The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, has traced the sum of N603 million to the wife of Mr Josiah Habu, who is the Director of the Bioresources Development Centre in Bayelsa State. Investigations carried out by EFCC showed that Esther was given suspicious contracts by over 20 directors of BIODEC across the country.
A statement by the EFCC spokesman, Mr Wilson Uwujaren, stated that about N70m was traced to Esther’s husband. Director-General of NABDA, Prof Lucy Ogbadu, who oversees all BIODEC branches across the country was also arrested by the anti-graft agency.
The professor allegedly received N23m from the slush fund. EFCC stated that Ogbadu’s link with all the alleged scams was being investigated. She had been duly served with bail conditions while investigations continued. The EFCC statement read in part:
“Operatives of the EFCC have arrested the serving Director-General of NABDA, Prof Lucy Ogbadu, for her alleged involvement in criminal conspiracy and diversion of public funds to the tune of N23m. Ogbadu was arrested on Wednesday, June 28 in Port Harcourt, Rivers State, following her alleged link with the Bayelsa State Director of BIODEC, Mr Josiah Habu, who is being investigated by the EFCC in a case of fraudulent diversion of the sum of N75m.
Investigations by the EFCC showed that Ogbadu allegedly received the sum of N23m through a bank account belonging to the wife of Habu, Mrs Esther Habu, and admitted same in a voluntary statement made to the EFCC. “Further investigations have also shown that Mrs Habu is one of the contractors with BIODEC, Odi, Bayelsa State, and a total sum of N603m has been traced to her in different deals involving over 20 directors of BIODEC across the country.”
BIODEC is an intervention programme of the Federal Government aimed at developing the natural resources of Nigeria for use in agriculture, health, environment and industry. It was established in 2003 by the National Biotechnology Development Agency under the supervision of the Federal Ministry of Science and Technology. BIODEC has about 25 centres across Nigeria.