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FG should audit CITN funds misappropriation

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By Abiodun Okunloye

CTIN was established when Nigeria relied on imported cement - NANS.

Nigerian Students National Association, NANS, has criticised the federal government for alleged mishandling and lack of transparency at the Cement Technology Institute of Nigeria (CTIN), and demands immediate action. In a press briefing in Lagos, the association called on President Bola Tinubu to investigate the committee for suspected misappropriation of funds at the institute. The Cement Technology Institute was created by the Ministry of Trade and Investment in August 2011 to assist the local cement industry by obtaining and enhancing suitable technology, guaranteeing that cost-effective cement is accessible nationwide.

The mandate of the institute includes conducting research and development, encouraging the use of environmentally friendly technologies, and enhancing the skills of individuals working in the cement industry. Comrade Akinteye Babatunde, NANS Senate President, noted that the CTIN was established a decade ago when Nigeria relied on imported cement. Its primary goal was to oversee the operations of cement importers and producers within the country. In contrast, the main purpose of the organisation’s funding was to provide support and resources for students in Nigeria.

They failed to provide educational support and vocational skills training.

After a decade of inaction, Babatunde explained the delay, saying, The sudden surge in cement prices has brought to light information that should have been known much earlier. This has prompted us to take action immediately to combat this issue. The CTIN is a committee that oversees cement importers and industry professionals in the nation. Aliko Dangote was appointed as the committee’s chairman to supervise their operations. One of their key duties is distributing funds to support the education and training of students, particularly those focusing on vocational skills.

He urgently implored President Bola Ahmed Tinubu to intervene promptly, emphasising the importance of his swift action, in urging the Federal Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment to promptly disclose the details of its involvement in overseeing the over 20 billion Naira (approximately $100 million) collected as levies on imported cement for technical training by the CTIN a decade ago, during a time when Nigeria was still reliant on cement imports. This disclosure is deemed crucial for the nation’s development.

No funds were remitted to the appropriate ministry in the past 10 years.

Over the last decade, the CTIN has failed to transfer any funds, not even to the Ministry of Trade and Investment. This raises questions about accountability and the intended use of those funds. It is imperative that they seek answers and demand explanations for this negligence. It is evident that the fund has not been utilised as intended, and they are well aware of this fact. The funds were meant to be allocated to the government for the improvement of the student’s vocational and technical education system.

In order to prevent the decline of this situation, with Nigerian students taking over all Dangote industries across the country, they urge His Excellency to recommend Aliko Dangote to promptly hire an external independent forensic auditor to examine the CTIN funds. It is imperative that those responsible for any wrongdoing are held responsible. They are calling for immediate changes to the leadership and governance of CTIN, advocating for a democratic system to avoid long-term overstays and prevent mismanagement of the People’s commonwealth.

Related Article: Nigeria sets to bridge IT gaps among students

Moreover, he added that the youth of Nigeria refuse to stay quiet as their potential is stifled, and their futures are put at risk by others. This is not a call for an answer; it is a call for responsibility, openness, fairness, and a call to arms for those who support Nigeria’s promise and the youth’s right to education, chances, and a level playing field. Their relentless pursuit of accountability will not cease until every fund is traced and those involved in concealing and misusing the funds are exposed to public scrutiny. Through a combination of advocacy and legal action, they are determined to uphold justice and prevent any future exploitation of public trust.

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NANS: Website

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