HOW APC FLAG-BEARER SCUTTLED FG’S SCHOOL FEEDING PROGRAM IN KATSINA

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A group of youths and women from Safana Local Government Area of Katsina State have called on the state police command to prosecute the All Progressives Congress, APC, flag-bearer for Safana Local Government Area of the state, Umar Muhammad Kabir, over acts of financial malpractice he allegedly perpetrated while he was the Education Secretary of the council.

The alleged corrupt practices range from siphoning funds meant for the federal government’s schools feeding programme and UNICEF’s GPE programme in Safana LGA as well as receiving double salaries from the state government.

Leading the youth groups to a press conference in Katsina, their spokesman, Salihu Yakubu explained that the state Commissioner of Police had earlier received two petitions filed by the lawyers of the protesting youths and women cooks who were allegedly duped by the said official.

The first petition which was filed by a law firm ‘Anjov, Gachi and Partners’, at the instance of a youth from Safana, Hussaini Babban Duhu, alleged that while Umar Muhamamad Kabir as the Education Secretary of Safana he had collected the salaries of a classroom teacher and an Education Secretary simultaneously.

“As of February 2016, Kabir Umar was working with the state ministry of education as a classroom teacher on grade level 09, however by march 2016 he started collecting the salary of grade level 14 and was equally paid two months’ arrears as shown by his pay slips.

“Kabir Umar continued collecting the salary of grade level 14 which he was not due to collect from the ministry of education, Katsina State up to October, 2018.

“Upon his appointment as Education Secretary he failed or refused to notify the Ministry of Education, Katsina State, of such appointment but rather continued to collect salary from the State Universal Basic Education Board, SUBEB, Katsina State, thereby collecting double salary at the same time.

“Kabir Umar kept receiving both salaries through his Account Number 0088352498 domiciled at Union Bank, Plc Katsina” the petition read, urging the state Police Commissioner to investigate the alleged misdeed by the official.

The second petition submitted by the group to the Katsina CP accused the APC flag-bearer of criminal breach of trust and misappropriation of monies meant for the execution of the school feeding program jointly funded by the federal and Katsina state governments while he served as the Education Secretary of Safana Local Government Area.

It alleges that “Kabir Umar has fed fat on the proceeds of the school feeding programme as almost half of the monthly funds given to the women who cook food for pupils end up in the Education Secretary’s pocket.

“Some of the women were compelled to share the money equally with the ES and some were given N10,000 only through some headmasters.

As regards the Global Partnership for Education, GPE programme, funded by UNICEF, through which primary schools receive monetary donations to support teaching and learning in benefitting states, the group alleged that Kabir Umar compelled the management of some primary schools in Safana LGA to give him part of the money meant to support education in the schools.

The group explained that due to the diversion of the GPE funds most schools in Safana Local Government Area went for over eight months without chalk or blackboard duster as testified by one of the directors and some teachers invited by the police during their investigation of the accused person.

The group noted that before Umar Muhammad Kabir’s tenure was renewed in 2020, the state government through the Ministry of Education set up a committee to investigate him where he was found wanting.

They recalled that when the matter was brought to the governor’s attention, he warned him over the malpractice for which he was found guilty based on investigations, however, after his appointment was renewed he committed more acts of malpractice.

The petition explains that “when another NGO launched a programme tagged IQS under which it donated funds to Islamic schools in order to curtail street and house-to-house begging, the ES cornered the money to his personal use by selecting some headmasters to parade themselves as Islamic school alarammas so that the money was transferred to their respective accounts which they would cash same and hand over to the ES.

While briefing newsmen on the petition, Salihu Yakubu noted that at Umar Muhammad’s own ward, he presented his brother’s name as an Islamic school alaramma who received the money from the donations meant for the Islamic school in the ward.

He lamented that while the ES awarded to himself the contract for constructing some of the schools, such as the school in Gingimi ward, in some other wards the Islamic schools were not built as the money meant for building the schools were used for the ES’ personal ends.

“Similarly, at another school at Kauyen Tsamiya also in Safana LGA, Umar Muhammad removed the roofing sheets and rafters and sold them with the promise to replace them, but as I am talking to you now, the roofing sheets and rafters have not been fixed as the walls of the school have started falling off.

“Some primary schools benefitted from new blocks of classrooms and new generators donated by the NGO but the ES has taken away all the generators and converted same to his personal use.

“The schools affected are Mai jaura, Bauda, Yarima, Kukar samu, Salihawar Kalgo and ‘Yan mazare primary schools”, Yakubu alleged.

He narrated how Umar Muhammad Kabir was arrested by the state police command on the 8th of March, 2022, but was released on bail the next day.

Investigations by journalists reveal that some top government officials in the state were responsible for hindering the investigation by the police on the matter.

The youths from Safana are calling on the state government and the state police command to prosecute the alleged suspect on the charges listed.

They are also calling on the APC leadership in the state to stop the accused person from contesting the chairmanship position in the state based on the allegations.

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