Probe N192.96b largesse to pregnant women in Jigawa, HURIWA tells EFCC | The Guardian Nigeria News

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The Human Rights Writers Association of Nigeria (HURIWA) has asked the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) to probe the administration of Governor Abubakar Badaru of Jigawa State over the N192.96 billion it claimed to have shared with pregnant women and lactating mothers in seven months.

National Coordinator of the group, Emmanuel Onwubiko, in a statement yesterday, said the claim was unbelievable, outrageous and another possible means to siphon taxpayers’ funds, adding that the public should not be swayed by the gimmicks of the state government.

Recall that the Jigawa State government had said it spent N192.96 billion to implement its Maternal and Child Cash Transfer Programme between November 2021 and June 2022.

According to reports, the Executive Secretary of the Jigawa State Rehabilitation Board, Ibrahim Rabakaya, made the disclosure at an event last Wednesday. 

Rabakaya had said the intervention targeted 5,740 beneficiaries.

However, Onwubiko challenged the state government to release the list of beneficiaries and proof of the disbursements.

He said: “The claim that the Jigawa State government shared N192.96 billion to pregnant women and lactating mothers is outrageous and highly unbelievable. Governor Abubakar Badaru must tell Nigerians how many million girls are pregnant in the state because the amount spent appears to have been used for all pregnant black girls globally.

“As every other government expense, the state government should transparently release the list of beneficiaries of the humongous money, the bank used to distribute the fund and other important details like their medical history. Nigerians won’t be beguiled by such blatant insults on our collective intelligence like the government saying it spent N688.8 million on bank charges! Who is fooling who?

“Whilst HURIWA supports the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goal Three, which is to “ensure healthy lives and promote wellbeing of all at all ages”, corruption under any guise should never be condoned and where there are reasonable suspicions that some things do not add up, then the relevant national anti-graft agencies should ask the most relevant questions to ascertain whether there are skeletons in the cupboard and then swept them away through lawful means.

“HURIWA, therefore, urge the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) to probe the Jigawa State government and its spending of N192.96 billion on pregnant women. This is election season and politicians are craftily moving out money under spurious guises. The anti-graft agency must bring an end to this trend.”

In a related development, the civil rights advocacy group also charged the EFCC to tell Nigerians why the Peoples Democratic Party’s (PDP) governorship candidate in Rivers State, Siminialayi Fubara, was yet to be arrested months after he was declared wanted over an N435 billion fraud.

Onwubiko added: “The law must respect nobody if indeed the war against graft is to be taken seriously. We are asking the EFCC if the powerful politician has also secured a permanent ban through the courts on the EFCC to treat him as an untouchable sacred cow or not. The ominous silence from the EFCC end and the heightened political environment in Rivers State show that may be some secret arrangements may have been reached as alleged in some circles.

The EFCC should tell Nigerians the status of that matter, which they themselves brought to the public square on their own; or do they expect us to just watch and make no demands for accountability?”