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Corruption Scandal Rocks Nigerian Governors’ Forum Secretariat

The Nigerian Governors’ Forum (NGF) Secretariat is facing a major scandal following allegations of corruption and financial mismanagement by its Director-General, A B Okauru. 

The accusations were detailed in a petition submitted to the Forum’s Chairman, Governor AbdulRahman AbdulRasaq of Kwara State, by Abdulrazaque Bello-Barkindo, the NGF Director of Media and Public Affairs.

In the petition dated May 17, Bello-Barkindo outlined numerous instances of alleged fraudulent activities and financial impropriety under Okauru’s leadership. 

He called for a forensic audit of the NGF’s financial records spanning the last 15 years, emphasizing the need to expose the depth of the alleged corruption.

Bello-Barkindo claimed that Okauru’s loyalty was to an entity outside the 36 governors constituting the Forum, hinting at external influence and conflicting agendas that undermine the Forum’s objectives. 

He accused Okauru of transforming the Secretariat into a personal enterprise, rife with nepotism and self-enrichment at the expense of the public good.

Among the specific allegations, Bello-Barkindo pointed to over-invoicing schemes, unaccounted financial transactions, and improper audits. 

He highlighted the sale of a valuable plot of land in Abuja’s Central Business District, which was allegedly sold to Okauru’s wife at a fraction of its market value, with the proceeds unaccounted for.

The petition also described the poor financial conditions of the Forum’s staff, contrasting with the substantial income generated by the Secretariat. 

Despite an annual revenue of over N3 billion, the total staff salary was only N70 million, leading to widespread discontent and questions about the whereabouts of the funds.

Bello-Barkindo accused Okauru of turning the NGF into a family-run operation, awarding contracts to close associates and family members, and even directing office resources and equipment for personal use.

 He recounted several instances of public altercations between Okauru and other executives over money, reflecting the internal strife within the Secretariat.

One of the most alarming claims involved a purported plot by Okauru and his wife to leverage the COVID-19 pandemic to redirect NGF resources and operations to their personal NGO, Dagomo.

 According to Bello-Barkindo, this scheme was thwarted after he and his colleagues raised concerns, but not before the NGF allegedly disbursed N50 million to Dagomo.

The petition concluded with Bello-Barkindo expressing his readiness to face any repercussions from his allegations, underscoring his commitment to exposing corruption. 

He detailed steps he has taken to protect himself and his family from threats, including seeking protection from various governors’ forums and international authorities.

Efforts to obtain a response from Director-General Okauru were unsuccessful, as he did not respond to calls from SaharaReporters for two days prior to the filing of this report.

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