Osuji, acting in concert with the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Education, Mr. P.S. Abdu, and five other directors, raised N55million with the sole purpose of bribing members of the National Assembly for an increase in the ministry's 2005 budget.

He said while the directors raised N35million from votes under their control, N20million was taken from the National Universities Commission as loan.

Obasanjo said that the money was collected from Osuji by Wabara; the Chairman of the Senate Committee on Appropriation, Senator John Azuta Mbata; the Chairman, Senate Committee on Education, Senator Ibrahim Abdulazeez; Senator Chris Adighije; Senator Badamasi Maccido; Senator Emmanuel Okpede; and a member of the House of Representatives, Alhaji Shehu Matazu, who is the Chairman, House Committee on Education.

He said that the Chairman of the EFCC, Mr. Nuhu Ribadu, has recovered the money from Adighije.

Obasanjo announced the dismissal of Osuji and said he would be handed over to ICPC for prosecution.

Abdu and the other five directors who raised the money are to be referred to the Federal Civil Service Commission for necessary disciplinary action.

The NUC Executive Secretary, Prof. Peter Okebukola, is also to face the music for providing the N20million loan to Osuji.

Obasanjo also indicted the Vice-Chancellor of the Federal University of Technology, Owerri, Prof. Jude Njoku, for allegedly providing N25million for the same purpose during the passage of the 2004 budget, noting that an additional N10million was given to Matazu.

The President said that in the absence of a Governing Council for the University, Njoku would be recommended for appropriate discipline by the Ministry of Education, adding, "He (Njoku) too will be referred to the ICPC for necessary action. This should serve as a lesson to the heads of other institutions and parastatals. Further investigation on the receivers of Professor Njoku's payment during the 2004 Budget confirmed Honourable Gabriel Suswan and Honourable Osita Izunaso as members who shared the bribe money with Dr. Shehu Matazu.

"The allegations against other ministers and departments that may have committed similar offences will continue to be investigated."

Obasanjo said that he was disappointed that the country's number three citizen could be involved in such a scandal, adding that, "It is an action that violates all known norms of good governance, progressive leadership, integrity and credibility. This tends to vindicate those who made similar allegations in the past."

While commending government officials and appointees who have remained steadfast in the fight against corruption, Obasanjo said the time had come for the National Assembly members to undertake self-cleansing in order to restore the respect associated with their offices.

He said the rating of Nigeria as the third on the ladder of corruption by Transparency International was unacceptable to Nigerians.

Earlier on Tuesday at the first President of the Senate's Roundtable on debt, development and democracy, Obasanjo said that it would be foolhardy for the legislature to wallow in corruption and expect the international community to take Nigeria's plea for debt relief serious.

Obasanjo, represented by Vice-President Atiku Abubakar, said, "Corruption in such a highly regarded political institution compromises national integrity, contaminates public morality and misguides those that look up to you for leadership.

"Debt service payments continue to deprive Nigeria of resources badly needed for poverty reduction, for improved health services, for the education of our children and for the provision of potable water for our teaming population," Obasanjo explained.

The President disclosed that $1.8 billion was the actual debt service payment to all external creditors.

The amount, he said, translated to about 11 times the recurrent budgetary allocation to the health sector and about five times the recurrent budgetary allocation to the education sector.

He added, "The $1 billion paid to the Paris Club alone represents over 85 per cent of the total Federal Government recurrent-plus-capital budget for health and education or over 280 per cent of capital budget in these sectors.

"Even then, the actual debt service payment of $1.8 billion made to all categories of external creditors was much less than what was due for the year, which was $2.95 billion. This excluded arrears amounting to $3.36 billion. This picture clearly illustrates that Nigeria's debt is unsustainable."

Reacting to the President's statement on corruption in the legislature, the Minister of Finance, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, said it demonstrated the seriousness of the government to tackling sleaze in the country.

Okonjo-Iweala said that the government was determined to investigate all alleged cases of corruption and prosecute the offenders.

Minister held, Senators face arrest

Osuji detained in Wuse as aides disappear

By Collins Edomaruse in Lagos and Juliana Taiwo in Abuja, 03.19.2005

Saturday, March 19, 2005

When it rains, it pours. The gale of arrests, over an allegation of
indu-cement of members of the National Assembly Com-mittees on
Education by the Minister of Education, Professor Fabian Osuji, who
was arrested in Abuja, Thursday over plans to jerk up the ministry's
votes in this year's budget, is spreading fast. Several members of
the the National Assembly may soon be arrested as the Economic and
Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) intensifies its effort to bring
the culprits to book. Osuji who is cooling his heels in a Wuse,
Abuja detention centre is said by family sources to be co-operating
with EFCC investigators. According to a member of his family who
spoke to THISDAY, "we don't want him to be a scapegoat and we have
urged him to name all in this scandal."
Already, Principals of Fede-ral Government Colleges, who were said
to have raised the N50 million allegedly distributed to members of
the Education Committees of the National Assembly, have been
summoned to Abuja for interrogation by the EFCC.
Last night, an insider, who is a principal officer of the National
Assembly, gave THISDAY a graphic account of how the booty was
He said a "very senior" principal officer of National Assembly
suggested to the embattled Minister that there was the need for his
ministry to make some money available to the education committees to
enable them do a "good job" on the budget.
The minister, the source continued, accepted the suggestion and
promptly instructed principals of the Federal Government Colleges
across the country to raise N50m so that the ministry's budget could
be "jerked up".
He also disclosed that, upon the delivery of the booty to the
National Assembly, the principal officer, who acted as the
facilitator in the deal, pocketed N20 million and passed N30 million
to the committees, to be shared on an equal basis of N15 million
"The committee members frowned at it and asked that it be returned
if it could not get N40 million and the remainder of N10 million
conceded to the facilitator. But he (the facilitator) did not bulge.
The committee members accepted and shared it.
"But a member of the House committee turned down his share and
accused the lawmakers of corruption. This irked his colleagues and
he was subsequently suspended.
"Armed with a sense of an unjust treatment, the suspended lawmaker
took his case to the EFCC and wrote everything he knew about the
matter and submitted to the Commission.
"The Commission then invited Osuji and confronted him with the
allegation or petition. The minister admitted giving the money to
the facilitator for an onward delivery to the lawmakers and he was
subsequently detained," the source added.
But when contacted on the phone last night, an aid of the
facilitator, told THISDAY that the story was scandalous. "I can tell
you there is no truth in it. My boss is too busy to be distributing
money to committees. Nothing of that nature happened," he insisted.
Meanwhile, Osuji, who was picked up two days ago by the EFCC, was
still at press time cooling off his feet at the Commission's offices
in Abuja.
But THISDAY was also told that the minister's continued detention
may not be unconnected with the desire of his interrogators to track
down more officials of the ministry to ascertain the level of their
involvement in the failed deal.
The ministry's Perma-nent Secretary and other top officials were
last night said to have been in hiding.
Besides efforts to reach Osuji's aides including his Chief Press
Secretary, Mr. Tony Ohaire, his personal assistant Mr. Tobs
Agbuegbu, proved abortive as all their phones which rang initially
were later switched off.
A member of the House of Representatives, Hon. Abdullahi Yerima, had
blown the whistle on massive corruption in the National Assembly,
for which he was subsequently suspended. His suspension was
advertised in national newspapers. He had alleged, among other
things that lawmakers were collecting GSM recharge cards from MTN on
a monthly basis. He also said ministers were bribing their way in
the National Assembly to have their votes "jerked up".
At the National Executive Council meeting two weeks ago, President
Olusegun Obasanjo had reportedly advised the ministers to come and
confess to him if they knew anything about the budget bribery
scandal. He warned of "dire consequences" if they failed to comply
with his advice.
Only this week, the out-going President of National Association of
Nigerian Students (NANS), Mr. Tony Nwoye had alleged that the
Ministry of Education gave a large chunk of the N6.5m to ensure that
government candidate emerge as the new President of NANS.
Meanwhile, the Minister of Water Resources, Alhaji Murktari Shehu
Shagari, has denied reports that he has been invited by the
Independent and Corrupt Practice Commission (ICPC) over financial
In a chat with THISDAY yesterday, the Chief Press Secretary in the
Ministry, Chief Olugbayo Ogunleye said that the Water Resources
Minister has never been invited to the ICPC either formally or
He disclosed that ICPC had written a letter late last year following
a petition it received against the Ministry over an unpaid adverts
amounting to N4.7 million.
"It is true that there is a petition to the ICPC concerning unpaid
advertisements and the Agency had written to the Ministry to confirm
whether the Ministry has paid or yet to pay for the advert
"The only letter sent to the ministry was addressed to the Director
of Finance and Account and we are not denying the fact that we are
owing some media organisations for adverts placed. But the Minister
of Water Resources has never been invited to answer questions
pertaining to financial impropriety as contain in a newspaper report
today," he said.