Group Defends ITF DG on Fraud Allegation


A pressure group under the aegis of Civic Duties Awareness Initiative (CIDAI) has described recent allegation of fraud in an online media against the Director-General of Industrial Training Fund (ITF), Mrs. Juliet Chukkas-Onaeko as “a deliberate attempt by mischief makers to rubbish the achievements recorded by her since assuming office in 2014.”

The group therefore warned President Muhammadu Buhari to be wary of those who want to capitalise on the anti-graft campaign to spread falsehood and blackmail perceived enemies in order to derail the process.

The Director of CIDAI, Mr. Benjamin Oyekunle, at a press briefing in Abuja yesterday pointed out that ‘‘the fund was alleged to be enmeshed in corruption prior to her becoming the Director General”, of the agency.

Oyekunle also cautioned the media not to be used by people who want to pollute the process through outright witch-hunting and blackmailing of some individuals and agencies of the government, citing the case against Chukkas-Onaeko who was accused of embezzling her agency funds as an example.

“The fund was alleged to be emeshed in corruption prior to her becoming the Director General. There are those who had been feeding fat on the fund who she blocked. Her transparent management of the fund was said to have boosted the confidence  and garnered support from the stakeholders. Mrs Onaeko is a young mother of two and a dutiful wife”, he said.

The CIDAI Director noted that Chukkas-Onaeko’s competences and ability were recently recognised by  President Buhari when he included her in his lean entourage to the United States of America (USA).

He said: “Some have reasoned that her enviable feat in the course of her duties might have endeared her to the President who might have penned her name down for a higher appointment. They opined that the above reasons could be why some who want her position as DG of ITF or scheming to get a ministerial slot are fighting her for.

“It has been noted that when you fight corruption, corruption fights back. Vigilance is therefore of utmost importance against all reactionary tendencies. The people who have emptied our collective purse are still bent on diverting the national resources to their private pockets have a large war chest. They are ready to spend huge sums to truncate the anti-graft war.”

They are the ones alleging partiality and selectivity. They can use anybody as their mouthpiece even without the person being aware they are being used for a wrong cause”.

“There are those who would also want to make a nonsense of this justifiable cause by attempting to make a caricature of it. Shouting wolf where none exists. Others perhaps would want to cash in on the government’s stance against corruption. They want to manipulate the process to their favour through mob action and smear campaigns aimed at pulling down public servants who are above board and have been impediments to dipping their hands into the public treasury,” he added.

Speaking further, the Director of CIDAI backed Buhari’s anti-corruption crusade but warned that some individuals and groups are trying to make mockery of the whole process.

Oyekunle disagreed with the views expressed by the Presidential Peace Committee that too much focus on anti-corruption war through the media is affecting governance in the country.

He stated that for the country to develop, corruption must be eradicated in all its ramifications and called on all Nigerians to support of the efforts of President Buhari’s administration in that regard.

According to him, governance can be done concurrently with the anti-graft war.

He said: ” It is our view that corruption in all its forms and manifestations is the major problem in of our country. It is in this light that we cannot support the recent call by some elderly, respectable and eminent citizens on the president not to waste his time on fighting corruption alone. It is our informed view that given the resources available at the moment no developmental project or administrative area has suffered neglect under this government. We believe and rightly so that there is no time spent on fighting graft that is not worth it.

“Therefore, we call on all Nigerians to support the government in this worthwhile war. The president is on the right path. Anti-graft war is needed. It is needed now. For Nigeria to develop, corruption must be eradicated. All hands must be on deck in this just cause. The general populace judiciary and critically the media must support this cause wholeheartedly if we desire a Nigeria we can all be proud of”.

“Last year, we spent some N2 million, this year, our budget for that place, if we are able to raise money from fund raising and charity, we intend to spend another N5 million because of the health clinic that we want to build there. That is a kind of budget for that which is totally different from what we even want to spend in our own community which is  different, they are not disabled they can able to help themselves and our project there, maybe another N3 million,” he said.

In her opening speech, Investiture Chairman, Keziah Okonofua said, Our theme for this year’s investiture is ‘The 4 Way Test as an imperative for National Development’.

“As Rotarians, Nigerians and people of all creed, we should put the Four Way Test into practice in every decision we make, all day long. let us go out and spread these words so that we can all ‘be a gift to the world’ which is our Rotary International slogan for year 2015/2016.

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