Here’s Why Benue Govt Suspended Health Scheme Boss


Benue’s Ortom (Photo: Terver Akase/Facebook)

The Benue Executive Council has approved the suspension of Dr Stanley Ugah, the State Programme Manager, Saving One Milion Lives, over alleged  embezzlement of N900 million of the scheme’s funds, Concise News reports.

This was contained in a press statement issued Thursday by Terver Akase, Chief Press Secretary to the state governor in Makurdi.

Saving One Million Lives is a partnership health scheme run by the Federal and State governments to expand access to essential primary health care services for women and children.

The statement stated that Ugah had appeared before the Council but failed to justify how the N900 million was spent.

The meeting presided over by Governor Samuel Ortom, ratified the suspension of the programme manager to pave way for thorough investigation into the matter.

“The suspension of the Programme Manager was to pave way for thorough investigation into the handling of over N900 million being part of the funds meant for the health scheme.

“The investigation will also ascertain why Benue State took 35th position out of the 36 states in 2017 rating despite the huge sums available to the Programme.”

It said a three-man panel under the chairmanship of the state Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice, Michael Gusa was given one week to investigate the matter and submit its findings to the council.

According to the statement, the Council also approved two years extension for the State Head of Service, Mrs Veronica Onyeke, who is to retire this year.

EFCC arrests 3 over alleged N7m fraud in Benue

In related news, the Economic and Financial Crime Commission (EFCC) on Thursday said it had arrested three suspects for alleged conspiracy and obtaining N7.1m by false pretense in Benue.

This was contained in a press statement signed by its Zonal Head, Public Affairs Department, Ms Nwanyinma Okeanu in Makurdi.

Ms Okeanu in the statement named the suspects as: Adewuyi Adebayo, 31, Osikoya Gboyega, 44 and Akintunde Ogunrinde, 47.

She explained that the suspects were arrested at different locations in Lagos on September 9, following a petition received by the commission from a complainant.

“The petitioner alleged that on 18th of February, 2018, he noticed his MTN line 08062751577 had stopped working as no calls or messages came to his phone and the phone displayed a message saying, ‘invalid SIM card’.

“He went to the MTN office to lodge a complaint but was told to apply for a welcome back SIM that someone else had swapped his SIM card in Abia State.

“He immediately contacted his account officer at FCMB bank to inform them of the development and to change his alert phone number to another line only to discover that transactions had occurred on his account without his consent.

“The threshold limit for online transfers on his account had also been increased above five hundred thousand Naira and the sum of seven million, one hundred and Seven thousand, five hundred and forty Naira (N7,107,540.00) removed from his account.”

The statement said further investigations revealed that a syndicate comprising of Adebayo, Gboyega, Ogunrinde, and others now at large, were allegedly behind the fraud.

She said during interrogation, the suspects claimed that one Alhaji White was their leader but could not provide his full name.

“Alhaji White is alleged to have met with Akintunde Ogunrinde a.k.a Kekere for a UBA account number. Ogunrinde approached Osikoya Gboyega who then approached Adewuyi Adebayo.

“Adebayo supplied the account number used for the business.”

She said the suspects would be charged to court as soon as investigations were concluded.

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Ridwan is a trained communicator who specialises in football and squash. He has been published by African Examiner. He provides professional coverage of general news, politics and sports, and has interviewed some of the biggest names in the field - including the first Nigerian interview with South Africa's no. 1 male squash player, Jean-Pierre Brits. He is a proud Nigerian and campaigner for #NigeriaIsOurs.

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