Gbade Ogunwale, Abuja
A governorship candidate of the All Progressive Grand Alliance (APGA) in the 2019 governorship election in Zamfara state, Alhaji Sani Abdullahi Shinkafi, has threatened to seek orders of the court against the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).
Shinkafi said he would seek the court’s order to compel the EFCC to investigate the immediate past governor of Zamfara state, Alhaji Abdulaziz Yari, over N900 billion he alleged was diverted by the ex governor during his eight-year tenure.
In a statement he circulated in Abuja on Thursday, Shinkafi said the EFCC has refused to act on more than 12 petitions he filed with the Commission within the past 12 months detailing how the ex governor and some crony companies and individuals diverted the said sum through shady deals.
Shinkafi, in his latest letter, dated July 8, 2020 and addressed to the new Acting Chairman of the EFCC, Mohammed Umar, said that despite his numerous petitions to the Commission, no action was taken against the former governor, who he said, has been acting as if he is above the law.
According to him, the EFCC failed to act despite acknowledging receipt of the numerous petitions against Yari, individuals, contractors, private companies and some top government functionaries.
The petition further said: “We had expected that the EFCC should have invited him for questioning, like they have been doing to other former governors who are members of the opposition parties.
“I have concluded that I will give the Commission this week and if nothing is done on this my reminder, I will be left with no option than to file an action at the Federal High Court to seek an order of Mandamus to compel the EFCC to properly fulfil their statutory official duties or to correct any abuse of discretion as provided by the EFCC Establishment Act 2002.
“The Commission should let the Nigerian people know how far they have gone in respect to the petitions. Our leaders are supposed to be transparent and accountable to us. They are supposed to render accounts of their stewardship to the people who elected them while in office or after the expiration of their tenure.
“The decision of EFCC not to invite Hon. Abdulaziz Yari and his co-travelers for questioning is justifying the view of several Nigerians that the anti-corruption war of President Muhammadu Buhari administration is one sided, given that most of those arrested so far are members of the opposition party.
“But several All Progressives Congress (APC) members accused of corruption are still walking the streets freely, an indication that Nigeria still has a long way to go in the fight against corruption.
“You cannot build an institution when you only arrest members of opposition parties accused of corruption and ignore those accused of the same thing who are in the ruling party and allegedly close to Mr. President.
“If Abdulaziz Yari was in opposition party, the EFCC would have invited him since he left office. If it was the opposition, the EFCC would have made so much noise in the media with invitation, arrest and possible prosecution.
“Sometimes, I wonder if this is really a fight against corruption because there are lots of economic vampires around Mr. President against whom petitions are gathering dust at the EFCC corporate headquarters.
“If EFCC fails to invite Hon. Abdulaziz Yari despite overwhelming and verifiable evidence before the Commission, this would make mockery of the anti-corruption campaign of Mr. President.
“We have documented evidence that indicted the former governor of corruption while in office. These include:
Report of Zamfara State Project Verification Committee set up by the present Governor of Zamfara State, Bello Muhammed Matawalle.
“I hereby implore the Commission to exercise its statutory powers under the EFCC Establishment Act 2002 to investigate, prosecute and penalise the economics and financial crimes committed against the people of Zamfara state by the former governor and his cronies as well as enforcing the provision of other laws and regulations relating to economic and financial crimes”.
But in a swift reaction on Thursday, Yari described the allegations as laughable, asking if the entire revenue allocation to Zamfara was up to N900 billion for the eight years he served as governor.
Yari, who spoke through his media aide, Mayowa Oluwabiyi, in a terse statement, said: “We want to ask; how much was the overall allocation that accrued to Zamfara state when Yari held sway as the governor of the state? We still maintain that we will not join issues with Sani Abdullahi Shinkafi”.