The Registrar of the National Examinations Council (NECO), Professor Godswill Obioma, died on Tuesday in controversial circumstances only one week after the Senate announced it would look into N6.5 billion contracts awarded by the council without due process under his predecessors.
SaharaReporters learnt from top sources at the Federal Ministry of Education that the probe had unsettled the past NECO bosses and Obioma was willing to lay bare all the documents, which makes his death all the more suspicious.
“Obioma was straightforward and his blunt style was not in the good books of some members of the board of the council, who were also loyalists of some former registrars. Only a week ago, the Senate Committee on Public Accounts said it was going to look into how N6.5 billion contracts were awarded without due process in 2017.
“The registrar was issued two queries to explain, and he was going to give replies to the National Assembly with evidence of what he knew. There should be investigations around his death. There should be no cover-up,” one of the sources said.
Obioma was appointed registrar in May 2020, taking over from ex-Registrar, Abubakar Gana.
His wife, Elizabeth, told newsmen that he was murdered by armed men who strangled him to death at their residence in Minna, Niger State.
But the council and the Niger State Police Command claimed the NECO registrar died after a brief illness.
The NECO Director of Human Resources, Mustapha Abdul, had said Obioma’s second son confirmed to him that the father died after an illness.
“This is to formally inform you that my father, Prof. Godswill Obioma, the Registrar/Chief Executive of NECO passed to eternal glory yesterday, May 31, after a brief illness.
“We request that you kindly notify the Board, Management and the entire staff of the Council of this development,” it read.
The police command also stated that Obioma died of natural causes with no mention of any investigation opened into the incident.
The Police Public Relations Officer, DSP Wasiu Abiodun noted that Obioma was rushed to the hospital by his family members where he died.
On May 24, NECO as stated in the 2017 Audit Report submitted to the Senate Committee on Public Accounts awarded N6.5 billion contracts in 2017 without due process.
The Office of Auditor General of the Federation had in an earlier report treated by the Senate alleged that the examination body spent N7.2 billion on examination materials in January 2017 without any documents to show for such payments.
At another session two weeks ago, the upper legislative chamber confronted the NECO Registrar, Obioma, with another damning report of alleged N6.5billion contracts award without due process.
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