Empowerment Goods Sold off by Beneficiaries in Niger State, Investigation Reveals

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Laleye Dipo in Minna

Many politicians especially those elected into the state and National houses of assembly have cultivated the habit of floating foundations through which they reach out to their supporters and other loyalists.

The idea behind these foundations is to enable the politicians have something to claim as their development projects or performance during the campaigns since they are not the executive that can lay claim to projects executed.

One of such foundations in Niger state is the Bago foundation floated by a member of the House of Representatives Umar Mohammed Bago representing Chanchage Federal constituency.

The foundation, according to investigation, has been doling out empowerment goods to beneficiaries since it was inaugurated some six years ago.

Under this scheme the Bago foundation had given out refrigerators cooking and washing machines, motorcycles and Keke Napep for commercial operation as well as sewing machines.
Investigation by THISDAY has however shown that most of these items were often sold off immediately they were distributed to the beneficiaries.

The investigation revealed that the refrigerators bought at N100,000 per unit and given free of charge to some supporters of the politicians to enable them improve on their pure water and soft drink selling businesses were sold out for less than N20,000 each.

A month ago the Bago foundation also commenced the distribution of Keke NAPEP to the male supporters of the lawmaker in his Chanchage local government area constituency..
Not less than 50 units of the Keke branded with the portrait of the legislator were shared out. Each of the Keke NAPEP was said to have been bought at over N400,000. The investigation showed that most of the vehicles have been sold out and taken out of the state.

The report showed that a Keke NAPEP repairer in the centre of Minna bought 32 of the vehicles for between N100,000 and N90,000 each.

THISDAY learnt that 12 of the vehicles were taken to Damaturu in Yobe state while 15 pieces were taken to Kano state. It was learnt that the two states were chosen for these goods because they are the vogue in these cities.
Bala Karaye a member of the Bago foundation committee who THISDAY spoke to on phone said the committee ‘is aware of this sad development, but there is nothing we can do about it’.

Bala Karaye added that the poor economic situation in the country could have been responsible as what was realised would have been immediately spent to ‘make ends meet’. “The Chairman of the foundation Alhaji Umar Bago is out of the country, we have already informed him about this development”, Karaye said.