24 January 2019

Nigeria: How Minister Lied to Buhari to Sack Me - Ex-TETFund Chief

interview

Abdullahi Baffa was on Monday sacked as the Executive Secretary of the Tertiary Education Trust Fund (TeTFund). He was promptly replaced by Sulaiman Bogoro who had earlier been sacked from the same position in 2016.

Although no official reason was given for Mr Baffa's sack, the ex-official has now blamed his exit on the education minister, Adamu Adamu.

In an interview with BBC Hausa Service, Mr Baffa explains how Mr Adamu allegedly engineered his sack.

The interview has been translated to English by Mohammed Lere and Ahmadu Maishanu.

Excerpts:

Q: How did you receive the news of your removal from office?

Baffa: On Friday night, I received a phone call that the Minister of Education, Mallam Adamu Adamu, went to see the president clutching a file to report me, demanding my ouster. This is not the first time. For months he has been reporting me to the president falsely accusing me but the president resisted.

Q: Who told you that or you are just talking on speculations?

Baffa: It's not speculations, it's something that has happened.

Q: Do you have any evidence that he reported you to the president?

Baffa : Yes I do have evidence. On Saturday night, I received a call that the president has given a directive for my removal from office. I asked the person what was my crime that was reported to the president that warrant my removal, he said the minister reported to the president that I was inaccessible, insubordination and I'm granting press conferences without the minister's consent. The issue that I am inaccessible, he the minister was the one that knows better that I'm the easiest person for him to see because even my colleagues at the Tetfund accused me that I spend more time in the ministry with the minister than in my office. All the time I have been with him in the ministry, I'm doing my work at the Tetfund and doing his work at the ministry.

Q: All the allegations leveled against you, have you ever contacted the minister one on one to sort out things?

Baffa: We have talked on issues several times, because the accusations are many. But I'm more specific on the three issues he reported to the president. If you receive a directive from your superior, you must do. But if your superior asks you to do something that is not within the premise of the law and or is breaking the law, I will not do it because that will amount to subversion and I have no regret for refusing that order because I will not betray the trust bestowed on me by Nigerians and the president.

PT: You are making a serious accusation that the minister gave you order but you refused because it amounts to treason. Are you are just making the accusations because the minister is not here to defend himself.

Baffa: You Can go and ask him. Eight months ago, Mr Adamu Adamu sent his biggest contractor to me and the contractor told me that the minister is angry with me on three things. He mentioned one and two issues and the third issue, he said that I shared over N200 billion to tertiary institutions in Nigeria. Even if I am collecting 10 per cent from the institutions I could have collected over N20 billion, where is the money? Let me tell you since I began this job I did not collect not even 10 per cent, 1 per cent or even one naira from any institution. If there's any school that I requested a percentage of the money I disbursed to them, I will be willing to accept a death penalty.

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