Sunday, September 13, 2020 The Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission, (ICPC) has been asked to beam the anti-corruption searchlight on the Federal College of Education (Technical) located in Asaba, Delta State. The school was established in 1986 by Decree No 4 of the then military authority with focal point on producing vocational education teachers to mentor students with vocational skill.
The school has been hit by allegations of corruption leveled against the management of the school. In a petition sent to the ICPC Chairman, Professor Owasanoye, the Human and Environmental Development Agenda, (HEDA Resource Centre) said a representative of the school’s workforce had written to the ICPC indicating a can of worms in the institution but instead the whistleblower has faced threats to his life.
“We urge you without further delay to beam the searchlight on the school. There are serious allegations of corruption against the management of the school. The allegations are financial mismanagement of millions of Naira of public funds” HEDA said in a petition signed by its Chairman, Mr Olanrewaju Suraju.
HEDA said it received calls from one Mr. Ameh Joseph Eche who informed the foremost Nigerian anti-corruption group that he had written a petition since last year to the commission demanding an investigation into the prevailing corrupt practices at the Federal College of Education (Technical) Asaba, Delta State. The authority of the school he accused of resulting in several forms of reprisal attack on him and gross violations of his rights. Eche had written a rejoinder dated November 3, 2019 to the commission without any reply.
Eche however informed HEDA that upon communication with the head of the investigation team, Mr. Muhammed Lawal, he was informed that active investigation commenced on the petition in January 2020 but that after a month of not receiving any feedback, he relayed with Lawal again who notified him that the investigation on the petition had been concluded and recommended for prosecution and that the suspects were found culpable.
“The provisions of the law are clear on the powers conferred on the Independent ICPC to investigate and prosecute. The investigation on the matter said to have been concluded in February 2020 is yet to be instituted in a court of competent jurisdiction” Suraju said urging the ICPC to give adequate protection to Mr Eche.
HEDA said Eche deserves the protection and be treated as a patriotic citizen and whistleblower who did the right thing by reporting the recurring cases of corruption in the name of contract implementation amongst top officials of the institution. The sleaze HEDA said, has eaten deep into the roots of the school which might make the school lay in ruin,” HEDA stated.
The group said as a public institution, corruption allegations against the school are of grave concern to the wellbeing of the students and workers of the school and the public at large.
Suraju said further “We call for urgent investigation and we want to see the ICPC ensure that individuals and officials implicated in abuse of office and corrupt practices are brought to justice, which is of utmost priority to the course of justice. This request for update is not to be considered as interloping but as one of our patriotic mandate to promote and foster accountability while ensuring transparency and participatory governance in the country.”