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Embattled FRCN DG, Ladan Salihu, demands N50 billion damages from PREMIUM TIMES

The Director-General of the Federal Radio Corporation of Nigeria (FRCN), Ladan Salihu, is seeking the payment of N50 billion damages from PREMIUM TIMES within one week, following a report on his past service record, which brims with cases of indictment for graft, abuse of office and gross misconduct.

Mr. Salihu wrote Wednesday, through his lawyer, Rickey Tarfa, SAN, seeking payment of the princely sum and a retraction, which he said must be published in PREMIUM TIMES and five other national dailies – all within seven days.

Additionally, the lawyer wrote, a letter of apology must be sent to Mr. Salihu without delay.

In making those demands, Mr. Tarfa claimed the report brought his client “into a serous [sic] state of disrepute, and tarnished his had [sic] earned reputation which he has built over the years”.

He said should this paper fail to comply with his demands, Mr. Salihu would deploy every means available to seek redress “where we shall claim among other reliefs, both general and aggravated damages”.

But when contacted, PREMIUM TIMES Managing Editor, Musikilu Mojeed, said, “This is an ongoing investigation and it is too early to comment on Mr. Salihu’s ludicrous, face-saving claims.

“We are not surprised by his denials. We have passed his letter to our lawyers, and I’m sure they will react at the appropriate time.”

This newspaper had on August 22 published the first part of its ongoing investigation into Mr. Salihu’s service record, which, if considered by the Goodluck Jonathan administration, would have made him ineligible for the position he currently occupies.

According to that report, a petition by a retiree of the FRCN, A. J. Usman, had in 2008 led to the setting up of an administrative panel by the then DG of Radio Nigeria, Ben Egbuna, to probe allegations of “massive fraud and lack of due process in the activities at the Kaduna zonal station” which Mr. Salihu headed at the time.

The report also referenced a query letter DG.452/VOL.XTV/66, dated July 14, 2008, in which Mr. Salihu was queried for allegedly stealing parts of the funds released to him by the station for the coverage of the 2007 Hajj.

Besides, the report indicated, Mr. Salihu failed to account for $13,800 he received as team leader for the Hajj coverage.

The investigation further showed that in 2009, as zonal director of Radio Nigeria, Kaduna, Mr. Salihu became enmeshed in a receipt forgery scandal and was recommended for sack after being placed on half pay by Mr. Egbuna’s successor, Nuhu Yusuf, who ironically, Mr. Salihu succeeded as Director-General of FRCN.

A panel of inquiry set up by Mr. Nuhu reported that the FRCN receipts numbers 15051 in the sum of N5,620,000; 2433 in the sum of N500,000; and 25581 for N3,500,000 issued to the Katsina State Government for airing of different programmes were forged.

The N5,620,000 was paid with regard to “Gaba dai gaba dai jihar Katsina”, a sponsored programme by Katsina State Government which aired on Sundays and Thursdays at the time.

The panel reported that Mr. Salihu not only awarded contracts above his expenditure limit, but also expressed worry that the contracts “were awarded only to Scale and Symbol Associates Limited without following the extant guidelines for award of contracts in the public service”.

According to our report, he was also indicted for selling, without authorisation, a Medium Wave Antenna belonging to the Corporation for N700, 000 in “violation of the Corporation’s financial instructions which, among other things, require the approval of the Board of the Corporation, and in the absence of the Board, the approval of the Honourable Minister (of Information)”.

The report also found that he was a serving director of Lead Point Nigeria Limited, contrary to the code of conduct for public servants in Nigeria.

Read Part 1 of our report on Mr. Salihu here:
INVESTIGATION: How Jonathan appointed suspected serial thief, Ladan Salihu, to head Radio Nigeria

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