In a significant development, several Nigerian university vice-chancellors have come under scrutiny for their involvement in an extortion scandal implicating certain federal lawmakers. This unfolding controversy took an alarming turn as these academic leaders were accused of making false statements before a parliamentary committee. The situation appears to be evolving into a poorly conceived cover-up attempt.
Earlier investigations brought to light a shocking revelation: lawmakers were allegedly demanding bribes from the vice-chancellors and other entities in exchange for compromising an ongoing inquiry. As per our findings, the vice-chancellors purportedly deposited N2 million each into a Providus Bank account, the details of which were provided by the lawmakers through an intermediary.
Chairman of the Committee, Yusuf Gagdi, had summoned these vice-chancellors in response to the publication. Approximately ten vice-chancellors, along with the Acting Secretary of the National Universities Commission, Chris Mayaki, appeared before the Committee during its recent hearing.
During the proceedings, Mr Gagdi reiterated his assertion that an investigation had been initiated to malign the Committee’s members and divert attention from their ongoing probe into federal agencies accused of involvement in recruitment racketeering. Interestingly, when Mr Gagdi invited Mr Mayaki and the vice-chancellors to address the Committee, he did not administer an oath, as he contended that the previous oath taken during their prior appearance remained valid.
Surprisingly, Mr Mayaki and Mr Tanko, representing the Committee of Vice-Chancellors of Nigerian Universities (CVCNU), took a stance that appeared to deflect from the core evidence-backed story. Mr Tanko stated that the lawmakers had not demanded money from them and falsely accused them of not contacting the vice-chancellors before publishing the story.
However, our attempts to contact Lillian Salami, the Chairperson of CVCNU, and Sagir Abbas, the alternate chairperson, were documented in our story, as neither of the officials returned our calls or responded to our messages.
Mr Tanko eventually admitted that the vice-chancellors did indeed transfer funds into the account number published. He asserted that the money was intended for the purchase of foreign currency, particularly for an upcoming summit scheduled to take place in Birmingham, UK. The vice-chancellors, he claimed, required this foreign exchange to attend the event.
Remarkably, the Committee did not inquire further into whether the vice-chancellors had collectively transferred money to a single account for purchasing foreign currency or the specific exchange rate provided by Ama Business Solutions, the entity engaged in this transaction.
Our ongoing investigation has uncovered falsehoods presented by Mr. Ishaya and his counterparts before the Committee, which we will elucidate in forthcoming reports.
We are on the verge of revealing how the Gagdi-led Committee enlisted AMA Business Solutions to receive extortion proceeds in Nigerian currency, convert it to dollars, and deliver it to an agent of one of the committee members. We encourage Nigerians to stay tuned for this forthcoming report, which promises to shed light on this complex and evolving scandal.