The victims of attacks in Southern Kaduna received the news of the donation of N120M by Gov. Nyesom Wike of Rivers State with excitement. The donation was sent directly into the account of SOKAPU to be shared to the 8 LGAs of Southern Kaduna where the attacks took place and have established IDPs. After receiving a petition by the Christian Association of Nigeria of Chikun and Kajuru LGAs on their dissatisfaction with SOKAPU’s handling of the funds.
Some Journalists of Southern Kaduna extraction embarked on the full investigation of the allegations raised by CAN.
Below is the full text of the findings
A COMPREHENSIVE REPORT OF THE FINDINGS BY SOME CONCERNED SOUTHERN KADUNA JOURNALISTS ON THE GOVERNOR OF RIVERS STATE, NYESOM WIKE, N120M ASSISTANCE SENT INTO THE ACCOUNT OF SOUTHERN KADUNA PEOPLE’S UNION (SOKAPU) FOR DISTRIBUTION TO INTERNALLY DISPLACED PERSONS (IDPs) AND VICTIMS OF ATTACKS IN THE REGION.
In February 2022 the Governor of Rivers State, Nyesom Wike, donated N200M to communities that were ravaged by incessant attacks by marauding herdsmen in Kaduna State. Out of it, and for obvious reasons, Southern Kaduna IDPs got N120M while their northern counterparts got N80M.
When the IDPs across Southern Kaduna received the news in February that they were to be given N120M out of the total of N200M, their joy knew no bounds. But the wild jubilation that accompanied Gov. Wike’s N120M charity was short-lived, after the Jonathan Asake-led SOKAPU, against the wish of the IDPs, bought and shared them relief materials instead of what they opted for: building materials, farming inputs, and start-up grants for petty businesses.
Some concerned Journalists of Southern Kaduna extraction, having toured the 7 local governments that were severely affected by recurring attacks, interfaced and had interviews with some of the coordinators of some of the IDPs, it became evident that the items distributed by SOKAPU were not commensurate with the N60 Million expended by the previous management of SOKAPU. When the coordinators of the IDPs were quizzed about the N120M donation by Wike, they didn’t hide their grievances while also condemning what they termed ‘misappropriation’ of the said funds.
As part of our findings and in the principle of balancing report, we interviewed Barr. Dio Maisamari, the Acting SOKAPU President. He said about half of the N120 million was expended by the outgoing president, Jonathan Asake. That is, about N60 million was purportedly expended on the purchase of Rice, Beans, Gari, Maize, Macaroni, Spaghetti, Sugar, Salt, Indomie noodles, Maggi, Soap, Vaseline, Vegetable Oil, Pampers, Sanitary Waresd transportation. However, the puzzle lies in the number of IDPs, the total number of displaced persons in the camps, and the number of items distributed to these IDPs.
IDPs COORDINATORS’ ACCOUNT
According to Mr. Raphael Joshua, National Publicity Secretary (P.R.O), Chawai Development Association (CDA), who is also the coordinator of all the communities affected by banditry in Kauru LG, the items delivered to IDPs in Kauru by SOKAPU were as follows:
Rice 25kg (69 bags), Beans 15 bags, Gari 15 bags, Maize 9 bags, Macaroni 15 Cartons, Spaghetti 15 cartons, Sugar 5 bags, Salt 6 bags, Indomie 24 cartons, Maggi 6 Cartons, Soap 9 Cartons, Vaseline 9 Cartons, Vegetable Oil 3 Cartons, Pampers 30 role and Sanitary wares 15 rolls.
Pastor Gideon Mutum of the Governors’ Assembly in Kafanchan, Coordinator of Nehemiah IDP Mobilization Camp in Kafanchan, Jema’a LG, said he has about 1560 persons in his IDP camp who are victims of attacks from Zango-Kataf, Kaura, and a few of them from Kauru LGAs. When asked if he received any item from SOKAPU as part of the Gov. Wike N120M assistance, he replied: “no.” He went further to say that he was called that he should come to Kagoro and when in Kagoro, he realized that it was relief materials meant for Zango-kataf, Kauru, and Kaura LGAs respectively, while his own LG of Jema’a was excluded. He immediately asked why he was invited since IDP Camps from his LGA weren’t captured among those to receive the items brought, and SOKAPU replied that they could include his IDP Camp, and they promised to include his IDP when they come next time. “This is over 3 months, and I have not received anything,” he lamented.
Reverend Gambo Waziri, a Pastor with ECWA, and founder and also Coordinator of Mercy Camp, Zonkwa, Zango-Kataf LGA also narrated that his Mercy Camp had victims numbering about 20,000 IDPs from 24 communities in the LGA. When he was asked about the N120m donated by Wike, and what his camp got he said, “I don’t want to be sarcastic. My response will be laughable somehow. I’m yet to receive a dime. Nobody even called me to say this is what is given to your IDP. The relief material that they gave Mercy IDP Camp looked as if they were compelled to do so.”
According to him, he received a call from Pastor Gideon Mutum who told him that he was called to go to Kagoro for relief materials that were purchased with Gov. Wike’s funds. He said that when Mutum arrived but he didn’t see him, he asked if SOKAPU had called him and he replied that they didn’t. He asked again, “have you received any text from them?”, he said, “no.” Then later, Zango-Kataf Council Secretary called him and told him they were in Kagoro and they didn’t see him. He asked, “Where are you?” He replied that he was not coming because he was not invited.
Later on, the Z/Kataf Council Secretary called him again and pleaded that he should just turn up, then he sent his secretary to go to Kagoro where they were given the following items: beans 25kg (10 bags), Rice 25kg (40 bags), Sugar 2 and half bags, Spaghetti 10 Cartons, Sanitary Wares (Pampers 10), Vaseline 12 Cartons, Vegetable Oil 2 Cartons, Soap 6 Cartons, Maggi 4 Cartons and 16 Cartons of Indomie.
Mrs. Suzana Solomon, the Coordinator of Awon IDP in Kachia LG, which harbours about 300 IDPs, said she had never heard of the name of SOKAPU and she added that she didn’t receive any item from SOKAPU.
In the same Kachia LG, Mr. Onomza John, the Youth Leader of Adara, Maido District Community, who doubles as the leader of the 23 communities that constitute the Maido IDPs in Kachia LG, which has more than 2000 IDPs, said about 4 months ago, SOKAPU brought food items and also gave them N300, 000 cash to complement their transportations to their respective destinations. SOKAPU told them that, the items delivered were part of the N120m donated to IDPs by Gov. Wike. According to John, the items donated to them by SOKAPU included 45 bags of Maize (50kg), 35 bags of Rice (50kg), Beans 50 bags (50kg), and Indomie, Spaghetti, Maggi, Soap, and Clothes, but that he couldn’t recall their quantity. Kanaki Makai from Kuturmi narrated that the Kuturmi community in Kachia LG did not receive any item from SOKAPU.
Ango Sudah, Secretary General of Adara Development Association, Kajuru LG Branch, said, on 4th June 2022 SOKAPU came with relief materials to their communities, which included: 50 bags of Rice (50kg), 50 bags of beans (50kg), 30bags of Garri (50kg), but couldn’t remember the quantity of Indomie, Spaghetti, Sugar, Salt, Sanitary Wares, Toilet and Washing Soap that was donated. Meanwhile, SOKAPU issued a press statement stating that they shared relief materials to IDPs in Kajuru worth N12.8M, which has been reproofed by many people in Kajuru.
LETTERS OF COMPLAINTS BY KAJURU AND CHIKUN CAN BRANCHES
Following the refusal of SOKAPU to form the Local Government Sharing Committees as recommended by PDP chairman and the total lack of transparency in handling the Wike N120M funds, two letters of complaint were written by the Christian Association of Nigeria, CAN, Kajuru, and Chikun branches respectively. They were addressed and issued to the Chairman, People’s Democratic Party, PDP, Hon. Hassan Felix Hyat. The Kajuru LG CAN branch expressed their concern and we quote: “It was announced that the total sum of 200 million Naira was donated to our IDPs. Out of the said amount, JNI was given the sum of 80 Million while 120 Million Naira was given to SOKAPU, and nothing was given to CAN. A letter from PDP Kaduna State Chapter was addressed to CAN Kaduna State giving their local government chapters the mandate to monitor and supervise the distribution of the money which in reality was never given to CAN.”
A separate letter by the CAN Chikun branch, which was equally addressed to the Chairman, PDP, Kaduna State, stated: “The Executive Governor of Rivers State, Dr. Ezenwo Nyesom Wike, during his visit to Kaduna State, donated the sum of N200 Million Naira as an Intervention Fund to help reduce the suffering of IDPs and distressed communities in Kaduna State and later shared to stakeholders in the state for onward distribution to the affected people and communities for which you sent a letter to Kaduna State chapter of CAN confirming that N15 Million Naira has been given to Chikun Local Government Area also mandating the Local Government CAN to monitor the onward distribution to displaced persons in Chikun LGA and the member representing Chikun/Kajuru Constituency confirmed that the said money is with SOKAPU.”
THE LG COUNCIL CHAIRMEN’S PERSPECTIVE
In the course of our findings and following the document issued to SOKAPU insisting on the body to form a fund-sharing committee in each of the LGAs that have been affected by the activities of bandits, which should include the council Chairmen of Kauru, Kaura, Zango-Kataf, Kajuru, Kachia and Chikun, The Concerned Journalists of Southern Kaduna extraction sought the views of the local government chairmen if they received any amount from the Wike donation based on the sharing formula given to them by the state PDP chairman.
The Chairman of Zango-Kataf LG, Francis A. Sani said he did not collect a dime from SOKAPU
THE KADUNA STATE PDP CHAIRMAN, HON. HASSAN HYAT’S VIEWPOINT
Concerned Journalists of Southern Kaduna extraction interviewed the Chairman of the Kaduna State PDP on the N120M Wike donation to hear his own view and he had this to say.
“I want to clarify a lot of things that I have heard, which are completely false. Governor of Rivers State, Nyesom Wike announced the donation of N200M to assist IDPs in the state. He made the public announcement when he visited the party in Kaduna. Wike did not come to Kaduna with N200M to give PDP for onward transmission to IDPs. Senator Ahmed Makarfi, Gov. Wike and I met in Makarfi’s residence and we further discussed as to how we would get the money across to IDPs. He replied: ‘when you finish the calculation on how the money will be shared, you should get back to me.'”
“After he left, we looked at the LGAs that have been devastated by banditry, we analyzed them based on the information available to us and it was based on the information that we did the allocation of the funds. In the Southern part of the state (Zone 3), it is only Jaba LG that we knew had no incident of attack, in that regard it was only Jaba LG that was not included.”
He further stated that, “In Zone 2 Senatorial District, Kajuru, Chikun, Birnin Gwari, Giwa, and Igabi LGs were attacked by militia herdsmen. That was why they were all captured. In order to ensure that the money went directly to the targeted beneficiaries we contacted SOKAPU to give us their bank account and we sent it to Gov. Wike and the money was remitted to their account directly. This is because SOKAPU is a socio-cultural group and it has been up and doing on the issue of IDPs. It has gone around soliciting assistance for people that have been displaced by attacks.”
“But, when it came to distribution and the use of its account as a channel of transfer of money meant for the IDPs, I followed up with a letter to SOKAPU that the money should be distributed based on LGs, no penny was meant for SOKAPU. There was a breakdown for all the LGs and SOKAPU was directed to set up an implementation committee in each LG to comprise SOKAPU, the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), traditional institutions, PDP (who will be my eye in monitoring), and elected representatives of the beneficiary communities. It is there in writing. Thus, SOKAPU was not given the sole responsibility of handling the sharing of that money.”
He also expressed shock over Asake’s refusal to work with the template and timelines given by the party as was the case with the JNI leadership up north. In his words, “while in Birnin Gwari, Giwa, and Igabi, JNI complied with the template that was given to them and went to work immediately, the same could not be said of SOKAPU. So when I saw the delay from SOKAPU, I called the president, Jonathan Asake, on two separate occasions to find out why nothing was happening as was the case in the other zone, and he said it was because he traveled out of town for meetings of the Middle-belt Forum and also said he would come and see me when he comes back, gave me dates twice, but never turned up or called until Chikun and Kajuru LGs CAN Branches sent me letters of complaint that they wanted their own money just as JNI shared to respective LGAs in the northern part of the state. At this point, Asake claimed that the template given to SOKAPU was merely a suggestion and not a directive, but I quickly reprimanded him and reiterated that the money sent into SOKAPU’s account was not meant for SOKAPU which was why there was a breakdown. Simply put, SOKAPU was merely a messenger or you may say the vehicle we wanted to use to get the monies across to the target population.”
On the rumours that the PDP leadership in the state tampered with the funds before transmitting the balance to the aforestated bodies, the PDP Chairman dismissed the allegation, claiming that the rumours are merely calculated attempts to tarnish the reputation of the PDP and perhaps, divert the attention of the public from the real issues which border on the lack of transparency and accountability on the part of Asake and his team. “Why we sent the account details of SOKAPU and JNI and insisted that Gov. Wike sends the monies directly to them or directed the CAN and JNI to get their LG chapters to get involved in the purchase and distribution of relief items was to ensure accountability and the judicious utilization of the funds. Therefore, let me clarify that the money did not come into the account of PDP, it did not come through the account of Hassan Hyat, it did not come through the account of Senator Ahmed Makarfi, it was directly sent to the account of SOKAPU for onward transfer to the identified LGAs based on the sharing formula we sent to Wike as also captured in the template given to SOKAPU. So, SOKAPU had no right to start expending money on behalf of the people in the IDPs without the knowledge of all the bodies and persons that were supposed to be part of the implementation committee as directed by the party.”
The State Chairman also used the opportunity to explain how Gov. Wike even came about helping IDPs in Kaduna State contrary to claims from some quarters that SOKAPU had been in touch with the Rivers governor on the subject matter. According to him, “anybody who claimed that SOKAPU has been in touch with Gov. Wike is totally lying. As the Chairman of the PDP State Chairmen Forum in Nigeria, Wike approached me that he wanted to interface with the forum to sell his candidature. We (the forum and Gov. WIke) met in Rivers House in Asokoro, Abuja and after the meeting, I approached him, one-on-one, and I told him: “Your Excellency, I appreciate what you have been doing to IDPs in states where there are no PDP governors.” I told him, “3 days ago there was an attack in Kagoro, Kaura LGA of Kaduna State and the situation was bad. Please, we need your help.”
He said, “I have been thinking of it; please discuss it with your counterpart from my state.” That was what he told me and I called my counterpart, the PDP Chairman in Rivers State, the following day and he said he was going to take it up with him. After my discussion with Wike, when I came back, I called the SOKAPU president. He came with his P.R.O. and I told them about my discussion with Wike. The SOKAPU president expressed appreciation. As a matter of fact, he didn’t tell me that they had earlier made such an effort. After meeting with SOKAPU, I called CAN Chairman and briefed him also and he was very happy.
SOKAPU ACTING PRESIDENT, AWEMI DIO MAISAMARI’S RESPONSE
Narrating his own side of the story on the subject matter on why SOKAPU jettisoned the template for the sharing formula given to it by the Kaduna State PDP leadership, SOKAPU President (then Acting) Mr. Awemi Dio Maisamari explained that the union viewed the letter from the PDP on the sharing formula as a suggestion or the view of the PDP Chairman on how the funds should be administered, and not necessarily a directive as claimed, adding that the said letter was not arrived at as a result of consultations with stakeholders on the matter. So, when the letter was received, the then President, Jonathan Asake, actually expressed the view that that was not the best way to administer the funds, and opted for the procurement of relief materials centrally and distributing to the various communities affected in the various LGAs. According to him, this view was made known to the PDP Chairman. He narrated thus:
“We felt in SOKAPU that this is the best way possible to attain the needs of the people in the IDPs and that is because we have a track record of experience on this. This is why when the funds came, SOKAPU was identified as the best group to handle it. If it is the distribution of cash, I don’t think SOKAPU is in that business.”
“In SOKAPU, we agreed that the first phase of distribution is going to be relief materials. When the funds were received the initial focus of SOKAPU was to provide food, which is a primary concern with the understanding that if we are through with that phase, when we are entering the subsequent phases, we will now look at the needs of IDPs in a holistic manner because to our understanding the needs include food, shelter and medical needs and educational and sustainable livelihood. So, we know that we have to address these needs depending on the priorities of the communities concerned. Certainly, we are not going to use all the funds just to buy food. At the time that Jonathan Asake stepped down as SOKAPU President, he had already spent about half of the N120m and that half was used to address the issue of food in particular.”
In conclusion, the worrying state of the displaced and traumatized people among us is the motivation behind this investigative work. As the conscience of society, every journalist has a duty to rise above board to unravel the truth about anything that is of great concern to society especially as it affects the well-being of the internally displaced among us. We have a duty to hold leaders to account for their actions and inactions while holding public trust. While our team made efforts to get Asake’s own side of the story, he instead directed our team to speak with the acting President, Dio Maisamari, noting that he is no longer the president of SOKAPU.
It is our considered opinion, therefore, that given the facts from available records and oral sources, Mr. Asake and his team have questions to answer; their refusal to set up local government committees or involve CAN branches, other community leaders, and other stakeholders in the management of the relief funds as directed by the State PDP Chairman; the failure to oblige to the requests by the IDPs themselves base on priority needs, such as o building materials, farming inputs, and micro-capital for women and youths and; NOT food items, and most disappointingly, the inability of the union to justify the about half of the N120 million purportedly spent by the Asake leadership on food and sanitary pads, is, to say the least, an indictment on Mr. Asake and his team.
It is instructive to note, that the cost of the overall items distributed to each IDP Camp, records of which we obtained in the course of our investigation, going by their market value as at that time, cannot be up to 40% of the about N60 million Asake or SOKAPU claimed to have expended while he held sway as the union’s president, hence, our resolve to write this report.
This investigative report was conducted between August and September, 2022 and as at the time of its release, the current SOKAPU President, Mr Awemi Dio Maisamari, had been suspended from office for sometimes as part of allegations concerning the misappropriation of the balanced N60 million handed over to his leadership by Asake. He was just recently recalled back to the office, while the SOKAPU leadership is yet to conclude investigation on the matter.
The report was conducted and compiled by Concerned Southern Kaduna Journalists.
Ango Bally, Invicta Radio
Abayo Gando, AIT
Sunday Isuwa, Leadership
Israel Bulus, PUNCH
Bomba Dauda, Publisher Gurara Accord.
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