By Staff Reporter
ABUJA, April 22 — Former Nigerian Ambassador to Namibia and former Chargé d’Affaires to Jamaica, Hon Mrs Lilian Onoh, has been summarily dismissed by the Federal Civil Service Commission. This comes after a report by a seven-man committee that indicted her over her alleged financial misappropriation while serving in Namibia.
SaharaReporters had earlier reported how Onoh was accused of illegally diverting funds meant for the day-to-day operation of the mission and was asked to refund the sum of $45,539.11 (about N19 million), $70,448 (about N30 million), and N614,000. This was part of the recommendation of the seven-man committee headed by the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Amb. Gabriel Aduda. The committee also had a member of the House of Representatives Committee on Foreign Affairs as a member.
Onoh was asked to refund the sum of $42,500 as an education supplement in respect of her adopted daughters and refund $2,614 as Excess on AIE (Excess payment). Following the discovery of the infractions, she was summarily dismissed by the Disciplinary Committee of the commission after being found guilty of “breach of provisions of Financial Regulations on virement, absence from duty without leave, refusal to take/carry out lawful instruction which are acts of serious misconduct.”
Her dismissal was ratified after a meeting of the committee, and she was directed to be handed over to the Independent Corrupt Practices and other related offences Commission (ICPC) for investigation. The committee found her guilty of the offences and approved her dismissal from the service, effective from February 1, 2021.
The former ambassador is a sister to one-time Miss Nigeria and the wife of Biafran leader, Dim Odumegwu Ojukwu (Bianca Ojukwu). In addition to the financial misappropriation allegations, she was accused of spending N66,168 on airfare for two domestic bits of help, $425 spent on a stopover for “two domestic bits of help and N34,000 for an extra night in Abuja hotel.” The accusations against her included Hotel accommodation – 11-17 December 2017, N312,000, and Guest hotel accommodation – 26-31 December 2018, N268200.
The summary dismissal of Hon Mrs Lilian Onoh by the Federal Civil Service Commission is a clear indication of the Nigerian government’s commitment to fighting corruption and ensuring accountability in public service. The government has demonstrated its willingness to take action against public officials who engage in financial misappropriation and other forms of corrupt practices. This is a step in the right direction, and it is hoped that it will serve as a deterrent to others who may be tempted to engage in corrupt practices.
It is essential for public officials to uphold the values of integrity, accountability, and transparency in the discharge of their duties. Public trust is a critical component of effective governance, and it can only be earned through the demonstration of high ethical standards by public officials. The Nigerian government must continue to take decisive action against public officials who engage in corrupt practices to restore public trust and confidence in the government. – Namibia Daily News