The Chairman of the board of Cross River Basin Development Authority, Eseme Eyiboh, has been sacked by President Muhammed Buhari.
Mr Eyiboh’s sack came about two months after the Minister of Water Resources, Suleiman Adamu, overruled the board on the suspension of the agency’s managing director, Bassey Nkposong, over an alleged corrupt act.
Mr Nkposong was suspended after an ad-hoc committee which looked into how the agency was run accused him of irregularities in the award of N250 million worth of contracts and other “breaches.”
The managing director refused to respond, twice, to the allegations, including a query from the board before he was suspended.
Mr Nkposong, however, told PREMIUM TIMES he did not receive any query or suspension letter from the board. He also said he was not aware of the ad-hoc committee set up by the board.
Mr Adamu, while overruling the board on the suspension, said the board did not possess the needed authority and also did not also follow due process.
A letter from the Ministry of Water Resources to Mr Eyiboh said President Buhari has approved his removal as the board chairman.
The letter, dated October 8 and signed by the permanent secretary, Didi Walson-Jack, on behalf of the minister, did not state why the board chairman was removed.
Mr Eyiboh’s removal, however, appeared to be in connection with the board’s investigation and eventual ‘suspension’ of the managing director.
Mr Eyiboh was not queried by the ministry. The allegation of corruption was also not investigated by the ministry.
The minister, instead, asked the sacked chairman to hand over to a member of the board, Ademola Oyadare.
The minister did not respond to calls and a text message seeking his comment.
Mr Eyiboh, on Saturday, issued a press statement over his removal. He addressed the alleged corruption in the Cross River Basin Development Authority.
“The Board under my chairmanship did not reckon with the organised corruption ring that had the active connivance and protection of the power grid at the supervising Federal Ministry of Water Resources,” he said in the statement.
“The trajectory of the board’s running battles to ensure transparency and probity by the management of the CRBDA shows clearly that the agency’s Managing Director could not have been acting independently of a powerful protective cocoon located in the supervising ministry.
“Six months after the composition and inauguration of the Governing Board of the Cross River Basin Development Authority by the President, the management of the CRBDA engaged in the most scandalous public auction of the commonwealth of the people occasioning the carting away and conversations of public assets under spurious circumstances and continued to run the Authority as if there was no board, with the Managing Director acting as a sole administrator, as it were before the board was constituted.
“The Governing Board had to invoke its oversight powers by setting up an ad-hoc committee to look into the activities, programmes and projects of the Basin Authority,” Mr Eyiboh said.
Mr Eyiboh said his removal “should not end the quest for accountability” at the agency.
“I want to restate that Hon Eseme Eyiboh may be the target, but he is not the issue at stake at the Cross River Basin Development Authority. The main issue is corruption, which I believe is actively being covered up from high places. If the supervising ministry dares, let the minister institute an independent panel to confirm or rebut the findings of the board,” he said.
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