The Muslim Community in Ebonyi State has petitioned Governor David Umahi and security agencies over an alleged diversion of COVID-19 palliatives meant for the Community by Alhaji Abbass Egwu.
Egwu is the Chairman, Ebonyi State Muslim Pilgrims Welfare Board.
The group also called for immediate investigation into the matter with the view of prosecuting the culprit.
Recall that the Ebonyi State Coronavirus Subcommittee on palliatives had last week flagged off the distribution of palliatives to residents of the State, including the Muslim community.
Meanwhile, on May 18, some members of the Community petitioned the State Government alleging that Egwu pocketed N1.3 million out of the N2 million accompanying 500 bags of 5kg rice for the Muslims in the State, while sharing only N700,000
The petition, titled: “Criminal Diversion of COVID-19 Palliatives Given to the Muslim Community/Hausa Community of Ebonyi State by one Engr. Abbass Egwu,” was signed by the following: Alahaji Danjuma Gambo, Sarkin, Hausa Community Ebonyi State; Alhaji Salisu Yunusa, Leader, Hausa Community Ezzamgbo; and Alhaji Ibrahim Ogbonnia Amah of National Hajj Commission of Nigeria.
The group cautioned Egwu to desist from parading himself as the leader of Muslim Community in the State, being only a political appointee of government.
The petition reads in part: “We wish to State for the record that the said Engr. Abbass Egwu is not the leader of the Ebonyi State Muslim/ Hausa Community.
“He is a government appointee whose tenure in office shall expire in a couple of years, though he has been arrogating to himself the status of the leader of the Ebonyi State Muslim/ Hausa Community to which he is not and can never be.
“On this Covid-19 Palliatives, we are aware that the Governor approved the sum of #2,000,000 ( Two million naira) only and 500 bags of 5kg rice for us.
“We State that the said impostor called Engr. Abbass Egwu collected the money and the bags of rice without our consent and knowledge.
“He, in the comfort of his home , shared the money and rice as it suits his greed.
“In all, he shared the sum of N700,000 (Seven hundred thousand naira) only and some bags of rice.
“He greedily pocketed the sum of N1,300,000 ( One million, three hundred thousand naira) only for himself to satisfy his unquenchable greed.
“We decry this act of sabotage on the good works of your government as well as robbing us of our legitimate entitlement from your government.”
However, the accused, in a phone conversation, denied the allegation.
He explained that the money was judiciously shared to the eight central mosques scattered across the state.
He also denied sharing the palliatives in his house, but rather at the Cabinet Office, Old Government House, Abakaliki.
He added that apart from the central mosques, some stakeholders among the Muslim Community, including Fulani leadership, also benefited from the palliatives.
Egwu further explained that he had submitted the distribution report to the chairman of the committee and Speaker of the State Assembly, Francis Nwifuru, to show how he transparently distributed the palliatives assigned to him.
Meanwhile, further investigation also revealed that the Vice President-General of the Nigeria Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs/JNI, Dr. Haroun Ogbonnia Ajah, also the BoT Chairman, Da’wah and Guidance Bureau of Nigeria, has equally petitioned the Governor over the distribution of the same palliatives.
Ajah complained that he did not know about or benefited from the palliatives in spite of the fact the he is a major stakeholder in Islamic affairs in the State.
Ajah added: “My attention has been drawn to the ongoing rifts, controversies, petitions and possible crisis raging over the diversion, mismanagement and embezzlement of the money and rice from the government to Ebonyi State Muslims by Alhaji Abbas Egwu.
“To this effect, l want to categorically and unequivocally state that I was not even informed as a major stakeholder by Alhaji Abbas nor got any potion from these items he looted.
“And I will submit to your Excellency report of the observations of the NIGERIAN SUPREME COUNCIL FOR ISLAMIC AFFAIRS (NSCIA ) over the happenings and the maltreatments against us in this administration.”