By Ibraheem Solahudeen.
The immediate former Commissioner for special duties, Aisha Ahman-Pategi endured ‘frustration, victimisation, harassment and intimidation’ since the time she raised alarm over illegal deductions of about N300 million naira from the account of her ministry while she was commissioner for local government and chieftaincy affairs. This was according to a release by the Patigi Peoples Voice.
In the statement jointly signed by the President of the group, Ndako Muhammad Aliyu and General Secretary, Musa Tsaduko, the PPV said Aisha Ahman-Pategi had endured varying humiliations since the time she raised alarm over “shady monthly deductions from the accounts of her Ministry by the Hon. Commissioner for Finance without her knowledge or authorisation.”
Although the State government, through the Chief Press Secretary, Rafiu Ajakaye denied that there were any such illegal deductions and announced the setting up of a panel to investigate the allegations raised by Aisha Pategi, the events that followed, according to PPV, suggested that the government was not sincere in unearthing the truth.
The Patigi Peoples Voice listed the hand-picking of members of the investigative panel by the governor, rather than inviting the anti-graft agencies to conduct the investigation like was previously the case; the minor cabinet reshuffle to transfer the whistleblower, Aisha Ahman-Pategi, from the local government ministry to the less visible special duties ministry; retaining the commissioner for finance who was said to be behind the alleged fraud in her position, and the continuous vilification of Aisha-Pategi for bringing the matter to public domain by the government as some of the indications of government’s lack of transparency in the matter.
“In a normal climes, one would expect that someone who came out to raise an alarm on some seeming acts of irregularities in her ministry deserves to be commended and compensated rather than being vilified by a government which the people of the state believed will conduct its affairs transparently devoid of any form of corruption,” the Patigi Peoples Voice said.