DSS Takes Former NIRSAL Chief Aliyu Abdulhameed into Custody for Alleged N5.6bn Wheat Project Scam

DSS Takes Former NIRSAL Chief Aliyu Abdulhameed into Custody for Alleged N5.6bn Wheat Project Scam

The former Managing Director of the Nigeria Incentive-Based Risk Sharing System for Agricultural Lending (NIRSAL), Aliyu Abdulhameed, who was dismissed about a year ago, has been arrested, as reported by Daily Trust.

NIRSAL, a $500 million non-bank financial institution, established by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), is tasked with managing agribusiness-related credit risks in Nigeria.

Abdulhameed was removed from his position following corruption allegations, including the misappropriation of a 2018 N5.6 billion wheat project intended for farmers in Kano and Jigawa States.

His dismissal was sanctioned by the CBN Board with approval from the Presidency in December of the previous year. An investigation was launched in January of that year into the diversion of a multi-billion-naira loan guaranteed by NIRSAL for three investor companies for the cultivation of 20,000 hectares of dry-season wheat in Kano and Jigawa States.

During the investigation, affected communities in the two states revealed that they were deceived. Community leaders stated that they were informed the project aimed to improve the lives of 20,000 smallholder farmers. However, after providing farms, the affected farmers were promised fertilizer and other inputs for the wheat plantation, which were never delivered.

Abdulhameed and the three investor companies denied any wrongdoing.

A Special Investigator appointed by President Bola Tinubu, Jim Obazee, and his team, which included DCP Eloho, initiated an inquiry in September of the current year, focusing on NIRSAL and the CBN’s Anchor Borrowers’ Programme.

Sources disclosed that the arrest of the ex-NIRSAL boss came after five months of a manhunt by a joint team of the Department State Services, the Nigeria Police Force, and the Special Investigator.

Abdulhameed was reportedly apprehended last week on the premises of a federal government revenue-generating agency in Abuja while lobbying for reappointment.

The former NIRSAL MD, currently in the custody of the DSS, is being questioned on multiple corruption allegations during his tenure. A CBN investigation had earlier raised concerns about breaches of internal policies, procedures, and relevant regulations, including questionable spendings and procurement violations.

The media found that 32 official vehicles were diverted for personal use during Abdulhameed’s tenure, with only two retrieved so far. Additionally, nine exotic vehicles, including two bullet-proof jeeps, and household items from four official guest houses owned by NIRSAL were reportedly taken by Abdulhameed.

Efforts to reach Abdulhameed for comment were unsuccessful, and the DSS spokesperson responded with a “No comment.” Muyiwa Adejobi, the Public Relations Officer of the Nigeria Police Force, did not respond to calls or messages on the matter. However, a top security source confirmed the former NIRSAL boss’s arrest and current detention.


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