OFFICIAL RESPONSE OF THE GOVERNMENT OF ENUGU STATE TO
THE EFCC REPORT
03 October, 2006
By way of stating our background in this; that is before
accepting to get into the fray, it is imperative to quickly point out that the
sole purpose of this statement is to address the worries created in well meaning
citizens, friends and the diplomatic community, who have voiced strong rage at
the turn of what was initially believed to be an altruistic investigation of
financial activities of the government of Enugu State of Nigeria, by the
Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC.
In coming out now, especially in formally looking into what is currently
portrayed by hilarious political players who have not actually read the report,
we seize this opportunity to impress it on our valued admirers, citizens,
friends and the diplomatic community that we have not accepted to be distracted
from the now-globally acclaimed huge results in delivering to the people of
Enugu State. We have, also, not abandoned our deliberate gesture of decorum,
circumspection, caution and objectivity, in patiently awaiting the outcome of
investigation, though not side-by-side pre-judicial, pre-trial, publicity, as
now adopted by the Commission.
Indeed, while we adopted this gesture of studied silence, we understood that we
would be pressured beyond the heating level of the furnace, but we had
continued, convinced, as it were, that the silence and detachment which we
portrayed as formal response to such efforts at dramatising the then exercise in
investigation of financial activities was not by any means meant to convey
fright or dread or any lack in the right strategies plan. For those who know us
very well, it neither meant the lack of the will nor even stomach to embark on
such public communication initiatives to put aside the deliberate attempt at
altering citizens’ perception of the government of Enugu State .
At each point, however, we had been driven on the striding statesmanlike
disposition of His Excellency, Governor Chimaroke Nnamani, who largely infused
in all that if the agenda of those who wanted to make battlefields of the coming
political/electioneering season was to try Enugu as potent trouble-spot, they
should be made to fail.
However, while this still holds sway, we cannot ignore the emerging prompting,
especially revealed in the public show of trial of the Government, officials and
the good people of Enugu State, which had to be followed by a shoddily disguised
“packages” of media exposure aimed at etching the entirely incoherent report in
the minds of Nigerians, friends, well wishers and the diplomatic community.
Initially, though as still practised elsewhere, the essence of trust in public
institutions is that having come on the wings of public law, it preaches public
order, applies objective conditions and rigidly observes the rule of law, so as
to further public harmony, security of persons and property, as well as set the
standards for public spirited values to predominate activities in society.
In saying this, we are not unaware of the possibility of high grade political
schemes usually associated with deadly power plays, especially such that would
seek to hijack the programmes or mode of operation of other wise objective
institutions to achieve selfish ends.
Yet, even as these were expected and indeed, seemed to have happened, it was
initially taken for granted that it would never come to bare-faced falsehood,
stage drama, hollering, complete disrespect for persons and institutions, all in
the name of responding to supposedly populist disposition, which indeed were
clear red-herrings of democratically displaced politicians and their friends.
It was at this juncture that we felt sufficiently armed to state, and let it be
on record, that what now obtains, from the pre-Senate statements of the EFCC,
right through that stage display on the floor of the Upper Chamber of our
National Assembly, which are followed swiftly by the subsequently arranged media
blitz on the person of Governor Chimaroke Nnamani of Enugu State, had put a
nagging question to this business of a government institution in objective
assessment of another government.
Against this backdrop, we shall, for now, be constrained to follow-up on three
main points made public, through “arranged” media exposure, as representing “the
case against Governor Nnamani” and other officials of Government of Enugu State.
1. Claimed exercise in confirming over-pricing on construction contracts awarded
by Enugu State Government to contractors specified in the petition.
In reporting, publicly, in a case the EFCC still hopes to go to court on, it
claimed that in investigating 24 number (none was named) projects, it hired
“versatile professional engineers”. These “specialists”, who did a mere straight
sighting of the projects – leaving out 30 per cent –considered it sufficiently
professional to take a mere glance at standing structures, never bothering to
ascertain the possibilities of varied characteristics in bills, quantities and
prices in various parts of Nigeria, to make definitive statements. And, so, in
their highly estimated “specialist” assessment, established that in an over-all
contract value of thirty Billion (N30b) Naira, they could sniff out a net over
value of two billion, four hundred million (N2.4b) Naira for building projects
side-by-side their alleged four hundred million (N400m) Naira over valuation for
road construction contracts. These were said to be jobs and businesses of
government, from 1999 till date.
a. It is not clear to us and certainly our friends, what the EFCC appears set to
realise in its hasty conclusion that a deliberate over valuation of N2.8b
occurred in a plethora of contracts estimated to be about N30b Naira – that is
about 10.71 per cent - a claim made disregarding its own self confessed
inability to fully inspect the entire projects, the whole papers or talk to the
entire persons named.
b. Second, at no point did the EFCC state the kind of financial standards it
applied, bearing in mind that contract bills, awards and execution are naturally
related to specific characteristics, some of which may derive from spot of
projects, distance between material and point of use and quality/quantity of
personnel/expertise required. In addition to these, fluctuations arising from
unpredictable socio-political developments and natural events can actually
affect bills, quantity and timing, and usually come into the overall standards
of value attached.
c. But then, it is still a wonder that the same Commission set and directed by
the administration of Mr. President, Olusegun Obasanjo, did not find the
sighting and confirmatory statement of the Head of State as weighing far more
than those of be-dragged “specialists” and amateurish inquisitors who did not
have the liver to demand of EFCC not to release reports that had not been
d. Besides, Mr. President, who is very knowledgeable about the weight or
otherwise of the purse of each State, and a Fellow of Nigeria Society of
Engineers (FNSE) came, saw and declared that … Enugu is working. This was a
confirmatory statement made at the commissioning of the first road tunnel in
Nigeria, the Ebeano Tunnel Crossing, reality of which the EFCC
appeared to have been so sucked into the envy of political opponents to deride
as “so called”.
e. Indeed, President Obasanjo’s testimony had followed the ground-swelling visit
and confirmation by 14 European Union Ambassadors, who swore that their faith on
the roots of a new Nigeria was believed to be emerging from Enugu . Theirs, in
turn, was to be followed by the result of the benchmark evaluation carried out
by international bilateral organisations under the aegis of National Planning
Commission, which still survived various attempts at perversion, as it
established that Enugu State stood as the best governed State…in terms of
transparency in government finances, openness of administration, budgetary
implementation and stakeholder participation in policy formulation and
f. Surprising, if not absurd, in the eyes of analytical Nigerians who have had
to go through this highly promoted, but one-sided EFCC report on Enugu and
Governor Nnamani, is the deliberate failure to appreciate the weight of
expectation of due exercise of discretion, sobriety and circumspection,
especially when it was clear that the purpose it ever got into the business was
by the mere hollering and shrieking of democratically displaced politicians who
found allies in disgruntled vocal players in the system.
g. Indeed, it is a massive wonder that such an agency, which ought to exhibit
the highest level of the qualities of detectives took the easy road of populist
but amateurish inquisitors who would ignore composite elements of issues of deep
and penetrating investigation in favour of worthless individual stage accolades.
2. Claimed exercise in confirming the allegation of stupendous increase
in wealth of Governor Chimaroke Nnamani while in office.
The now heavily advertised report of the EFCC suggests that by whatever
standards it applied, the person of the Governor of Enugu State, Chimaroke
Nnamani, could be indicted by appealing to possible links between the governor
and his relations who have been in business and professional practice for
decades. The Commission went ahead to name Rainbownet Limited, Hillgate Nigeria
Limited and Capital City Automobile Company Limited, among others, which had
long established as parts of the economy of Nigeria and Enugu State.
a. We consider the investment profiles of the named organisations and the others
which are not named as worthwhile. We indeed pray that more of such heavy
players would come into Enugu , and without regard to staged harassment induced
by emergent power players.
b. We do not pretend that we can ignore the values of globalisation one of whose
anchor is the freely enterprising private sector, whose environment of operation
can only be assured in a stakeholder driven democracy.
c. In observing the principles of individual responsibility under the laws of
the land, the government of Enugu State does not go out of its way to establish
the differences in the relationship between the individuals who come to do
business in Enugu State , provided such persons or groups adhere to the
standards in place.
d. From that foregoing, the Enugu State Government is aware of Mrs. Chinero
Nwigwe, as a certified public accountant, trained and long established in the
United States , a place she has lived, worked for over two decades. It is also
known to the government that she rose very high in the public service,
successfully pursues other legitimate inclinations in the United States of
America , from where she comes and returns in her very free individual life.
Mrs. Nwigwe is one we are really proud of; as we firmly state that it was not
known to the Government that she was ever invited by the EFCC, for whatever
e. This is not also withstanding that it is not the business of the government
of Enugu State to seek to ascertain her involvement in any business of hers
which is legitimate. This is against the background that it is in the province
of her right, as others, to engage in any legitimate business, earn any
legitimate profit or asset as she sets out to and as her acumen can carry her,
just as others.
f. In like standards, the government and people of Enugu State have earned high
level investment and growth of the State economy, as bountifully as the
following facts will show.
g. Data gathered and interpreted by international agencies and made available to
Enugu State Government shows that following the growing enabling environment for
businesses, investments had grown tremendously, and at the last count in 2004,
micro-enterprises had risen from 191, 000 in 1999 to 603, 000; medium scale
initiatives had grown from 43, 000 in 1999 to 203, 000 while such businesses
commenced with over one million Naira had jumped from 301 in 1999 to 1, 001 in
2004. The number of such players capable of employing over 50 persons was
reported to have moved upwards, from 97 in 1999 to 487 in 2004; while the giants
employing over 299 staff had climbed from 11 to over 33 in the same period under
h. It remains gladdening to the government and people of Enugu State that these
clusters of business enterprises increase the individual’s participation in the
economy and enhance the general Enugu Social and economic environment. Indeed,
the construction giants which formed a part of the upper cluster have recorded
employment of over 42, 000 persons, pushing the State to the status of the
melting point in construction jobs, with technologists, scientists, artisans and
craftsmen coming in their droves from all parts of Nigeria and indeed West
Africa – Ghana, Benin Republic, Togo, Cote de’Voire, etc - to add to the teeming
i. Of these, the issue for the government of Enugu State was never the specific
persons of the investors, as long as they locate themselves within the laws of
the land, provide services and employment for the people of Enugu State .
j. It is, indeed, baffling to the government and people of Enugu State, that the
EFCC conducted investigations and reached such conclusions which suggest that
blood relations of the governor, who were never invited, never
interviewed and never had any reason to believe they were not qualified to do
business for the reason of being relations of a governor, were already
adjudged guilty of an offence whose hidden standards were known to only men of
the EFCC and their “versatile proessionals”.
k. It is also stunning that EFCC would make claims of foreign investment against
the Governor of Enugu State, boldly presenting such claims on the floor of the
Senate of the Federal Republic , without the corresponding, specific knowledge
and insight on the specific domains of such assets.
l. It is further surprising that EFCC which easily bandies words and figures
suddenly got dumb or is it lost with words in naming such foreign countries
harbouring the assets of Governor Chimaroke Nnamani.
m. It is therefore important to point out to Nigerians that the wild claim that
Governor Nnamani had netted for himself over N50 billion “suspected” to be taken
from the State coffers, between 1999 and 2003, failed to take into account the
actual, overall, earnings of Enugu State, which stands, from June, 1999 to the
end of 2005, at Seventy Billion, six hundred and ninety six million, six hundred
and ninety four thousand, three hundred and thirty four Naira, sixty four Kobo
(N70, 696, 694, 334. 64).
n. It is within this figure that the salaries of civil servants, averaging over
N500 million per month; subvention to public parastatals, over N300 million per
month; payment for general administration and of course, the gargantuan projects
with which the Chimaroke administration has now been known, are undertaken.
o. It is worthy here to state that Enugu State started the glorious democratic
season in 1999 with about one hundred million Naira monthly allocation, then
progressed to about N400 million, later N800 million, in subsequent months
before we arrived this stage when Enugu graduated into about one and half
billion Naira monthly take.
p. We have, about this day, done over seven years in the democratic governance
of Enugu State , and by experience, we cannot but laugh at the preposterous
pretension of sweeping assumptions, powered by personal indignation and total
disregard for simple standards of evaluation. We therefore feel compelled to
point out that if at any point, this EFCC claim is to be considered - that is
aside the injury of pre-judicial, pre-trial publicity that comes in its wake -
the point must be made that it eroded every possibility of any credibility by
the confessed style, mode and tactics of investigation.
3. Claimed investigation into allegations of State Government involved
in diversion of the funds or allocation to Local Government Areas.
We must admit here, along with others, that the fact of Nigerians not rising to
interpretation of their constitution caused State Governments to ignore the
forays of the EFCC in an area that ordinarily stands far beyond its competence.
But at the same time, the Government of Enugu State fully cooperated with the
Commission, showing the protruding evidences that every penny meant for the
local government had been handled and dispensed with according to the laws
guiding the State-Local Government administration.
While we elect leave the rest under this topic to history, we have to affirm, as
we did, elsewhere, that the issue of local government account has been very,
very, conclusively settled by the Supreme Court of Nigeria, and as we yearn for
such more pronouncements which firm up the foundation of our constitutional
democracy, we remind those who seek to promote the negation of the law of the
land that anarchy will never represent any better option to rule of law.
We recognise that Nigeria is having the first ever eight years of democratic
governance running in one stretch. We recognise the challenges posed by the
wrong expectation framework, especially coming from the background of general
assumption that every person in government is out there to better himself.
Indeed, we sympathise with persons who run such high government watch-dog
offices but rather than unravel the complexities in public administration, for
the benefit of the nation, opt for playing to the gallery.
Yet, it is expected that in thorough investigations, such as ones involving the
soul of a State of over four million people, they cannot be carried out in a
rattle-run, whistle-stop, sight-seeing as undertaken by EFCC’s sandwiched and
be-dragged “versatile professional engineers” who did not even have the time to
see the entire projects but who had no professional qualms making strong
statements of over-valuation on projects - about 30 per cent of which - they
admitted they never sighted let alone properly inspected.
Good conscience dictates that EFCC could not have been lukewarm in admitting
that its inconclusive investigation must not come of a hurried report even if by
its “specialist engineers”, to seek to diminish a State Government, which has
been adjudged the best governed State.
For the avoidance of doubt, we want to state, quite categorically, that the EFCC
report, as presented on the floor of the Senate of the Federal Republic ,
September 27, 2006 and promoted in the scarcely disguised media launch, could
not have been the report of the investigations which were conducted on Enugu
If, as we can now confirm, the whole matter is such for likely public shows;
where the supposedly investigated is tried on public podia, pre-judicially, and
without chances of proper defence, in a constitutional democracy; we are wiser
and will respond as we have been enlightened.
The fact, however, should not be lost on Nigerians that in hastily storming the
public arena to yell at Enugu State Government and others, EFCC is refusing to
accept that it has no case against those investigated, since this pre-judicial,
pre-trial publicity, has knocked off the Commission’s chances of pursuing strong
prosecution in the courts of the land.
In stating the above as we consider the report, establishing the trend of
deliberate but selective exposure, we have the honour in acknowledging that the
EFCC is actually deserving of kudos in such areas it owned up the fact on the
ground. One commendable instance is the admittance that in investigating Enugu
State government, it observed price variances of 2. 4 billion Naira in building
construction projects and N400 million in road projects. Strangely, though, the
Commission’s “versatile professional engineers” refused to add up to make the
fact that these could come directly from the equally admitted gap of 30 per cent
of the projects which, for time constraints, they could not investigate.
Related, we are surprised that the Commission deliberately missed regional,
space and time factors in cost variances, especially when such whistle-stop
visits would naturally miss the schedule of the basic rates of the construction
materials in 2002, compared to August 2006, when they visited Enugu .
It is against the background of lack of any kernel of indictment or evidence of
malfeasance that we view the overall report on Enugu , as a confirmatory
declaration which is yet to be picked in the in-between lines of what promoters
of celebrated exposure clip on their chest as the prize of the century.
Dr. Dan Shere
Secretary to State Government