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N170m Fraud Allegation: I’m open to investigation, Ekiti ex-commissioner declares

By Ayodele Afolabi, Ado-Ekiti
19 November 2022   |   3:41 am
The immediate past Commissioner for Arts, Culture and Tourism in Ekiti State, Prof. Ojo Bakare, has denied the allegation against him that he embezzled over N170 million while in charge of the ministry.

The immediate past Commissioner for Arts, Culture and Tourism in Ekiti State, Prof. Ojo Bakare, has denied the allegation against him that he embezzled over N170 million while in charge of the ministry.

Bakare, who stated that he served the state with utmost zeal as a commissioner, also said none of his family members was receiving salary contrary to the news being peddled against him.

Bakare was responding to allegations trending on social media that he embezzled over N100 million during the 2021 edition of the National Festival of Arts and Culture hosted by Ekiti.

The allegations also included that the Professor of Dance defrauded the ministry over N26 million in the 2022 NAFEST hosted by Lagos State and also plunged the ministry into N40 million debt being money purportedly expended on publicity during the arts fiesta hosted by Ekiti.

The former Dean, Post Graduate School, Federal University, Oye Ekiti, who debunked the allegation in Ado Ekiti, yesterday, while speaking with journalists, said the government of former governor Kayode Fayemi only released a sum of N94 million for the 2021 NAFEST.

Bakare dispelled the accusation that he and the state’s contingents, who attended the Lagos NAFEST programme 2022, spent over N26 million on hotel accommodation, saying only N15 million was released by the government for the 87-member contingents that represented Ekiti.

He refuted the allegation that the responsibilities being given to him by Governor Biodun Oyebanji after leaving office connoted that he was planning to scheme a comeback as a commissioner.

Bakare, who threatened to petition the Commissioner of Police, Mr. Morounkeji Adesina, to investigate the purveyors of the “fake news”, charged the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) to investigate the ministry’s financial books under his reign.

He said: “Recently, I went to Lagos State on the instruction of Governor Oyebanji to represent Ekiti. He also asked me to represent him at an event organised by Performing Musicians Association of Nigeria in Ekiti. 

“Those who are eyeing the commissionership seat started fighting me. They became threatened thinking that I wanted to come back. So, what they wrote was 100 per cent lies.

“I am not running the ministry as a commissioner. The governor sent me on errands as a professional, which I couldn’t turn down. 

“They said I embezzled over N100 million as a commissioner during Ekiti NAFEST, even when the entire budget for that event was N94 million; the same event Lagos State hosted with over N2 billion. My personal fund went into Ekiti NAFEST. 

“They said I am still collecting money for some media houses that the ministry owed N40 million during NAFEST. In case they didn’t know, the National Council for Arts and Culture was responsible for the funding for publicity; my office only supported with a token.

“In the Lagos NAFEST that we attended, we didn’t owe any hotel in Lagos. The entire contingents in Ekiti were camped at a faith-based centre in Gbagada. Eighty-seven people represented Ekiti and the money budgeted for them was just N15 million; no case of N26 million hotel accommodation debt.”