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Human Rights Group Calls For Suspension Of NCDMB Boss Over Corruption Allegations

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Human Rights Writers Association of Nigeria, HURIWA, and other civil society organisations in the country have asked the Executive Secretary of the Nigerian Content Development and Monitoring Board, NCDMB, Engr. Simbi Wabote, to reveal the sources of the fund with which he is fighting his legal battle with a US-based investigative journalist, Mr. Jackson Ude.

HURIWA sees this as another possible setback to the ongoing war against corruption by the President Muhammadu Buhari-led administration.

There is an ongoing legal battle between Wabote and Ude which is a result of the investigative journalist exposing alleged damning corruption by the Executive Secretary.

And in a press conference in Abuja on Thursday, January 27, 2022, HURIWA, alongside other civil society organisations, wondered why Engr. Wabote has continued to remain in office despite these damning allegations of abuse of office, corruption, and perjury against him.

HURIWA is of the belief that by continuing in office and refusing to step aside or be suspended by the Buhari administration, Wabote has continued to engage in the alleged abuse of office by apparently using NCDMB or so it seems to handle his legal battle in the US.

The group noted particularly that the Executive Secretary has been using the Board of NCDMB and its spokesperson to issue media releases in a case he is suing as an individual in his personal capacity.

“We have cause to ask the said public office holder to tell Nigerians how he pays his legal fees in the USA if he is not using public funds as alleged,” the CSOs said.

“To the best of our knowledge, the NCDMB is not joined in the defamation suit against the journalist, which is pending in the U.S court and should not be responding for Engr. Wabote in the media.

“In the same vein, it is our view that it is also wrong for Engr. Wabote to continue to enjoy the perks of office and obviously using public funds to fund his legal issue or associated issues.”

Furthermore, the groups feel that following the magnitude of allegations, Wabote should have since resigned honourably or stepped aside momentarily to clear himself.

Recall that the Nigerian Senate had on Wednesday, January 26, 2022, upbraided Wabote-led management of NCDMB over an alleged breach of local content laws being carried out by an Italian Multinational Oil Field Services Company, SAIPEM, which is serving as the principal contractor involved in executing $10 billion Train 7 gas project following a petition against SAIPEM for alleged violations of local content laws in the execution of the $10 billion gas project contract.

The groups, therefore, called on the Economic And Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, and the Code of Conduct Bureau, CCB, to immediately investigate the financial statements/transactions of Tee And T Concepts Nigeria Limited to ascertain the extent of Engr. Wabote’s involvement or otherwise in the running of this private company with interest in landing state contracts either directly or via proxy companies and acquiring compensation in form of business transactions.

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