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Beam search light on National Lottery Fund, Coalition beckons FG

As part of efforts to purge the country of corrupt appointees who are sabotaging the Renewed Hope Agenda, a coalition of civil society organisations has urged President Bola Ahmed Tinubu to sanitise National Lottery Trust Fund.

In a strongly worded press release signed by Comrade Igwe Ude-umanta, Secretary, Empowerment for Unemployed Youth Initiative (EUYI) and Dr. Ahmed Bankole, Executive Director, Action Against Corruption Initiative (AACI) for the Coalition and made available to journalists in Abuja, insisted that the agency’s leadership is an inherited liability under the Buhari administration has no place in the current administration of President Bola Ahmed Tinubu.

According to the release, “President Bola Ahmed Tinubu has demonstrated the political will and determination to stamp out corruption in the country. This is evident in the swift actions he has taken so far to bring perpetrators to justice. Keeping inherited liabilities from previous administrations where corruption was not just condoned but celebrated is counterproductive and inimical to the progress and development of the country.

“As important as the National Lottery Trust Fund (NLTF) is, many Nigerians do not know about the National Lottery Trust Fund (NLTF), the resources at its disposal, the enormity of the responsibilities before it and its programmes and projects.

“It is also shameful on the part of the Executive Secretary of NLTF to admit that NLTF staff are incompetent and lack skills having stayed in office since 2019 and conducted several recruitments. That shows how nepotistic has been in his recruitment without recourse to merit. He should therefore be sacked forthwith as giving excuses and playing blame games with taxpayers money cannot be entertained”, the statement added.

Despite admitting his several gaffes and promising to change, the Coalition insisted that Dr. Bello Maigari has been fantastically corrupt, squandering NLTF funds as if it is his personal estate and investment in flagrant violation of the NLTF Act.

“It will also be recalled that the House of Representatives revealed that NLTF generated and without appropriation, spent nearly N10 billion under a dubious Section 40 of the NLTF Act. In the words of the Chairman of the Committee, Rt. Hon. James Faleke, it appears the Fund was ‘established for Maigari, his family’ and cronies”, the statement added.

The Coalition decried the disheartening and barefaced nepotism and regional bigotry in almost all programmes and projects of the Fund which are concentrated in the Northern region at the detriment of other regions and threatened to occupy the NLTF headquarters if Dr. Bello Maigari is not sacked immediately.

“While Dr. Maigari deceives the public that its programmes and projects are evenly distributed and based on survey, assessment of claims and transparent evaluation of situations, there’s nothing like that in reality as the Southern region of Nigeria has been perpetually excluded in a brazen promotion of national disunity. This is even as all statistics prove that more than 80% of the revenue of the NLTF which are from gaming and lottery activities come from the South. How else can it be explained, except regional bigotry and bias?”.

“We will therefore, be dispatching our protest letter to Mr. President immediately after our Civil Society Roundtable. Thereafter, we will proceed to occupy the NLTF headquarters till Mr. President acts accordingly.
It is important that this Renewed Hope adminstration gets rid of corruption, incompetency and insensitive officers. On our part, we will continue to support President Bola Ahmed Tinubu to get things right”, the statement concluded.

The NLTF had consistently expressed its readiness to serve Nigerians’ interest in the discharge of its mandate.