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Friday, 16 March 2018

Border agency boss in age falsification scandal

Border agency boss in age falsification scandal

Mrs Victoria Tayo Odumosu

Acting Executive Secretary of the Border Communities Development Agency (BCDA) Mrs Victoria Tayo Odumosu is still in service because she falsified her date of birth in 2016 by changing it from July 6, 1956 to July 6, 1960, according to a report sent to Vice President Yemi Osinbajo by BCDA’s former Executive Secretary, Engr. Numoipre Wills.

In the memo, dated November 9, 2017, Wills said Odumosu should have retired from the federal service in 2016 but that she used her position as BCDA’s Head of Administration “to falsify, alter and or manipulate her records in order to attain her purported directorship and seniority in this agency.”

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The furore began in November last year when Wills vacated office that month following the expiration of his second term in office. He handed over the agency to Alhaji Faruk Maiturare, Deputy Director and Head of Project Development and Implementation Department.

Two days later, Dr. R.P. Ugo, Permanent Secretary, General Services Office wrote to Engr Wills on behalf of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF) and directed him to hand over instead to Mrs Odumosu “who is the only Director in the agency based on your Nominal Roll as at October 2017.”

In his reply to the Vice President through the SGF dated November 9, 2017 Wills said, “I was constrained to hand over to Alhaji Maiturare, a fellow of NIOB who is a builder by profession with the requisite expertise, experience, and core competencies is necessary for the leadership of an organisation such as BCDA whose primary mandate is the provision of socio-economic infrastructure to border communities.

“In addition, it was recently discovered that Mrs Victoria Tayo Odumosu being paraded as the most senior in the Agency has been involved in falsification of records which is a serious misconduct punishable by dismissal under Sections 030401-030402 of the Public Service Rules 2008 Edition.”

Copies of BCDA’s Staff Nominal Roll for 2010, 2011, 2012, and 2014, all of which our reporter saw, listed 6/7/1956 as her date of birth. Mrs Odumosu went to work at BCDA from the Industrial Training Fund (ITF), Jos in 2010.

ITF’s Seniority List with Qualification for 2009, which our reporter also saw, as well as the officer’s Record of Service in File 02817 at ITF both listed her date of birth as 6/7/1956.

Dramatically however, according to Wills, Odumosu’s date of birth changed to 6/7/1960 in BCDA’s Staff Nominal Rolls for 2016 and 2017, which she prepared as Head of Administration, and which our reporter also saw.

Daily Trust further learnt that Mrs Odumosu tried to change the date of birth on her international passport but this was rejected by the Nigeria Immigration Service [NIS].

A letter addressed to the Chairman, Senate Committee on States and Local Government Administration dated January 2, 2018, signed by NIS Comptroller General Muhammad Babandede, which our reporter saw, said “(Odumosu) applied for change of date of birth from 1956 to 1960 based on her purported record of service presented for her request.

However, a document presented proved that she could not be born in 1960 because she sat for her WASC in 1973 and her Grade Two Teachers Certificate in 1975 which should have been 13 and 15 years respectively.”

Babandede said “in the light of the above, this fraudulent attempt to change her date of birth did not also conform to her previous MRP passport No AO4389378 which confirmed her date of birth to be 1956. Thus, the request was rejected and the reissue was done with the same date of birth.”

Daily Trust learnt that even though she was not issued with an appointment letter, Mrs. Odumosu has since taken over from Alhaji Faruk Maiturare as BCDA’s acting Executive Secretary pending the appointment of a substantive head for the agency.

Another source at the Accountant General’s office told our reporter that Odumosu must have succeeded in changing her date of birth at the AG’s office because the Integrated Payroll and Personnel Information System (IPPIS) of the Federal Government automatically stops a civil servant’s salary as soon as he or she clocks 60 years of age.

For over a week, Daily Trust had tried to obtain a comment for the story from Mrs Odumosu, but without any success. Last week, when our reporter called her, she said she was away. Immediately after speaking to her on phone Saturday, a lawyer called Daily Trust threatening litigation should we go-ahead to publish the story.

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The lawyer came back on Monday and said the lady was on tour but she will be back on Thursday.  Thereafter, the lawyer took our reporter to the agency’s office and met Mrs Odumosu.

Despite the meeting, Mrs Odumosu declined to respond to the story. On Tuesday, our reporter sent a text message to her mobile phone as a reminder, but without any response.

The next day, BCDA’s chief press officer Mrs Akpohwaye R. Atarhe visited Daily Trust’s head office and promised to provide their reaction before the close of work yesterday. But the spokesperson never did as of last night.

However, the director of information in the Office of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (OSGF), Mr Lawrence Ojabo, told Daily Trust the matter has been resolved amicably.

He said, “I have found the allegations to be false. The matter was amicably resolved between the accused and the accuser, who (the accuser) apologized over his role in the unwarranted and fabricated scandal.”

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