Naira Redesign, Animal Swallowing Billions of Naira and 3 Other Corruption Scandals by Buhari’s Govt

Naira Redesign, Animal Swallowing Billions of Naira and 3 Other Corruption Scandals by Buhari’s Govt

  • Many political critics have described ex-President Muhammadu Buhari's administration as the worst in Nigeria's history
  • Buhari, who came into office with the campaign mantra of ending corruption, suffered corruption activities in his administration
  • Some of these corruption scandals highlighted by included the most recent naira redesign fraud, animal swallowing money and others journalist Segun Adeyemi has over 9 years of experience covering political events, civil societies, courts, and metro

FCT, Abuja - The fight against corruption is a defining battle for leaders worldwide in governance. Nigeria has been no exception under President Muhammadu Buhari's leadership.

While Buhari assumed office in 2015 with a promise to tackle corruption head-on, his administration has faced its fair share of controversies.

Ex-President Buhari's administration was filled with a series of corruption allegations and scandals
The Naira redesign scandal became Buhari's administration's most controversial corruption scandal. Photo Credit: Muhammadu Buhari
Source: Facebook

As we delve into the intricate web of Nigerian politics, this listicle sheds light on the five worst corruption scandals that have cast a shadow over the Buhari regime.

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From embezzlement to misappropriation of funds, each scandal has left an indelible mark on the nation's political landscape, challenging the foundations of its fight against corruption.

1. Godwin Emefiele's CBN Naira redesign

Godwin Emefiele's policies as the Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria from 2014 to 2023, notably the controversial redesign of the naira, have attracted attention.

The nation faced a scarcity period due to the redesign.

Jim Obaze, the special investigator on the CBN and related entities, accused Emefiele of unlawfully depositing billions of naira into 593 bank accounts in the United States, United Kingdom, and China.

These transactions allegedly lacked approvals from the CBN Board of Directors and the CBN Investment Committee.

The investigation also reveals that Emefiele awarded the redesign project to the UK-based De La Rue for £205,000 after the Nigerian Security Printing and Minting Plc couldn't meet the required timeframe.

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The report indicates that ₦61.5 billion was allocated for printing new notes, with ₦31.79 billion already disbursed. As of August 9, 2023, ₦769 billion worth of the new notes were circulated.

2. N37bn: Alleged money laundry by former minister of humanitarian affairs

The EFCC apprehended James Okwete, a contractor, as part of the ongoing inquiry into the alleged misappropriation of N37 billion by the Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management, and Social Development during the tenure of former minister Sadiya Umar Farouq.

According to a senior EFCC official, Okwete provided valuable information implicating Umar-Farouk and a former director-general of the ministry.

This development aligns with the concurrent investigation of three other ministers who served under former President Muhammadu Buhari, involving corruption amounting to an estimated N150 billion.

Sources suggest that the EFCC might detain Umar-Farouk and some former directors-general linked to the ministry based on the insights into financial misconduct shared by the contractor.

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The investigation disclosed that N37.1 billion was transferred from the Federal Government to 38 bank accounts in five legacy commercial banks associated with Okwete.

Allegedly held at the EFCC Headquarters in Jabi, Abuja, Okwete is reportedly cooperating with investigators, as confirmed by reliable sources.

3. Nigeria Air scandal

The Nigeria Air project, introduced by the Minister of Aviation, Hadi Sirika, in May 2023 during Buhari's administration, has sparked considerable controversy.

Despite its initial aim to rejuvenate the aviation sector and generate employment, the proposed national carrier faces extensive criticism and opposition from various quarters, including aviation experts, airline operators, civil society groups, and members of the House of Representatives.

The primary source of contention lies in the perception that Nigeria Air is a dubious and unnecessary initiative, expected to incur substantial taxpayers' money without offering clear benefits or rationale.

Critics argue that the project reflects Sirika's ambition and avarice, alleging that he used his influence and connections to secure a contract with a foreign company without adhering to due process or ensuring transparency.

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Investigations reveal that, a few days before the transition of power, the former Minister of Aviation had engaged Ethiopian Airlines to provide an aircraft, subsequently presented to the public as part of the Nigeria Air fleet.

Ethiopian Airlines complied by repainting and rebranding one of its Boeing 737-860 Max aircraft, identified with registration number ET-APL, Mode S Q4005C, and serial number 40965/4075.

Further scrutiny shows that the national carrier, despite its altered appearance, is approximately 11 years old, with its inaugural flight under Ethiopian Airlines occurring on June 22, 2012.

The aircraft operated under Malawi Airlines on February 16, 2014, before being returned to Ethiopian Airlines on August 12, 2015.

Despite the change in colours, the ownership of the aircraft remains with Ethiopian Airlines, raising concerns about the transparency and legitimacy of the Nigeria Air project.

4. Animal swallowing money

In February 2018, an unusual incident occurred when a snake was accused of swallowing N36 million from the Joint Admission Matriculation Board (JAMB) office vault in Makurdi, Benue State.

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JAMB, responsible for selling scratch cards to candidates, initiated reforms in 2018, prompting an audit of state offices to account for sold and unsold cards.

Sales representative Philomina Chieshe claimed she couldn't explain the N36 million earned before removing scratch cards.

While denying personal theft, she asserted that her housemaid and another JAMB staff, Joan Asen, spiritually stole the money through a snake. Chieshe accused JAMB of fabricating the snake story and criticised the lack of official questioning.

In a similar bizarre incident the same year, Senator Abdullahi Adamu was ousted as chairman of the Northern Senators Forum due to alleged financial mismanagement.

The spokesperson claimed that monkeys took away N70 million during Adamu's tenure, funds transferred from the 7th Senate to the Northern senators of the 8th Senate.

Allegedly, monkeys raided executives' farmhouses, making off with the money.

Shifting the focus to another strange occurrence, on August 14, 2022, reports emerged that termites, living extravagant lives, invaded the Nigeria Social Insurance Trust Fund (NSITF) storeroom and consumed vouchers totalling N17.128 billion.

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These vouchers represented transfers from NSITF accounts in Skye and First Bank, involving untraceable accounts of individuals and companies from January to December 2013.

The Senate Committee on Public Accounts discovered the loss during an interrogation of NSITF management. The Managing Director explained that financial documents stored in a container had deteriorated due to years of exposure to rain and termite damage.

5. Public school free feeding initiative

The Buhari administration initiated the National Home-Grown School Feeding Programme in 2016 as a social safety net project to offer complimentary meals to students across Nigeria.

The primary objectives included enhancing children's well-being and educational outcomes, aiding vulnerable populations, and generating employment and income for farmers and cooks involved in the food supply.

Regrettably, the program faced accusations of corruption, suboptimal execution, politicisation, and difficulty reaching its designated recipients.

Nigerian bank allegedly owned by Emefiele opens up on relationship With Union Bank

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In another report, Titan Trust Bank has debunked reports that its acquisition of Union Bank and Keystone Bank was fraudulently made.

The bank said it followed due process and obtained relevant regulatory approvals for its purchase.

Jim Obazee, the special investigator appointed by President Tinubu, had accused Emefiele of using proxies to acquire the two banks.


Segun Adeyemi avatar

Segun Adeyemi (Current Affairs and Politics Editor) Segun Adeyemi is a journalist with over 9 years of experience as an active field reporter, editor, and editorial manager. He has had stints with Daily Trust newspaper, Daily Nigerian, and News Digest. He currently works as an editor for's current affairs and politics desk. He holds a degree in Mass Communication (Adekunle Ajasin University). He is a certified digital reporter by Reuters, AFP and the co-convener of the annual campus journalism awards. Email:

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