The vicious battle of supremacy between a non-statutory member of the governing council and the management of the Nigeria Investment Promotion Commission (NIPC) entered a defining moment on Monday and Tuesday with the interrogation of the Chairman of the council, former House Deputy Speaker, Hon. Bala Nguroje, and other statutory members of the council by agents of the anti-graft Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Offences Commission (ICPC).
The disagreement between the council and management led to a court in Abuja stopping the commission from spending out of nearly N6 billion internally generated revenue (IGR).
The order followed an ex-parte motion in a suit filed by a member of the NIPC’s council, Ali Sani.
Nguroje was made to answer questions on a petition written over the payment of millions of Naira to the Executive Secretary (ES) of the commission, Ms Yewande Sadiku.
He was also questioned, Nigeria Everyday learnt, on matters related to some members of the council allegedly collecting money for some foreign trips which they did not make.
A member of the council allegedly collected over N11.682 million to travel on official engagements to London, Singapore, Geneva, and Dubai.
However, a source said the interrogation which lasted until 1.00 p.m. on Tuesday for other members of the council sought to clarify if the ES was entitled to the huge sum she got, as she told a newspaper.
It was gathered that the ICPC also sought to know how many of the council members refunded monies collected for trips they did not make.
Nigeria Everyday had exclusively reported last Thursday how members of the NIPC Board were invited to answer questions from the anti-graft agency.
In a letter dated December, 16, 2019 and signed by the ICPC Acting Director of Investigation, Hassan Mohammed, the commission said the invitation was in connection with alleged violation of the provisions of the Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Act 2000.
Among those invited are the Board chairman, Hon. Babangida Nguroje, Mr. Adebayo Odejinmi, Mrs. Grace Gekpe, Mrs. Foluke Abdulrazaq, Ayanlowo Obisesan, Eloho Samuel, Uwat Uwat Bassey, Sunday Ankpan Edet, and Ambassador Mustapha Suleiman.
The investigation of the council members, it was learnt, followed a bitter rivalry between “one or some of them” with the Executive Secretary of the NIPC, Ms. Yewande Sadiku, over plots by the council to have her and the management sacked.
In addition, the ES stirred the hornets nest with comments she made seeming to question the competency of President Muhammadu Buhari to draw investors to Nigeria. She allegedly compared Buhari’s docility to former President Olusegun Obasanjo’s aggression in pursuing foreign investors.