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Breaking: Tinubu suspends Rural Electrification Agency MD, Salihijo, over alleged N1.2b fraud

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President Bola Tinubu, on Thursday, suspended the Managing Director of the Rural Electrification Agency (REA), Ahmad Salihijo, and three Executive Directors of the agency from office with immediate effect.

Those suspended with Ahmad include: Olaniyi Alaba Netufo — Executive Director, Corporate Services; Barka Sajou — Executive Director, Technical Services and Sa’adatu Balgore — Executive Director, Rural Electrification Fund (REF).

He also appointed a new team of five persons in the management of the REA, with Abba Abubakar Aliyu as Managing Director and CEO in acting capacity.

Others in the new team include Ayoade Gboyega as Executive Director, Corporate Services; Umar Abdullahi Umar as Executive Director, Technical Services; Doris Uboh as Executive Director Rural Electrification Fund (REF) and Olufemi Akinyelure as Head of Project Management Unit.

In a statement on Thursday by his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Ajuri Ngelale, Tinubu said his action followed findings of an investigation into an alleged ₦1.2 billion fraud in the financial dealings of the agency.

According to the statement, while the anti-corruption agency, which is at the head of the ongoing investigation, had already recovered some of the alleged fraudulently appropriated funds, the President has ordered a wider probe into the matter.

The statement reads: “In the light of new findings unearthed during a comprehensive investigation into the financial activities of the Rural Electrification Agency (REA), President Bola Tinubu has approved the indefinite suspension of the Managing Director/CEO of the Rural Electrification Agency (REA), Ahmad Salihijo Ahmad, alongside three Executive Directors of the Agency, from office:

“Olaniyi Alaba Netufo — Executive Director, Corporate Services; Barka Sajou — Executive Director, Technical Services; and Sa’adatu Balgore — Executive Director, Rural Electrification Fund (REF)

“Furthermore, President Tinubu has ordered a wider investigation into the conduct of the aforementioned officials in a fraudulent misexpenditure amounting to over N1.2 billion over the past two years, some of which has already been recovered by anti-graft agencies.

“By the directive of the President, the following qualified Nigerians are appointed to serve in the new management team of the Rural Electrification Agency (REA) in acting capacity with immediate effect:

“Abba Abubakar Aliyu — Managing Director/CEO; Ayoade Gboyega — Executive Director, Corporate Services; Umar Abdullahi Umar — Executive Director, Technical Services; Doris Uboh — Executive Director, Rural Electrification Fund (REF); Olufemi Akinyelure — Head of Project Management Unit, Nigeria Electrification Project.

“President Bola Tinubu expects all appointees in his administration to uphold the highest standards of transparency and accountability in the discharge of their duties and reiterates his determination to elevate the yearnings of Nigerians for good governance and qualitative service delivery above the narrow interests of individuals who are entrusted to provide critical services to the Nigerian people.”

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