Following the alleged N1.5 trillion fraud leveled against the Director-General, Nigeria Maritime Administration and Safety Agency, NIMASA, Dr Bashir Jimoh, on social media, the Coalition of Civil Societies Organisations (CCSOs), yesterday, condemned it terming it as frivolous and unfounded.
This was contained in a statement jointly signed by the Conveners of Competent Governance for Accountability and Civic Trust, CGACT, Amb Omoba Michael, and Amb Godwin Erheriene, where they described the allegation as mischievous and threat to national unity.
The statement reads in part, “We the Coalition of Civil Society Organizations, CCSOs, use this medium to call on Federal Ministry of Information via the National Broadcasting Commission, NBC, to do something regarding the regulation and censorship of some of Social Media contents so as not to throw Nigeria into anarchy with flimflam information as the anomalies recorded in recent time is far more than the right thing we have achieved with it.
“This record is not good for a growing nation like Nigeria as it will discourage many well-meaning Nigerians and foreigners both within and outside the country, who intend to contribute their own quota to the development of this nation.
“We are having growing worries over the too many ‘misleading information’ circulating in the Social media by those playing politics of propaganda, using the internet as an avenue to spread their countless mirage information just to score cheap political propaganda irrespective of the damage it will bring to the Nation.
“We are aware of recent misinformation about some government organisations which are too important and sensitive to our nation but being dragged to the mud by some unscrupulous elements who are serial blackmailers.
“It is so apparent and disgusting about the financial allegation leveled against the DG NIMSA, Dr Jimoh Bashir , which is sheer political propaganda and a blackmail against the image of Dr Bashir, which is just too laughable and watery because this allegation does not deserve a second thought before throwing it into the trash can.
“Let us reason as prudent and civilized Nigerians; the total budget of NIMASA in the year 2019 was N110.84 billion and for 2020 was less than N140 billion, as we are not unaware, Dr. Bashir Jimoh came in as the DG of NIMASA 10 March, 2020.
“NIMASA is a self funding agency which in 2018 she generated N22.9 billion to the Consolidated Revenue Fund (CRF) as her highest generated fund ever to CFR since inception.
“NIMASA is an agency under the Federal Ministry of Transport, and the Ministry’s total budget for 2021 is N205 billion, while the nation’s total budget is N13.6trn.
“Then the question is, how is it possible for the DG of an agency under the Federal Ministry of Transport to steal N1.5 trillion just in a single year, since he came into office March 10, 2020?
“Where is he getting this huge amount of money from? Or is NIMASA a sister bank of the CBN that prints money (credit added to bank deposit)? All these questions deserve an answer.
“However, have we done our own independence findings to know if there is even any anomaly as regard to financial misinformation? At this juncture it is now obvious this figure is too outrageous and misleading gullible Nigerians who find it difficult to do their own independence findings on a case like this instead they easily believe whatever they finds on social media.
“Majority of those who are behind this flimflam allegation, that is not even correlated in anyway, don’t even live here in Nigeria yet they want to cause unnecessary tension in this country using mirage information.”
However, the group also expressed concern why Nigerians are not taking advantage of the Freedom of Information Act, to have access to assess vital information they need clarity on.
“It is no longer news that majority of Nigerians are unaware of the Freedom of Information (FoI) Act that was signed by the then President Goodluck Ebelle Jonathan, which empowers every Nigeria citizen to walk freely into any government office and request for whatever documents they need clarification on, but majority of Nigerians barley take advantage of the FoI Act instead they easily believe and accept any information they bump into in the internet”, it added.
The statement concluded by calling on the Independent Corruption Practices Commission, ICPC, and Economic Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, to investigate the allegation carried on some social media platforms to clear the issue.