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‘Blackmailers targeting heads of agencies’ — CSOs present investigative report on PenCom MD

‘Blackmailers targeting heads of agencies’ — CSOs present investigative report on PenCom MD
August 30
19:23 2023

Recent allegations of financial misappropriation and impropriety against Aisha Dahir-Umar, the director-general of the National Pension Commission (PenCom), were politically motivated, a coalition of 70 registered civil society organisations (CSOs) declared on Wednesday.

The Coalition of Civil Society Groups (CCSG) said at a press conference in Abuja on Wednesday that it had so far investigated allegations of corruption against three heads of agencies and concluded that they were mere media campaigns bordering on blackmail and propaganda.

Other agencies, it said, are the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC) and the Nigerian Upstream Petroleum Regulatory Commission (NUPRC).

Ohalete Wisdom, leader of the task force that investigated Dahir-Umar, said “false allegations” were sponsored by some politicians to get President Bola Tinubu to remove those appointed by the previous administration so that they could be appointed as replacements.


If the trend continues, the coalition warned, it may hamper the performance of government appointees.

CCSG said: “Following an allegation of graft, financial misappropriation and fraud levelled against the Director-General of National Pension Commission by a group which goes by the name Centre for Public Accountability (CPA), as a coalition of CSOs with mandate to intervene in public interest over issues relating to graft and general public complain in government circle, we immediately swung into action with a view to determining the veracity or otherwise of allegation.

“For proper understanding, the management of PenCom under the headship of Mrs. Aisha Umar-Dahir was accused of receiving a humongous amount of money in estacode among other issues contained in the petition. According to the allegation as enumerated by the accusers and being amplified by an online newspaper, the amount of money being claimed to have been received by the Director General in estacode is ‘millions of dollars’. They further put figures to it, which, among others, include, $1,800,480, N4,965,327 and others.


“Rattled by the gravity of this allegation, we quickly activated our team of investigators, comprising financial experts, forensic auditors, special fraud examiners and investigative journalists.
This patriotic assignment led our team to digging deep into the allegation, using our vast network to unravel the true state of affairs with the primary aim of making the appropriate recommendation(s) to the relevant institutions of government on the right step to take.

“However, after the arduous task, the team came to the realisation that the accusations are false, frivolous, unfounded, malicious and figment of the imagination of the actors whose primary aim we came to understand is to distract the director-general from her giant reformatory drive in the commission. Simply put, the allegations and the documents being bandied were hurriedly cooked up by seekers of favour as a bargaining chip to seek political appointment under the President Bola Tinubu government.”


The coalition said while people can pursue their political careers, “doing so at the crude expense of another man is not only criminal, callous and ungodly but a demonstration of weakness, lack dignity and open exhibition desperation”.


“For the avoidance of doubt, it was alleged that the said estacode was received in the year 2020. This again raises a red flag in the entire choreographed episode. You will agree with me that the entire global community was on a total lockdown — no movement of persons within and outside the country,” the report reads.

“In fact, there was no inter-state travels as a result Covid-19 pandemic which held the global community by the jugular. Despite this, our team meticulously and methodologically deployed their technical know-how and discovered NOTHING implicating against the Director-General.

“Further investigations, however, revealed that what was at play is simply a demonstration of envy, bitterness, powerplay and unexplained gang up against the Director-General by persons who are afraid that the giant feat she has achieved since assumption of office is displacing the old order, thereby thwarting their efforts to keep the entire sector perpetually backward in a rapidly moving world for their own nefariously selfish intentions.

“It is one of those scenarios where people fabricate malicious allegations to cheaply blackmail performing heads of government institutions with the primary objective to distract them and instigate their appointor (the President) against them.


“It is safe to say that the Director-General through her sterling performance has dwarfed the records of all her predecessors and has gone ahead to raise the country’s pension asset from N6.42 trillion Naira in 2017 when she came on board to N15.5 trillion Naira as at February 2023. The successful recapitalization of the pension industry from N1 billion to N5 billion, which she supervised has without any shadow of doubt built the confidence of investors and indeed every stakeholder within the pension value chain.

“It is also laughable that these same accusers have made it their stock-in-trade to attempt to curry favour from any administration that comes on board by fabricating avalanche of unsubstantiated falsehoods against heads of institutions and parastatals. They did same under former President Muhammadu Buhari and failed.


“While we pass a vote of confidence on the Director General of PenCom, we appeal to all stakeholders to ignore the unfounded allegations against her and continue to offer support as she is poised to give all Nigerians a life worth living post-retirement.

“We call on President Bola Tinubu to sustain the federal government’s support towards the total overhaul of the country’s pension sector for a collective success in the interest of our senior citizens and all other members of our society.”


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