A civil rights organization, Coalition Against Corruption and Bad Governance (CACOBAG), has called on President Muhammadu Buhari to immediately order an investigation into the alleged appointment of Ms. Aisha Abba Kyari, as an Assistant Vice President at the Nigerian Sovereign Investment Authority (NSIA).
The organisation also gave the Presidency notice of its plan to commence “series of lawful civil actions in a matter of days to compel the administration to order a comprehensive investigation of this employment scam.”
The alleged appointment of Aisha, daughter of the Chief of Staff to the President, Abba Kyari, was said to have been done under alleged secret and controversial circumstances.
The chairman of CACOBAG, Alhaji Toyin Raheem in a statement in Abuja described the appointment as controversial “because it violates set procedure at the NSIA, which is the legally constituted agency that manages Nigeria’s excess crude oil revenues.”
He said, “The position was not publicly advertised, contrary to what is expected of such position. Besides, Aisha Abba Kyari clearly does not meet the criteria for the role. She has just five years working experience at the National Integrated Power Project (NIPP) where she worked up until February 2019 when she got the NSIA job.
“Her appointment is the highest level in the organization, whereas the average working experience for that level is 10 years. We are by this statement giving the Presidency notice that we shall commence series of lawful civil actions in a matter of days to compel the Buhari administration to order a comprehensive investigation of this employment scam.
“If it could be done in Pension Commission because the daughter of a member of the House of Representatives is involved, it should also be done at NSIA because what is sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander.”
According to him, such practice at the highest level of government contravened the avowed posture of the Buhari’s administration.
Raheem said, “More disturbing is the report that the controversial appointment followed some (alleged) arm-twisting and back deals with the top management of NSIA. Equally disturbing is the revelation that the new employee is starting up with an annual package of N32 million. We have chosen to call for a thorough investigation of this case because a similar thing happened in Pension Commission recently, and at the end of the probe, those involved were relieved of their job.
“Five days after the Abba Kyari employment scandal leaked in the media, neither the Presidency nor the management of NSIA has deemed it fit to deny any of the claims.”
Some of the allegations included the claims that staff at the NSIA were infuriated by the appointment, while a few of the high-level personnel privy to the recruitment initially refused to interview Ms. Abba-Kyari.
One of such persons who had objected to the interview, according to CACOBAG, included an Executive Director, Stella Ojekwe-Onyejeli who vehemently rejected the suggestion.
She was however allegedly arm twisted into playing along as the pending confirmation of her appointment to become a second term ED became an instrument of blackmail.
Raheem said her appointment was eventually confirmed sometime in March 2019 after she agreed, while Halima Buba, a Board member at the NSIA who was also invited to observe the interview process, reportedly refused to take part.
“Despite all these, Ms Aisha Abba Kyari has since resumed. This is not the first time the Buhari government is involved in a secret recruitment scandal involving relatives of highly placed persons in his cabinet. A similar one occurred at the Central Bank of Nigeria in 2017 involving children of some cabinet ministers and a nephew of the President. This is despite the anti-corruption rhetoric of the administration.”