Investigate distribution of IIRO assistance to orphans in Bauchi, Women Group tells EFCC, ICPC
A coalition of women groups under the aegis of ‘Women Coalition for Sustainable Peace and Viable Democratic Gains in Bauchi State’ has called on the Economic Financial Crime Commission (EFCC), Independent Corrupt Practices (ICPC) and other anti-graft agencies in the country to as a matter of necessity, investigate the way the Bauchi State Agency for Orphans and Vulnerable Children (BASOVCA) distributed the relief assistance donated to orphans by the International Islamic Relief Organisation (IIRO).
The call was made by the Coalition while addressing a press conference in Bauchi through its Leader, Hajiya Addaji Muhammad, saying that they received a series of complaints from the beneficiaries that 13 per cent was removed from the money meant to support their education while many complained that their names are missing but the people they were screened together received their assistance, while others complained of discrepancies in the distribution as some received between 20, 000, some 70,000 while few others received 118,000 and 400,000
Addaji Mohammed alleged that initiators of the assistance, who are Angarar Yuguda and Support Initiative for Vulnerable Children (SIVWoC) a Non-Governmental Organisation headed by a Philanthropist, Hajiya Baheejah Mahmood were sidelined by BASOVCA without any genuine and cogent reason, therefore, appealing to the anti-graft agencies to intervened and investigate the distribution of the orphans’ money.
When contacted on the issue, State Chairman of BASOVCA, Ibrahim Abdullahi, said that the Agency only assisted the IIRO to trace the beneficiaries explaining that “we heard about the assistance through Sheikh Ibrahim Disina and we sought the approval of the State Governor who allowed us to look for the beneficiaries in all the 20 local government areas of the State, BASOVCA did not initiate the programme, we only assisted to identify the beneficiaries”.
He added that, “the IIRO came with the list of 492 people and until now we did not get all of them, also the 13 per cent deduction was the money we used by the Agency to find the whereabouts of the beneficiaries, and it is allowed even in Islam if you work on the wealth of the orphans, it is lawful to take your pay”..
On his part, Dr Ibrahim Disina said that he only offered help sometimes back when he went to Kaduna on a private visit and his friend told him that they have assistance for many orphans in Bauchi State but they don’t have contact since the last they had was with a Woman called Hajiya Baheejah Mahmood and they gave him her number ,
Ibrahim Disina further said that he only picked the message as a good citizen to enable orphans from his home state to have access to the assistance and when he came to Bauchi he tried to get Hajiya Baheejah but he could not reach her adding that after he called and sent text messages to her with no response he decided to reach the reorganized government agency for the welfare of orphans and Vulnerable children where he was told that Baheejah had since left the place and he handed over the letters to BASOVCA,
He said that a few days later he was invited for a meeting with the Secretary to the State Government, some Government officials and a Staff of Stanbic IBTC Bank, where he explained to them how he got the letter and how Bauchi State orphans will access the funds and other laudable programmes of the IIRO.
Ibrahim Disina also said that he was not aware that the funds were disbursed to the beneficiaries because he had finished his role and assignment, which was to link the agency with the officials of IIRO to enable Bauchi State Orphans to access the funds.
When contacted, Hajiya Baheejah Mahmood said that she is the one who initiated the programme and spent a huge amount of her personal money to sponsor the registration exercise of the beneficiaries but she was sidelined at last when the money matured
Baheejah Mahmoud further said that she received series of complaints from the beneficiaries and many registered people whose names are missing and she is looking for the best way to approach the issue even if it means taking legal action in other to defend the right of the orphans.