Presidency keeps mum on indictment of Buhari’s minister for fraud

Uguru Usani, Niger Delta Minister
Uguru Usani, Niger Delta Minister

The presidency has decided to keep mum on a minister who was indicted for fraud when he held office in a different capacity.

The Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Usani Usani, was indicted for financial impropriety for his role when he held office during the military era.

PREMIUM TIMES is in possession of a government white paper which documented Mr. Usani’s indictment after he was found guilty of fraud in 2000 by a panel established by the Cross River State Government.

Mr. Usani, who had just finished serving as the Cross River State Commissioner for Agriculture, Water Resources and Rural Development, appeared in 1999 before a government committee set up to investigate financial impropriety among officials of the preceding military administration in the state.

The committee, officially known as Financial Impropriety/Verification Standing Committee, was inaugurated in 1999 by the then governor, Donald Duke.

It was chaired by Orok Oyo, and had Andy Ikpeme, Ekpe Ita, Otu Oka and Akomaye Adie as members.

According to the document, Mr. Usani, because of his alleged intent to defraud the government, was said to have refused to apply government approved scales, when he paid out some money as fees to Gersh Henshaw & Company, a firm of estate surveyors and valuers, which handled the contract for the valuation of vehicles, workshops and equipment belonging to the Cross River State Water Board.

The valuation was said to be part of the African Development Bank water project in the state.

Gersh Henshaw & Company was paid a lump sum in dollars, the document said.

The committee said the state government lost N16.323 million because of Mr. Usani’s “deliberate” action.

Mr. Duke’s administration, apart from accepting the committee’s report, directed that the N16,323,150 be recovered from Mr. Usani, and that he should be prosecuted.

The government, according to the document, accepted to forward particulars of the transaction to the Code of Conduct Tribunal, with a complaint of financial impropriety and abuse of office against Mr. Usani.

It also accepted to blacklist Gersh Henshaw & Company from getting further patronage from the government.

PREMIUM TIMES couldn’t verify, as at the time of publishing this report, if the state government recovered the money from Mr. Usani, and if it also handed over the case to the Code of Conduct Tribunal.

Mr. Oyo, the chairman of the committee which indicted Mr. Usani, said the minister never went to court to challenge the indictment.

Cross River keeps mum

Like most other white papers by various tiers of government, which some analysts have blamed for the impunity among public officials on corruption matters, Mr. Usani’s indictment appears not to have been followed through by the Cross River government.

The current Attorney-General and Commissioner for Justice in Cross River, Joe Abang, declined to be interviewed by this newspaper when he was contacted on phone.

Donald Duke
Donald Duke

His counterpart in the Ministry of Information, Rosemary Archibong, told PREMIUM TIMES that, “You can talk about government white paper if you have it. I am not in the position to comment on the criminal aspect of it, because it is only the court that can decide on that”.

None of them would comment on whether the state planned to take any further action on the indictment.

Mr. Usani, who served as commissioner from 1997 to 1999 under the military administration of Colonel Umar Ahmed, did not pick calls nor respond to text messages sent to his telephone line.

The 55-year-old politician, who is also a pastor, was Chairman of the All Progressives Congress in Cross River before he was appointed minister in 2015 by President Muhammadu Buhari.

Before then, he contested for governorship in the state in 2003 under the National Democrats (ND) and again in 2012 under the Action Congress of Nigeria, ACN.

It is unclear how Mr. Usani was able to scale through the usual thorough background and security checks when he was slated for a ministerial appointment.

Presidency keeps mum

For an administration whose major mantra has been the war on corruption, the Muhammadu Buhari administration has kept mum on the minister’s indictment.

Garba Shehu

When PREMIUM TIMES contacted presidential spokesperson, Garba Shehu, he asked that an email be sent to him. He is yet to respond to the email over two days after it was sent.

Should the presidency decide to shield Mr. Usani, he may not be the first to enjoy such privilege by the administration.

The administration has received a lot of criticisms from Nigerians for its treatment of corruption allegations levelled against the current Chief of Army Staff, Tukur Buratai, and the Minister of Interior, Abdulrahman Dambazau.

Mr. Usani’s case is, however, unique as his indictment has been made official by a government gazette.

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  • amazing2012

    If he was indicted then take him to court. What do you want the presidency to do ? Any body accused should be presented to court then the court will decide and write to his employer.

    • Kay Soyemi (Esq.)

      Bruv, this is no longer a question of accusation or allegations. The man was indicted and it was published in a government White Paper.

      Mr. Buhari and his advisers do not appear to have done their homework properly on this matter.

      It does beg the question as to what criteria is being used to determine corruption under the present government.

      If I was Mr. Buhari, not only would the man be back on his way to Cross Rivers State, the person who nominated him and those who recommended his security screening and clearance would be looking for other jobs beyond what they presently have.

      That’s the only way corruption and nepotism can be tackled effectively.

      • B. Messi

        And ‘what criteria is being used to determine corruption’?
        Good morning ooo!


        Keep living in your fool’s paradise, they know the man’s antecedents and corruption record very well, they just cannot go against one of their’s.

        • B. Messi

          Soyemi is either ignorant or making a poor attempt to absolve his lord & master buhari.
          It baffles me why grown men will worship a mere mortal.
          All I feel is pity for them really.
          So sad.

      • amazing2012

        indictment is not arrignment before a judge or a prove of guilt. Take him to court if you have evidence agaisnt him.

        • emmanuel

          Is Patience Jonathan not guilty already? Is Dasuki not Guilty?
          you are a known satanist, prowling in the online media on the back of your arid Nigeria North Islamic agenda – those who stand truth on the head and have no integrity!

          • amazing2012

            Patience is never guilty because she was not brought before the law. even dasuki is not guilty because the law have not probing him guilty. It is only court can declared someone guilty of an offense.
            On dilusion of Islamization of Nigeria, if prosecuting corrupt officials is islamization then Dasuki will have been released because he is a muslim and son of islamic sultan.
            You are just a loser and ignorant.

      • emmanuel

        What did you say when Liar Mohammed arranged to collect N15 million from BON?
        By the way, how did you get back here and who gave you a raise to renew your data subscription?
        your APC is mortally corrupt and a band of wicked, brainless and insensitive humans.
        I am happy that Tinubu has been castrated, Osinbajo caged, Adefulire turned a latrine cleaner at the Villa and Abike Dabiri now a dish washer too. Make Babatunde Fowler chop any money at the FIRS with the foolani Perm Sec. detailed to watch him closely and he would land in jail soon
        Those who voted Buhari too should be imprisoned going by your postulation, afterall, he still does not have a WAEC Certificate, $2.8 billion indictment by Senate probe panel headed by Oloye Saraki and the PTF indictments were all in the past like the mans own.
        All crooks must be sent packing.

    • Chukwuka Okoroafor

      The Presidency should fire him. That is what they can do and will be held responsible for. Without it, they are shielding a corrupt individual and are just as guilty. So with this, we can blame the Presidency wholesale.

      • amazing2012

        Take them to court if you have evidence to indict them.

        • Chukwuka Okoroafor

          But the President’s responsibility is to fire those who are corrupt. Am I going to be the one to sack the minister?

        • abodes_124

          Court is a matter for the judicial authorities. Sacking is for the President.

    • abodes_124

      Sack him as Minister that’s what

  • Adekunle Akindude

    why did this not come up during senate screening I am ashamed of all theseindicted fellows not stepping down Like Saraki and Ekweremadu for starters

  • David Adeniran

    That means the security check made by the Presidency on the guy before his appointment was ZERO! This is really worrisome because it means they can appoint a Security Risk fellow to a sensitive position. I weep for Nigeria!

    • FreeNigeria

      welcome to Nigeria, where mediocrity is celebrated and worn like a badge of honor.


      They were very much aware, the Buhari government sees nothing wrong in protecting and appointing crooks as long as they are in their political camp.

      • B. Messi

        God bless you my brother.
        Sometimes I can’t help but smile at the ignorance of some of these guys.
        Either ignorance or a deliberate attempt to absolve their ‘god’, Buhari.
        It’s disgusting.

    • B. Messi

      Oh, you guys actually think the security check didn’t throw this up?
      These checks are carried out by DSS amongst others. I can assure you this issue must have been discovered.
      The issue isn’t ‘zero check’ by the presidency, but that they(presidency) FAILED/REFUSED to act on the report.
      Those entrusted with such sensitive assignments in the presidency are alwys the CLOSEST confidantes of the president.
      Oh, and forgot, Mr President is squeaky clean..but his closest & trusted friends are massively kwaropt.

      “Deceiving and being DECEIVED”!

      • David Adeniran

        I didn’t know you work in the Presidency and DSS?

        • B. Messi

          Oh, so one needs to work in the presidency and DSS to know that??
          Wow! ‘Ignorance is bliss’ finds fulfilment in you bro!

    • okenwa

      What about senate that vetted him?


    It is absolutely normal for the Buhari government to shield and protect crooks from their neck of the wood

    ” CHANGI “….MY FOOT !!

  • TrueFairGame

    What was the previous government doing since 1999 on the case? People want this administration to solve all corruption cases from inception of Nigeria to date? How realistic is this?
    While we encourage the government to pursue and solve corruption cases especially those that are in court, those of the immediate past administration and those emanating from the same government, We should be very realistic on what can be accomplished considering the demand of other aspect of governance.

    • mukhtar

      Foooool! No one says all cases should be solved. But WHY APPOINTED A PERSON INDICTED FOR FRAUD??


      • mukhtar


      • TrueFairGame

        i dnt respond to retards. sorry

        • Folu G.

          Ouch. Truth hurts right? The story is of an indicted person being appointed as a minister, and all you can claim is why people want this administration to solve all corruption cases since inception?

          • okenwa

            Justice oputa panel indicted buhari over corruption and you nigerians appointed abi voted him to be your president. Therefore corruption cannot fight corruption.

    • abodes_124

      They are not being asked to ‘solve’ the case. they are just being informed of the antecedents of a Minister in a corruption fighting government for their action as necessary. If you do a poll you will find that 95% of Nigerians will not expect any action which will be the case. That will be instructive on how the ‘fight against corruption’ is viewed.

  • B. Messi

    These are the clowns and pretenders baba buhari spent 7months to appoint!
    And some nincompoops sang Hosanna in the Highest..calling them square pegs in square holes.

    • utolason

      Use your brain and ask why is this coming up now when the matter was investigated in 1999 for transactions that took place under the previous military regime!

      • B. Messi

        Use your brain and ask why a regime that prides itself in anti-corruption would appoint a person indicted for fraud!

        • utolason

          Was he indicted, really? Publish the details for us all to see.

          • FreeNigeria

            Did you read the article? or you just comment just to comment. Listen, we all voted for this administration, but they’ve failed so far. we need change and fast.

          • Samadani

            Have you changed yourself? Change begin with me and you!

          • abodes_124

            No . Change begins at the top and we follow not the other way round.

          • B. Messi

            “PREMIUM TIMES is in possession of a government white paper which documented Mr. Usani’s indictment after he was found guilty of fraud in 2000 by a panel established by the Cross River State Government.”
            *expect PT to publish it soon to shut the mouth of eternal slaves.

            Use your brain and check saharareporters. It was published there three days back.

          • abodes_124

            Even if it is published he/she will still discountenance it because an APC man/woman can never steal or bee corrupt.

          • McAlfred Uta

            If he was not indicted he should be suing Premium Times by now for damages. But should he try it, the white paper will grace PR front pages tomorrow. As his defender, please tell him to sue PT.

      • abodes_124

        When should it best come up or should it not come up at all ? People who in their 90s who participated in the holacust are still being tried where they can be found. that is how the wheel of true justice turns.

  • B. Messi

    Baba has done it!
    N490 = $1!
    N600 = £1!

    Welcome to NEPA bill change!!!

  • Viva Revo

    Premium Times Editor,

    Muhamadu Buhari is NOT the solution to corruption

    Unless Nigerians resolve to deal with treasury thieves by moving
    against these treasury thieves physically and with deadly weapons to stop those
    robbing the country and claiming a right to do so, the country will never exit
    the pains and poverty of economic recession hurting the honest Nigerians –
    because recession has no meaning to treasury thieves and their criminal
    business proxies who stash away billions of Naira, stolen from the treasury by false
    accounting and by false invoices signed to dupe a whole country. Only honest
    Nigerians bear the whole pain of economic recession. In short, until Nigerians
    rise and kill these known treasury thieves in each neighborhood, there’s no
    hope or comfort for Nigeria. Rise and kill treasury thieves in self-defence
    before they ruin your lives! President Muhamadu Buhari benefited

    from the proceeds of thefts for his 2015 president campaign.
    President Buhari is now ambivalent on corruption nearby.


    President Muhamadu Buhari benefited from the proceeds of thefts for his 2015

    president campaign. President Buhari is now ambivalent on the corruption nearby.

    • Facto!

      In 2012, Lagos state floated a loan bond of ₦87.5 billion loan in November
      to borrow at 14.5% interest rate and got public investors to subscribe for repayment
      with interest but once the bond was fully subscribed, Fashola took 40% of the money
      – about 35 billion Naira or so – and handed it over in cash to Bola Tinubu, via bogus
      corporate fronts, namely: (a) Lekki Concession Company, (b) ARM company, and,
      (c) Hitech company
      ; in a bogus “buy-back deal” of a supposed concession right
      on the 15-kilometre Lekki Expressway.

      This patently corrupt deal was
      ostensibly to buy back Lagos state ‘concession rights’ on the Lekki tolled Expressway,
      according to Raji Fashola. But what the corrupt and clever by half Raji Fashola did not say
      is that the land at issue belongs to Lagos state and was never sold to Bola Tinubu’s company
      in the first place. Or did Bola Tinubu’s company invest 35 billion Naira expanding the road.

      In other words, by sheer fraud, Raji Fashola gave Bola Tinubu
      25 years profit upfront; without further work. A lien was then imposed on Lagos state
      allocation of federal revenue for the next 3 years to pay for this 87.5 billion Naira
      bond debt by all Lagos residents.

      • ???asking questions



      • Gary

        The regime sycophants who have woven the narrative of integrity and progressivism around Buhari and Tinubu aided by a suborned Lagos media have a hear no evil, see no evil approach to their glaring corrupt antecedents.

        Buhari is merely following on the national front the template he borrowed from how Tinubu continues to maintain a vice grip on the politics and finances of Lagos State. And the Mumu Lagosians who have enabled him in the name of ethnic solidarity (Yoruba parapo).

  • Dr Pat Kolawole Awosan

    President Muhammadu Buhari,must drop any of his ministers indicted for corruption crimes against the people of Nigeria, in any capacity must be removed from his cabinet if president Muhammadu Buhari, is truly focus fighting the widespread corruption disease pervading all strata of public governance in Nigeria.Any APC minister found or accused of proven looting,stealing and embezzlement of public funds and assets must be removed and prosecuted by the EFCC in Nigerian court.Corruption knows no tribe or religion as anti-corruption laws must be applied to all suspects equally.

  • Elder Ben


    I have not said anything since Mohamodu Buhari became president on 29th May last year. I am elderly person.
    Someone like me must not jump forward to talk anyhow. I wanted to observe things first and see Buhari in office.
    I am now convinced, after almost two years, that Buhari is the worst mistake in history that Nigerians ever made.
    Naira has fallen today to 490 Naira to one dollar, and Made in Nigeria Panadol Extra now costs ₦3,750 per pack.

    I read those two facts here this morning and i phoned my Chemist where they confirmed that Panadol is ₦3,750.
    That means university graduate in Nigeria today cannot afford to have simple headache and buy pain relief tabs.
    The cost of Panadol Extra at ₦3,750 is now more than the total salary of a university graduate’s salary per day.
    What kind of a useless government is this for Christ sake! Buhari has made Nigeria totally worse than he met it.
    On top of that there is no water, no electricity, no jobs, no safety to lives and properties, no hope, nothing at all.

    • Osholoko



      • abodes_124

        Water is not free oh

    • Hank

      Nigerian leaders alias chop chop. Blaming Buhari for a 50-year problems of corruption in Nigeria is not well thought out. How long do you think a country will last…when low IQ leaders of Nigeria spends the country revenue yanfu yanfu?

    • Mufu Ola

      Are you an elderly person? Your write up & conclusion doesn’t sound like a matured mind. Sounds more like those under the bridge agitators & commentators.What are u doing with packs of Panadol extra?

      • abodes_124

        Do you disagree with his opinion or the facts he stated that led to the opinion expressed?

  • Nigeria, which way? This is worrisome.
    When will a vote for change bring about change in our land?
    If this can happen even after Nigerians decisively kicked out a government they perceived as corrupt, what else can Nigerians try in order to get it right?
    Why is the road to our desired destination seeming so long and tedious?
    Why has success in government eluded us for so long (since 1960. We mark a year older tomorrow)?
    All our governments since independence have claimed to be fixing the ills occasioned by their predecessors’ corrupt leadership, a seemingly endless cycle. Yet each one continues to feature corrupt elements — some of whom are even men/women of god.
    Why does our reality make it seem as if countries that work are occupied by superhumans, not humans?
    Nigeria, which way?

    • Alkali

      ……The other scandal BUHARI covers up: Central Bank Audit result

      • ₦38.23billion developed legs and got missing in Central Bank under Sanusi Lamido Sanusi.
      • ₦160billion was taken by Sanusi Lamido at the Central Bank for self-determined spending.
      • ₦1.12billion was taken as spent by Sanusi Lamido on lunch for 12 CBN police guards
      in one year.
      • ₦1.12billion was taken in cash and entered in the account as paid to a non-operating airline
      for charter service.
      • ₦240billion was discretionally doled out at will as ‘donations’ by Sanusi Lamido.
      • ₦1.97billion was paid out in cash and entered on Central Bank accounts as “inexplicable
      expense” by Sanusi Lamido Sanusi.
      • ₦20billion was paid out in cash as Legal Fees by Sanusi Lamido to persons unknown.
      • ₦3.086billion was taken by Sanusi Lamido and written off as expense ostensibly to promote
      Central Bank image.

      • kumi

        My brother sanusi as CBN governor gave contract under gej government to Buhari worth 78 billion naira before the election in 2015

  • Edwin O. Eremosele

    @OkwufuluezeD:disqus : IT IS MY WELL-CONSIDERED VIEW
    that if by omission or commission Nigerians allow President Buhari to continue with his CHANGE for the worse,
    mortuaries will become so full all of a sudden that hundreds of corpses will be thrown to the streets for the dogs
    to eat, so as to save the cemetery from big overload. The way President Buhari wreaked havoc on all Nigerians
    is a crime against humanity. The level of deprivation, wants and hunger in the land has never been this terrible.
    Youths now see violent robbery and murder as the only way to earn a living so as not to starve to death in a hurry.

  • McAlfred Uta

    It appears for all intent and purposes that the APC corruption fight is restricted to PDP Administration from 2010-2015. For now as long as you are APC member you are free to loot and go free. If per adventure you were PDP and would gladly switch camp like Dariye, Jim Nwobodo, etc then you will be overlooked. My postulation may be wrong, but all evidence provided by Journalist on Buratai’s Dubai houses, Dambazzau’s New York homes, Chief of staff to the President, AGF Malami and even those connected to MTN’s debt forgiveness, will end up in deaf ears. As for Usani Uguru Usani who said “God forbid” on if he is PDP member, and recanted under pressure in order to be confirmed Minister, ride on nothing will come out of your exposition as long as you remain loyal member of the APC.

    • abodes_124

      Na so we see am oh. It is open house to all those in APC to steal as much as they want because nobody will touch them. As they now expect to be in power for ever the fear of being investigated by another government is not even there.

    • grand maze

      The idea is to build APC and not Nigeria. By prosecuting only PDP members, the president is sending out strong signal to all PDP power brokers to decamp to APC and get reprieve. Eventually we know all Nigerian politicians are rogues so in effect as they decamp to APC to avoid prosecution, APC grows stronger while PDP grows weaker. Ridding nigeria of corruption can go to hell.

  • separation is the answer-

    How did Bingo Buhari react when the Conference of Nigerian Civil Rights Activists, demanded the immediate removal of the Chief of Army Staff, Lt.-Gen. Tukur Buratai, over his ownership of two properties in Dubai, the commercial nerve centre of the United Arab Emirates.

    Did they not explain to us that the continued retention of Buratai in his position by President Muhammadu Buhari would rubbish the current anti-corruption crusade of the incumbent administration? Is it because this mumu is from the SS like Dame Jonathan?

    Bingo Buhari has continued to retain the Dubai thief despite the recent revelation of the procurement of properties in Dubai by the COAS as published by media houses in Nigeria-Is that alone not a dent on the integrity of the Buhari’s administration? Na Dame Jonathan ati other Ijaws from the Niger delta, una TRIPOD—-dey get power abi-? What about Amaechi-AISHA BUHARI-Fashola Fayemi—and Tinubu?

  • emmanuel

    If you want to become a successful thief, armed robber, looter of Nigeria treasury, rapist, arsonist, woman beater; better go join the APC and your success level is guaranteed – immunity.
    Better still, get part of the proceeds of your sleaze to reach the cabal and you are secured from prosecution.
    The act of silence on foolani herdsmen, election rigging, non-constitution of INEC, FRAUDULENT Change begin with me campaign, non-prosecution of Liar Mohammed N15 million sleaze from BON which he called a loan, and all other operatives of the present APC/FG is despicable.
    They only remind us of 1977/78 $2.8 billion Oil money, PTF Abacha looting (including that looted by the then masquerade), 18 suitcases of FOREX, CBN Dollar for Naira at Mallam’s shop.
    Na who go drive the change?

  • Olu from South Africa

    I am beginning to feel uncomfortable….PMB, please don’t let us down! You may probably be the last chance Nigeria have to be corrupt free society. Nigeria is giving you opportunity to be greater than Mandela, please don’t blow it like that ape in Ota.

  • Muhammad

    It will appear that the government is bitterly being taught that cleaning should be a regular duty along with the responsibilities of governance . After all the government taught Nigerians that governance is cleaning , cleaning and cleaning .