Nigeria gives you new reasons daily to doubt this country is real. In recent years, stories of animals accused of swallowing funds have emanated from the country, gone viral on social media, and swept under the carpet. Bizarre news like these trend for a few weeks, mostly without ensuing investigation or repercussions, thus, forcing us to move on. While some of these stories are unverified or a hoax, here are 4 instances when animals have been accused of ‘swallowing’ public funds.
On August 15th, it was reported that the Nigeria Social Insurance Trust Fund (NSITF) refused to give an account of the disbursement of N17.16 billion in 2013 with the necessary documents. The agency’s management said during a meeting with the senate committee on Friday that several payment slips were devoured by termites.
The 2018 audit statement of the office of the auditor-general of the federation showed N17.158 billion as the sum transferred by NSITF from its Skye (now Polaris Bank) and First Bank accounts into different undetectable accounts owned by people and businesses between January and December 2013.
Both the current and previous NSITF management were unable to explain the unauthorized numerous transactions.
“The container the said documents were kept in by past management has not only been beaten by rains over the years but even possibly been eaten up by termites” Managing director of NSITF, Michael Akabogu said. “As directed by this committee, I told the past management officers about the need for them to help us out in answering this query with necessary documents which have not been made available for us.”
The managing director of NSITF between 2010 and 2016, Umar Munir Abubakar claimed he had no knowledge of the interrogation, and no justification for it since the audit was not done during his term of office.
Annoyed by the statements of the past and present NSITF administration, the chairman of the committee, Mathew Urhoghide instructed the officials to appear again before the panel with all the required relevant documents on Thursday, September 22, 2022.
On June 14, it was reported that a finance officer at Kano Zoological Gardens told Freedom Radio, a local radio station in the state that a gorilla creeped into their office, stole, and consumed N6.8 million.
The Chief Revenue Officer for the zoo told BBC Pidgin that the stolen funds, which is roughly six million, eight hundred and twenty thousand naira, were funds generated as entry fees from tourists who had spent time at the zoo during the Eid celebration.
Kano police spokesman, Abdullahi Haruna told BBC that 10 people, including the gatemen and the people in the finance department, were arrested.
As of February 21, Senator Shehu Sani informed journalists that N70m belonging to the Northern Senators Forum was allegedly eaten by monkeys on Senator Abdullahi Adamu’s farm. This came after Senator Adamu was dismissed as the chairman of the Northern Senators forum.
According to Sen. Shehu Sani, the congress under Adamu’s administration could not explain how some of the money received from the 7th assembly went missing. Senator Adamu was held accountable for mishandling N70m given to him during the establishment of the 8th assembly.
“When we resumed as senators, Sen. Ahmed Lawan tendered the sum of N70 million to the 8th Senate”. Senator Sani explained. “That N70 million was monies gathered by northern senators from the 7th senate. So it was handed over to the 8th senators from northern Nigeria under the 8th Senate.”
This is the year all the money-swallowing incidents began. On February 10, a snake was accused of slipping into the office of the Nigerian examination panel, Joint Admissions and Matriculations Board (JAMB), and swallowing N36 million. Auditors were sent to various JAMB branches across the state to enumerate and retrieve proceeds from sale of scratch cards after JAMB registrar, Prof. Ishaq Oloyede banned the use of scratch cards. In the course of their visit to the JAMB office in Makurdi, Benue State capital, a sales clerk, Philomina Chieshe, informed JAMB officials that a snake had crammed down N36m.
Philomena Chieshe, was an employee in charge of examination fees at the Joint Admissions and Matriculations Board. She was suspended following the disclosure of the information. During an interrogation, Philomena Chieshe accused her maid of collaborating with another JAMB official, Joan Asen to “spiritually” steal the cash from the safe in the accounts unit through a snake.
“It was a mystery to me too. I have been saving money in the bank, but I found it difficult to account for it. So I started saving it in a vault in the office. But each time I open the vault, I will find nothing. I became worried and surprised at how millions of Naira could be disappearing from the vault. I began to interrogate everybody in the house and office, and no one could agree on what might have happened to the money. I continued to press until my housemaid confessed. She said that the money disappeared “spiritually”. She said that a “mysterious snake” sneaked into the house and swallowed the money in the vault.”. She said.
Philemona Chieshe eventually revealed that her coordinator, Samuel Umoru, took the money.