Following the sacking of the board of the Abia State Physical Planning and Infrastructural Development Fund (PPIDF) by the state government over circumstances that led to the death of one person in a clash in Aba, the Chairman of the sacked Board, Mr Nnamdi Nwokocha-Ahaaiwe, has opened a can of worms in which he fingered the state chief executive, Onesie Ikpeazu, and others in a maze of intrigues to cover-up alleged financial misdeeds.
A statement by the Abia Commissioner of Information, John Ikoyi Kalu, on Wednesday explained that the board was sacked because an act of disobedience by the board precipitated a clash between security operatives and revenue agents led to the death of an unnamed person.
In his own story, Nwokocha-Ahaaiwe, gave a detailed account of how the Governor and a cabal around him are working to short-circuit a police investigation into a large scale fraud by fomenting trouble in Aba and sacking the board he headed.
His story: “Yesterday (last Wednesday), the Abia State Government announced the dissolution of the Board of Trustees of the Abia State Physical Planning and Infrastructural Development Fund (PPIDF) on the spurious grounds that Revenue Agents fought in Aba leading to the death of one person.
“This unfortunate development is a very desperate attempt by the State Government and a cabal made up of its topmost functionaries to stop INVESTIGATIONS into an astounding allegation of monumental fraud and stealing of the State’s Internally Generated Revenues (IGR) running into billions of Naira over the years.
“Panic and consternation took over key Government functionaries and members of the Cabal when the Chairman of the PPIDF wrote a Petition to the Abia State House of Assembly a few days ago copying all twenty-four members in which he detailed a corrupt regime of stealing, too stupendous to be believed.
“His very detailed Petition was twenty (20) pages with over five hundred (500) pages of exhibits attached. He followed it up my making announcements on all radio stations in Abia State that he will go after key elements behind the fraudulent scheme not minding whose ox was gored.
“He had earlier written a Petition to the Inspector General of Police on the stealing of a Quarter of a Billion Naira in PPIDF Revenues for 2017 which the IG instructed the Special Fraud Unit (SFU) of the FCIID headquartered at Milverton Road, Ikoyi, Lagos to investigate.
“Some of the Revenue Agents involved in the scheme were arrested but their ring-leader who works for the Cabal, one Mr. Dannie Ubani (aka Manja) of Fortunewell Projects Ltd. escaped arrest when operatives of the SFU stormed his office at Aba on Friday the 23rd day of February 2018.
“The SFU thereafter served him and others a letter to appear before them by Friday the 2nd day of March 2018 but he refused to attend. The SFU called him on phone on Friday evening (02/03/18) after he failed to show up earlier in the day, to appear unfailingly by Tuesday the 6th day of March 2018 or be declared wanted.
“He ran to the Governor who directed his Attorney-General to instruct the Chairman of PPIDF to withdraw the Petition. The PPIDF Chairman refused and said he would rather resign. The Attorney General then requested to be allowed to step into the matter to “settle” it.
“The PPIDF Chairman insisted that Manja must report to the SFU first, make his statement and then they could request the SFU to allow the AG time to “settle” the matter, whatever that means.
“The AG in the presence of the PPIDF Chairman called Manja and requested him to come to his office at the Ministry of Justice, Umuahia by 2pm on Monday the 5th day of March 2018.
“At the appointed time and place and in the presence of the PPIDF Chairman, the AG told Manja that he is taking him to SFU the following day being Tuesday the 6th day of March as that is the only way he could come in to assist him and Manja agreed. He was told to make the travel arrangements for 9am Tuesday. On the morning of Tuesday 6th March 2018, the PPIDF Chairman, Barr. Ahaaiwe called the AG to confirm that the trip was on and he confirmed. Barr. Ahaaiwe left for the Airport.
“On arrival he saw Manja at the Ticket counter making arrangements for tickets. He called the AG who said he was on his way. Shortly after, someone brought a Boarding Pass for Barr. Ahaaiwe just as the AG arrived the terminal building. Barr. Ahaaiwe met him and they greeted. The AG excused himself to go and speak with Manja who was standing outside. After waiting for a while, Barr. Ahaaiwe decided to go into the Departure Hall to wait. He ordered coffee but just as it was brought, Boarding was announced. Being determined to finish his coffee, he waited until the very last minute to Board and he and the AG who was in conversation with a former Commissioner were among the last to Board.
“Barr. Ahaaiwe never knew that Manja did not Board that flight in a carefully crafted plan with the Governor and his Cabal which was revealed later.
“When the plane landed in Lagos, Barr. Ahaaiwe was once more one of the last to deplane as he was on a window seat and the elderly man on the Aisle seat was busy looking for his glasses which fell under the seat. Being the last batch to be bused to the Arrival terminal, Barr. Ahaaiwe thought both Manja and the AG had proceeded to the SFU, but on getting outside to the taxi stand saw the AG waiting for him and offering him a lift which he accepted.
“On arrival at the SFU and as they were about to enter the premises, Barr. Ahaaiwe asked the AG where Manja was as he had expected that he would be outside the premises waiting for them. It was then that the AG informed Barr. Ahaaiwe that Manja did not Board the plane but had gone back to Aba from Owerri Airport as there was a “development”.
“Barr. Ahaaiwe was shocked to the bones. He demanded to know from the AG why he was not informed at Owerri. He demanded to know what they were there for since the only purpose of the trip was for the AG to produce Manja, take him on bail and then plead for time to look into the matter. The AG apologized for not telling him at Owerri and said they should just go and ask for time to produce him.
“The Team Leader in charge of the investigation upon learning that the suspect was not brought by the AG demanded to know whether the AG was there to “compound” investigation of a quarter billion Naira fraud of Revenues of a State Agency but the AG said this was not the case. They told him they will not discuss the matter until Manja was brought. The AG then undertook to bring Manja. The SFU told the AG that he must produce not just Manja but all the other fraudsters in their list by Monday the 12th day of March 2018. A list of all those to be produced was prepared and handed over to the AG and we left.
“It was after the AG and Barr. Ahaaiwe left the SFU that the full picture of the plan by the Cabal became clear. The Governor and his Cabal were not happy that Barr. Ahaaiwe had written a Petition to the House of Assembly and the SFU on the missing millions as well as having gone on air to swear that he will go after those responsible no matter whose ox is gored.
“They needed to find an excuse to sack him since they could not do so on grounds that he was fighting to recover missing funds. They then planned to get Manja to cause trouble in Aba while Barr. Ahaaiwe was in Lagos and use that as an excuse to dissolve the Board.
“Manja left the Airport back to Aba and sent three vehicle loads of armed thugs to attack the office of a PPIDF Agent in Aba, Mr. Kenneth Chikezie. On arrival, they opened fire and the Mobile Policemen on guard there returned fire and also called for reinforcement from Cameroon Barracks. In the process, some of the armed hoodlums were hit and one reportedly died later from his injuries.
“Having succeeded in their plot, the Cabal quickly announced the dissolution of the Board on the excuse that revenue Agents fought in Aba. They never called the Chairman/CEO to even find out what happened and have not called till now. Calls by Barr. Ahaaiwe to Dr. Eme Okoro the SSG who reportedly authored the dissolution announcement were not taken nor returned. Similarly, calls to the Deputy-Governor who is the Chairman of the IGR Council were also not taken nor returned.
“This action which is shameful and dirty is a grievous mistake but a measured, calculated, calibrated and strategic response and reaction will come later. All the investigations will go on as the dissolution of the Board solves nothing; even a bread seller out there who alleges that a crime has been committed can report same and it will be investigated notwithstanding that he is not a victim of the crime.
“Barr. Ahaaiwe will be meeting with his colleagues in the Human Rights and Anti-corruption community in Lagos and then hold a world press conference in Abuja within a week or two where FULL details with exhibits of the perfidy will be unveiled after which he will commence the course of action he deems fit.
“Finally, condolences are sent to the gallant men of the Nigeria Police who were attacked and wounded WITHOUT ANY PROVOCATION while on guard duty at a PPIDF Ticket office by armed men sent by agents of the Abia State Government. It is an unfortunate day when functionaries of a State Government will arm hoodlums and send them to attack uniformed Policemen on official duty; in any other part of the world any attack on uniformed personnel is considered the height of infamy.
“Condolences are also sent to the families of the other dead and wounded victims who were SACRIFICED by the Abia State Government and their Agent, Manja in order to hide their crimes.”