The Joint Committee on industry, in the National Assembly has described the allegations of corruption levelled against the Director General of Industrial Training Fund (ITF) Dr. Joe Ari, as unfortunate and cautioned the media against falsehood.
It would be recalled that a civil societies group had accused Ari of purported fraud.
But reacting in an interview with newsmen, Senator Francis Adenigba Fadahunsi, said “The Committee does not respond to blackmail, because the National Assembly is a serious place”.
The lawmaker noted that accusation was aimed at pulling down an institution, like Industrial Training Fund’s Director General, Joe Ari who has distinguished himself since he took over the management of the training institution.
“How can an Institution, like ITF, that has come first, in probity and accountability in the ongoing budget performance and review out of the over 600 Ministry, Department and Agency, MDA, be accused of corruption?, it is clear the so called Civil Societies were sponsored by those who did not mean well for the institution.
“If the media outfit is a serious publication, it should have directed its inquiry to the Public Account Committee, in the Senate and the House, before going to press, but in their desperations, they got the wrong person, Joe Ari, who the Committee, or the Audit report from the Accountant General office, AGoF, Auditor General office, AGoF has not queried since he assumed office.
“This medium, has lost it, how can a self-funding institution be accuse of diverting funds, he asked?
Similarly, the Senate Committee on Industry, Chaired by Senator Tokunbo Abiru (Lagos East) condemned the protest by the Civil societies at the National Assembly, last week Thursday.
“We condemn in strong term any attempts by any group, under the guise of Civil Societies, being sponsored to rubbish the image of public office holders” Abiru said.
Indeed, the chairman of Senate Committee on Public Account Committee Senator Mathew Orhohighide was emphatic; he warned the public against using thugs in the guise of Civil societies to prosecute political battle”.
Specifically, Dr. Ari, the Senate Committee recalled was one out of the over 600 MDAs chief executive that has kept a clean financial records, since he was re-appointed”.
Historically, the Committee observed that the Senate Committee under Senator Sam Egwu, commended Joe Ari, in 2016, “so what the sponsors of this publications are saying is not only an attempt to mislead the public but to extort money from the institution, as they are doing to others” Orhohighide added.
In the same vein, a Non-governmental Orgnaization, Budget Tracking and monitoring, has also condemned the alleged sponsored publications and protest against the Director General of the industrial Training Funds, ITF, Joe Ari.
“As a registered non-governmental organization, Budget monitoring and accountability, which activities and mandate is to ensure the rights of Citizens, budget tracking and constituency projects across the 15 countries, in the west African Continent, our attentions has been drawn to the allegations of an alleged “illicit transactions” against the Director General of the Industrial Training Fund, ITF by a self-styled Concerned Citizens for Change, Accountability and Probity, and the Joint Civil Society Task Force on anti corruption.
“The protesters demanded the sack of the ITF’s director, saying this would make good the promises of the government to rid the country of corruption.
“As a Non-Governmental organization, Budget Tracking and Monitoring, for the purpose of clarity does not engage in defence of individual, groups or institutions, but rather monitoring and tracking of budgetary allocations and utilizations of same.”
The group in a statement by Mohammed Abdulrahaman and made available to Newsmen in Abuja, said “for the purpose of clarity, the Budget tracking and monitoring groups for the past one week has been part of the 2021, 2022, Budget Defence in the National Assembly, both at the Senate and the House of Representatives, including the review of the performance of the budgetary allocations to the Industrial Training Fund, ITF.
“The report by the online publication, Saharareporters, apart from the fact that was an indictment and a challenge to our organization and the over 200 Journalists who cover both the Senate and the House of Representatives, the report was full of fallacy of inconsistency, false equivalence and logic flaw reasoning”.