From Yakubu Mustapha, Minna
The Niger state government has denied rumours that Governor Abubakar Sani Bello has suspended his Chief Of Staff (COS) Hon. Mikail Bmitosahi over allegations of misappropriation, gross misconduct and fraudulent diversion of N600 million.
The state government debunked the allegations after a media report to the effect that the Chief of Staff to the Governor of Niger state and other aides has been suspended.
It was alleged that the Chief of Staff was suspended alongside the Special Assistant to the governor on Information and Communication Technology (ICT) Mallam Abdulberqy Usman Ebbo whose office was allegedly used to siphoned the money between April and October 2018.
It was gathered that the two principal officers were said to have used the money to settle bloggers and launder the image of the governor and the government on social media.
A source closed to Government House revealed that the whole scam came to public domain when the Chief Press Secretary, Mallam Jibrin Baba Ndace put forward a request for N10 million for the payment of bloggers and to settle some online media.
Findings further revealed that after the governor ordered their suspension he ordered his Principal Private Secretary (PPS), Mallam Adamu Aliyu who has also been having running battle with the embattled Chief Of Staff to oversee the office of the COS with immediate effect. Responding in a statement signed by the Commissioner of Information and Strategy, Alhaji Danjuma Sallau and made available to reporters in Minna, the government condemned the report saying “the report is malicious and untrue”.
Sallau added that, “the allegation of gross misconduct and fraudulent diversion of N600 million, nothing is farther than the truth as the allegation is not only false but a calculated attempt to soil the image of the Chief of Staff whom the Governor has bestowed serious responsibilities since the inception of the administration.
Continuing “the Chief of Staff, the Chief Press Secretary and other top Niger state government functionaries are presently on the entourage of the governor to meet with the United States African Development Foundation to partner in Agriculture and solar grid development. It is instructive that in the absence of the Chief of staff somebody must deputise”.
Also on the alleged rift between the Chief Press Secretary and the Director General of ICT Government house, and not the Senior Special Assistant as was wrongly quoted “the Chief Press Secretary is the Principal coordinator of all media machinery to the governor and there is no basis for any rift including the alleged N10 million mentioned,” he said.