Posted by News Express | 9 December 2015 | 2,248 times
Mr Josehus Achiaku, a witness at the Benue Commission of Inquiry sitting in Makurdi, has pleaded with the commission to protect him and other witnesses from assailants.
Achiaku, a Director of Agricultural Services, made the plea while testifying before the commission on Tuesday.
He said that he received strange visitors at his residence on the evening of the last day he appeared before commission.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that several witnesses and journalists had alleged that they were threatened and attacked for testifying before the commission.
Gov. Samuel Ortom inaugurated the Judicial Commission of Inquiry to probe the administration of former Gov. Gabriel Suswam.
The commission, headed by Hon. Justice Elizabeth Kpojime, was mandated to look into funds and receipts accrued to Benue state from 2007 to 2015.
It was also mandated to inquire into the sale and lease of government property from 2007 to date.
The commission was also mandated to ascertain the amount received by the government as allocation from the federation account, LG funds, bonds and loans, excess crude accounts, SMEs account, SURE-P funds.
Achiaku told the commission he was threatened and attacked for testifying on the fake 23,400 bags of fertilisers the last administration claimed it procured in 2012.
He said that Dr Eugene Aliegba, the former Commissioner for Agriculture and Natural Resources, approved the procurement of the 23,400 bags of fertilisers against professional advice.
He said that Solab Engineering Ltd, the contractor that supplied the commodity, supplied three different brands of fertilisers to the ministry.
He alleged that the NPK brand labeled "golden fertilizer" was fake.
Achiakui said: “When the contractor supplied the first consignment, we discovered that the fertiliser was not good and told the chief store keeper not to receive the consignment.
“Shortly after, the commissioner himself came to the store and ordered that the fertiliser be received and I was redeployed to another department within the ministry.
“It is worthy to note that the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Natural Resources saddled with the responsibility of protecting farmers interest later tested the fertiliser and discovered that the quality was low.”
Achiaku added that the ministry was unable to sell the fertilisers to farmers and the commissioner consequently ordered the procurement of another 1,500 metric tones to cover up the scandal. (NAN)
•Photo shows Ex-Gov. Suswan.
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