Linus Oota, Lafia
The Secretary to the Government of Nasarawa state, Aliyu Ahmed Tijjani, on Tuesday narrowly escaped suspension by members of the State Assembly over his inability to explain his role in the diversion of N1bn meant for renovation of secondary schools across the state.
The SSG, who appeared before the Assembly, admitted that he collected N1bn in November 2018 to renovate 205 secondary schools in the state.
He told lawmakers that in November 2018 while serving as Commissioner for Education, he requested for N1.4 billion to renovate 205 secondary schools across the state but N1bn was finally released to him.
He maintained that the contract for the renovation of those schools were awarded to politicians but none of them received up to 30% mobilisation from him and when he was leaving Commissioner in May 2019, he left only N18 million out of N1bn.
The SSG, who could not explain how he spent the money without carrying out the renovation, told lawmakers the records of what he did was in the ministry and wondered why they chose to invite him instead of current Commissioner.
Commissioner for Education, Hajia Fati Sabo, sIaid: “At the time I took over, the brief of the projects in question was not captured in the handover given to me by the then Permanent Secretary.
“I came across this issue on 23rd December 2019 when N84m was released to the Ministry to pay contractors who have completed their work. When I started verifying those projects , I discovered that some politicians who were given the contracts started complaining that they were not mobilised.”
At this point, the Majority Whip of the House, Mohammed Muluku representing Nasarawa Eggon East, moved a motion for the suspension of the SSG to pave way for proper investigation.
His motion was seconded by Luka IIya Zhekaba representing Obi II state constituency.
All the lawmakers supported the motion but Speaker Ibrahim Balarabe ruled the other way and set up an adhoc committee to investigate the SSG.
According to the Speaker: ” It is in view of this that we are setting up an adhoc committee to investigate the projects in the interest of our children who are sitting on the trees accross the state to learn.
” The committee include the Chairman and members of the House Committee on Education, Chairmen of House Committees on Finance, Public Account and Works respectively.
” I urge the committee to do a thorough job as it is sad and unfortunate that our children in some secondary schools are learning under the trees.”