BudgIT official ‘goes into hiding’ over threats to life

BudgIT official 'goes into hiding' over threats to life

BudgIT, a civic group focused on ensuring financial transparency by government and public office holders, has raised an alarm over an alleged threat to the life of one of its field officers, Garba Abdullahi, for exposing fraudulent activities of government officials.

According to a statement released by BudgIT, the threats came after a “Fraud Alert” post shared by Mr Abdullahi, the group’s official in Abuja, on the Facebook page of the Senate Minority Whip, Philip Aduda. According to the post, Mr Aduda (FCT, PDP) allegedly mismanaged funds belonging to the Ministry of Water Resources and conversion of a public facility to personal use.

After sharing the post, Mr Abdullahi said he received threats from loyalists of the senator, including one Sunday Dogo Zaka who said Abuja South of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP), youths’ forum will “take care of him.”

Iyanu Fatoba, the Communications Associate at BudgiT told PREMIUM TIMES that the “community champion” – as their field officers are described – has gone into hiding for over 48 days after he received several threats from the allies of the senator.

According to Ms Fatoba, Mr Abdullahi will remain in hiding until relevant authorities give an assurance of his safety.

Phone calls and text messages to Mr Aduda were not responded to.

Find the full statement of BudgIT below;

“Our attention has been drawn to a threat received by our community champion in Abuja as a result of a fraud alert post shared from our Tracka page to his facebook page, sometime last week. The post, which was initially published on our Tracka page on the 30th of May, called out Senator Aduda and The Ministry of Water Resources for allegedly mismanaging financial resources to the tune of N225m and converting a public project into a personal project, by naming the constituency project after Jummai Aduda, Senator Aduda’s mother.

“The post which reads “Fraud Alert, Sen. Aduda aided by Min of Water Resources has converted a public project of N225M “mine. ” The Constituency Project gulped N100m (2016) N75m (2017) & N50m (2019) is now JUMMA/ ADUDA YOUTH CENTRE with engraved mother’s picture. ” garnered several reactions from active citizens who joined BungiT and Tracka in condemning the unacceptable and unconstitutional act.”

“Following this post, Sunday Dogo Zaka, a loyalist to Senator Phillip Aduda issued a threat through his Facebook page that the Abuja South PDP youth forum would “take care” of him, after which we received a distress call from our Community champion, Garba Abdullahi. He claimed that he has been receiving calls from strange and unfamiliar people who also threatened his life. Another anonymous caller advised him to visit the Senator’s former aide because they plan to “do him something bad”. As we speak, our community champion, Garba Abdullahi, has gone into hiding as a result of these threats.

“As an organization, BudgiT, together with Tracka reaffirms our position that the naming of constituency projects is not left to the prerogative of the parties involved as there are laid down procedures to be followed when re-naming a project. This might have community inputs, but the Honourable Senator is aware that there are laid down principles in re-naming a public project, as against what was stated in the Appropriation Act”

“We also maintain that we will not share false information with members of the public to incite misunderstanding between them and their representatives at any point.

“By issuing this press release, we are calling on The Inspector General of Police to investigate this issue and prevent any mishap from happening to any of our staff, community champion, Garba Abdullahi or affiliated persons,” it read.