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EXCLUSIVE: How Okowa’s Aide, Jerry Ehiwarior allegedly embezzled N58million student funds

 

…NADESSTU, others call for his sack

By Ovasa Ogaga,

 

Senior Special Assistant (SSA) to Governor Okowa on Students’ Union Affairs, Comrade Jerry Ehiwarior has allegedly embezzled about N58 million released to the Delta State Students Union Community through his office.

The funds, Advocate.ng gathered was approved for a Townhall interactive meeting with the Delta State Comrade Community to educate the student’s body on government policies and programmes and also take the Student’s feedback to the government.

SSA to Delta State Governor on Student Affairs, Comrade Jerry Ehiwarior

However, this was not to be, as the sum of N20m approved by Governor Okowa on August 25 2018, as against the initial N10M recommend by the then SSG was not used for the Townhall meeting, rather Comrade Jerry Ehiwarior allegedly gave part of it as handouts to some Students Union leaders, while he pocketed the rest; documents available to Advocate.ng have shown.

Advocate.ng investigation revealed that the event that was billed to hold in October as the first edition to bring together students leaders from Urhobo, Isoko, Ijaw, Ika, Itsekiri, Ndokwa and Aniocha/Oshimili ethnic nationalities, the leadership of NASS, NADESSTU, Student Union Government of the 14 campuses, Council of Past SUG President from Delta State and JCCF,  did not hold.

The State Government without asking for a report on the first edition, also in September 2020 approved and released another N20m to Comrade Jerry Ehiwarior for the second edition of the Delta Comrade Community Townhall meeting, however, like the first edition, the SSA, gathered a few friends at a mini-hall at Asaba where he had a chat with them and informed them that government didn’t approve fund for the event, hence it was held on a low key.

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We further gathered that the SSA physically spent about N210,000 which he claimed was his personnel money as no fund was yet to be released to the group.

Comrade Jerry Ehiwarior also allegedly collected the sum of N12million for 3 editions’ Joint Christian Campus Fellowship (JCCF) prayer conference which never held.

He also allegedly collected the sum of N6million supposedly for the end of year summit/4th edition of Delta State comrade community football tournament, for 2019 and 2020 (N3million each year) which never held.

Angered by Comrade Jerry Ehiwarior actions, the students took to social media calling on the state governor, Senator Ifeanyi Okowa to sack his SSA on student affairs over allegations of embezzlement of funds meant for various programmes for the student community.

Specifically, among the groups calling for the head of the governor’s SSA is the National Association of Delta State Students (NATDESSTU).

NATDESSTU in a letter to the state governor, dated 1st July 2021, titled “a call for the immediate removal of Comrade Ehiwarior Jerry as the Senior Special Assistant to the Executive Governor of Delta State on Student Affairs and a critical check into his office for series of approvals he has gotten on behalf of the Delta State Comrade Community”, accused Jerry Ehiwarior of misappropriating money meant for the comrade community for personal use.

The letter which was signed by the National President, Comr. Godwin O. Saturday and General Secretary, Comr. Etere Gideon, with hard documented evidence to prove their claim was obtained by Advocate.ng.

“Your Excellency, the students and comrade community for some time now have been very unhappy with the present administration because we have believed that His Excellency cares less about his children, little did we know that his Excellency has been making series of approvals for the community which has constantly been pocketed by a wicked man who does not want the growth of the community but just the betterment of his pocket and thereby making it seems Okowa is not doing anything for the community and that has birthed hatred and anger for the Okowa led administration.

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“Your Excellency, a man who collects from the government in the name of the community and come to lie to the community is unfit to represent the community. We have been tagged ungrateful for not showing signs of gratitude despite His Excellency’s series of approvals.

“We are also calling on His Excellency to do a proper cum clinical audit on the office of the SSA since 2015 as regards the series of the approval made for the comrade community.”

“The union in their letter further accused the governor’s SSA of embezzling up to N58million approved for the comrade community.

“The breakdown of the funds includes: N40million for organizing town hall meetings with various organs of the comrade community for two years (N20million per year) which never held; N12million for Joint Christian Campus Fellowship (JCCF) prayer conference for three editions (N3.5million per edition for the first two editions and N5million for the third edition) also not held and N6million supposedly for end of year summit/4th edition of Delta State comrade community football tournament, for 2019 and 2020 (N3millioneach year) but never held.

“The Association, therefore, called on the state governor to urgently sack his SSA on Student Affairs, pointing that the state Governor has always had the best intentions for the comrade community but it has suffered because the wrong person was appointed as their representative.”

When contacted by Advocate.ng for his reaction on Friday last week, the SSA, Comrade Jerry Ehiwarior, pleaded with our correspondent to come over to his office on Tuesday for documentary evidence to prove that the event held and the money not mismanaged.

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However, calls to his mobile lines were not answered since Tuesday and SMS and WhatsApp messages to his phone line were not replied, as of the time of filing this report.

 

SEE ATTACHED LETTERS:

Letter of his request and approval for the first edition

 

NATDESSTU letter calling for his sack
NATDESSTU letter

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