BY BOLUWAJI OBAHOPO
LOKOJA—The N78 million donated by the World Bank to the Kogi State Agency for Aids and HIV Control, KOSACA, in the state is missing.
The money which was to be disbursed to various Non-Governmental Organizations, NGOs, to curtail the spread of the diseases in the state was said to have been cornered by some top officials of the agency who later set up some ‘’emergency’’ NGOs to siphon the fund.
Vanguard gathered the some of the non-exesistent NGOs had no offices, while the few that could boast of offices were largely owned by staff of the agency and government officials.
Sources told Vanguard that, “out of over 160 NGOs in the state, only 18 of them were short-listed for the disbursement while only four out of those 18 were genuine; with about 14 others owned by government officials.
”Out of the money disbursed to these genuine ones, they were forced to part with some percentage as kickbacks to the management of the agency.”
Vanguard also gathered that one of the NGOs owned by a powerful woman in the state. The said NGO was reportedly established about two years ago.
The agency was also accused of wasting N5 million on purchase female condoms which were yet to be distributed in the state.
A rights activist in the state, Comrade Idris Miliki had also raised an alarm on the state television programe, Coast to Coast, expressing his displeasure over the alleged poor manner the agency disbursed the money.
Miliki said persons with HIV/ AIDS in the state were suffering in silence while some government officials were smiling to their banks with the World Bank grant.
The Executive Director of the agency Hajia Rainatu Bala denied the allegations, saying that contrary to insinuations, the agency followed due process in the disbursement of the fund.
Bala who spoke through the Project Manager, Dr Gabriel Musa also said there was nothing wrong with the disbursement of the fund to government agencies as the guidelines for the disbursement did not exclude NGOs.