A popular group, Agricwatch Alliance has frowned at the Minister of Water Resources, Engr. Suleiman Hussein Adamu of covering up for the Managing Director of Lower Niger River Basin, ilorin Dr Aremu Saheed who has been accused of corruption and misappropriation of funds.
This is contained in statement issued signed by the coordinator of Agricwatch Alliance, Alhassan T. Mohammed and the scribe, Bode Seun and made available to Newsmen yesterday.
The group claimed a display of nonchalant attitude of the minister towards the allegations against Dr. Saheed.
In the letter the group claimed the minister sent a team headed by the Permanent Secretary of the ministry to the organisation, to either intimidate or financially induce the staff union -Nigeria Union of Agric and Allied Employees, to drop their stance and allegations against their managing director.
It called for the removal of Saheed over allegations bordering on corruption, misappropriation of funds and budgetary allocations and maladministration.
The letter reads in part, “Our organisation saw the several publications of the Agriculture Union on several media forum on the call for the removal of the Managing Director of Lower Niger River Basin Development Authority, Ilorin , one Dr Saheed Aremu over allegations bordering on corruption, misappropriation of funds and budgetary allocations and maladministration.
“We decided to set up a team of private investigators to proceed to Kwara state to investigate the allegations by visiting the project sites and even to the Auditor General’s office to enquire about the authenticity of the Auditors report that damningly indicts the Managing Director
“This your action is regrettably inimical to the anti-corruption stance of this administration and federal constitution which you swore to uphold. These your action is giving credence to insinuations that Dr Aremu Saheed, the Managing Director of Lower Niger River Basin has been sharing the proceeds of his corruption with you.
“We are likewise disappointed in the Staff Union for falling for your inducement and harassment wherein they dropped their noble cause of embarking on the threat of Labour action to press home her demands for justice.
“Honourable Minister sir, by our investigation we have therefore concluded to advise as follows:
“We demand a thorough investigation of the activities of the entire River Basins Developments across Nigeria, to see if funds provided over the period of this administration are spent justifiably in consonance with the administration’s policy of transparency.
“That Dr Saheed Aremu lacks the moral right to continue in office based on the said Auditors report and other allegations.
“That Dr Saheed Aremu must be excused from executing this year’s budgetary allocation.
“That the appropriate anti-corruption agencies should be invited for further investigation be prosecuted and monies recovered and plunged back to the sector.”
“Honourable Minister sir, our organisation which is made up of professionals and stakeholders in the Agric sector, including Agro media advocates across Nigeria saddled with the mandate of ensuring transparency and justice in the Agricultural sector and reputed for tracking Budgetary allocations has its searchlight specifically on the ministries of Agriculture and that of Water Resources.
“Having observed the efforts of President Mohammadu Buhari, GCFR, in pumping funds to the sector but with minimal effect due to various corrupt practices of the ministry officers and the Chief Executives of the Agencies and Parastatals, we are poised to ensure justice by exposing the culprits and bringing them to book through all legal means and the Anti-corruption agencies.
“Honourable Ministers sir, we are displeased with your nonchalant attitude towards the allegations and the character of the Managing Director, rather, you sent your high-powered ministerial team headed by the Permanent Secretary to the organisation, to either intimidate and financially induce the Staff Union -Nigeria Union of Agric and Allied Employees, to drop their stance and claims against their Managing Director.
“That the ministry should overhaul the activities of River Basins Development Authorities in Nigeria for effective service, according to its mandate.
“Honourable Minister sir, If necessary action is not taken as advised above, we shall be compelled to approach the court as taxpayers and law-abiding patriotic citizens of Nigeria,”
The group also threatened to seek redress in the court should the minister fails to take appropriate action providing remedy to the lingering problem in the sector.