The Senator representing Kaduna Central Senatorial District, Shehu Sani, yesterday, stormed the headquarters of Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board (JAMB) in Bwari, Abuja, with snake charmers.
Sani said the visit was with a view to getting to the bottom of the issue surrounding the reported case of missing N36 million from the JAMB office in Makurdi, Benue State.
One Philomena Chieshe, a sales clerk in the JAMB office, Makurdi, had told JAMB registrar, Prof. Ishaq Oloyede and his team that she could not account for N36 million she made in previous years before the abolition of scratch cards.
“In the course of interrogation, Philomena denied the allegations that she stole the money, but confessed that her housemaid connived with another JAMB staff to spiritually (through a snake) steal the money from the vault in the account office,” the report said.
According to Sani, his visit to JAMB is in response to the story that a snake swallowed N36 million.
He lamented that it was of concern that such a huge sum of money was reported to have been swallowed by a snake.
“I believe that the contribution I can make is to bring snake charmers from my constituency to the JAMB office and to help them fish out the snake and weed out snakes from their premises,” the lawmaker said.
Sani further said that if a snake could actually swallow N36 million, one day Nigerians may wake up to say that a snake had swallowed the country’s foreign reserve.
“Even if it is a spiritual matter, we believe that these people I brought are some of the best snake charmers in the country and they will help in arresting both physical and spiritual snakes if there has been any in the JAMB office.”
He explained that it was very clear the incident did not happen during the tenure of Oloyede.
Sani presented snake repellents and chemicals to the Board.
Responding, JAMB’s Head of Information, Dr. Fabian Benjamin, explained that in the spirit of transparency, inclusiveness and openness, the agency felt that Nigerians should know what was happening.
He said Chieshe had been queried and has also appeared before a disciplinary committee, adding that the official will be disciplined and handed over to the appropriate security agency for proper profiling.
Meanwhile, JAMB has vowed to arrest and prosecute the mysterious snake which swallowed N36 million in its Benue State office, as well as any staff involved in corrupt practices.
The Board is also investigating a Nasarawa State officer who failed to give account of monies realised from the sales of scratch cards, but rather claimed that the unsold cards he was bringing to Abuja got burnt when the car he was travelling in was involved in an accident.
Benjamin, in a statement yesterday in Abuja, lamented the high level of misappropriation going on in the states.
According to him, the board, in its efforts not to leave any stone unturned in its fight against corruption, would begin to carefully monitor and scrutinise how entrusted staff handle government funds and also ensure all leakages and loopholes were blocked.
“We are not going to take lightly our fight against corruption no matter who is involved. We are going to unravel, arrest and prosecute this alleged mysterious snake, just as we are going to bring to book any of our officers or stakeholders who is caught in any activities not in line with the Board’s policies.
“A number of persons have indeed been discovered to have misappropriated funds belonging to the Board and the one at hand currently is one of such numerous cases of misappropriation in the state offices.
“Another such case uncovered by the Oloyede-led management team is that of a state officer who also failed to give account of monies realised from the sales of similar scratch cards, but rather claimed that he was on his way to Abuja from his state office to return unsold scratch cards when he was involved in a car crash and the cards were burnt along with the car.,” he said.