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Crime

EFCC To Probe 18 Governors, Deputies

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EFCC To Probe 18 Governors, Deputies

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The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has begun mass investigations of governors and their deputies, many of whom will leave office and lose constitutional immunity from prosecution in a few days’ time, an Impeccable Source authoritatively reported.

An exclusive memo obtained by this medium shows the anti-corruption agency is beaming its searchlight on at least 28 governors and their deputies. Nigeria has 36 states governed with each governed by a governor and a deputy governor.

At least 18 of the governors with their deputies targeted for investigations by EFCC are preparing to leave office when they will complete their second terms in office on 29 May.

A number of former governors who completed their tenures in the previous years are still facing investigations for alleged corruption. They include a former governor of Akwa Ibom State, Godswill Akpabio, and former governor of Zamfara State, Abdulaziz Yari, both of whom are vying for Senate President of the anticipated 10th National Assembly.

In March 2022, the EFCC arrested a former Anambra State governor, Willie Obiano, shortly after he handed over to his successor, and was detained for days for interrogation over corruption allegations.

Earlier in March 2021, the EFCC similarly detained a former governor of Kwara State, Abdulfatah Ahmed.

They have all denied the allegations against them, while the EFCC keeps mum on the outcome of its probes.

The agency has also linked the serving governor of Kogi State, Yahaya Bello, with ongoing investigations to some suspicious slew of assets. The governor has also denied any wrongdoing.

The governor of Adamawa State, Ahmadu Fintiri, was charged with corruption offences he allegedly committed during his three-month stint as acting governor of the state in 2014. He was facing trial at the Federal High Court in Abuja until he was elected governor in 2019.

At least 11 former governors are under federal investigation, mostly on suspicion of corruption.

EFCC has investigated governors even though convictions are very rare. Former governors – Joshua Dariye of Plateau State and Jolly Nyame of Taraba State – who governed their respective states between 1999 and 2007, were jailed for stealing public funds in 2018.

Mr Dariye and Mr Nyame didn’t serve half the length of their jail terms when President Muhammadu Buhari controversially granted them pardons in 2022.

Fresh allegations
Last week, the EFCC disclosed publicly that Governor Bello Matawalle of Zamfara State, whose name appears on the anti-graft agency’s list of possible corruption suspects, is being investigated over the alleged diversion of N70 billion from the state’s treasury.

The commission alleged that the governor, who is leaving office when he will complete his single term in about a week’s time, allegedly conspired with others to siphon public funds which, by his role, he was meant to safeguard.

EFCC’s Director of Public Affairs, Osita Nwajah, said allegations against Mr Matawalle include “corruption, award of phantom contracts and diversion of over N70 billion.

The outgoing governor, who lost his reelection in March, has denied wrongdoing and asked the anti-graft agency to probe ‘officers of the presidency’ and members of the Federal Executive Council (FEC). The commission described Mr Matawalle’s outburst as the case of a “thief” saying he must not be touched until other “thieves’’ are caught.

Mr Matawalle further alleged that EFCC chairman, Mr Bawa, demanded $2 million as a bribe from him. EFCC said it dared the governor to provide evidence to back his claim. Spokesperson for the EFCC Wilson Uwujaren said the commission will not be drawn into a mud fight with a “suspect under investigation for corruption and unconscionable pillage of the resources of his state.”

“The impunity and brazenness of the politicians are killing the country and we can’t afford to continue on this trajectory,” said Lanre Suraj, anti-corruption crusader. “We all must support the anti-corruption agencies and ensure we get justice and recovery of our stolen wealth.”

Both Mr Suraj and Mr Rafsanjani said it is desirable to have the Independent Corrupt Practices Commission (ICPC) and Code of Conduct Bureau equally launching the same actions on all the Politically Exposed persons.

Mr Matawalle, the Zamfara governor, and his deputy, Hassan Gusau, are among the 28 governors the EFCC is investigating.

Other governors on the longlist are Rivers state governor Nyesom Wike, Abdullahi Ganduje, Abubakar Bagudu, Abubakar Bello, Samuel Ortom, Benedict Ayade, Dave Umahi, Okezie Ikpeazu, Ifeanyi Okowa, Ahmadu Fintiri, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, Nasir El-Rufai, Bala Mohammed, Aminu Masari and Simon Lalong.

the full list of governors and their deputies expected to be probe are:
1. Abia State

Governor – Okezie lkpeazu

Deputy – Ude Oko Chukwu

2. Adamawa State

Governor – Ahmadu Fintiri

Deputy – Crowther Seth

3. Akwa Ibom State

Governor – Udom Emmanuel

Deputy – Moses Ekpo

4. Bauchi State

Governor – Bala Mohammed

Deputy – Baba Tela

5. Benue State

Governor – Samuel Ortom

Deputy – Benson Abounu

6. Borno State

Governor – Babagana Zulum

Deputy – Umar Kadafur

7. Cross River

Governor – Benedict Ayade

Deputy – Ivara Esu

8. Delta State

Governor – Ifeanyi Okowa

Deputy – Kingsley Otuaro

9. Ebonyi State

Governor – Dave Umahi

Deputy – Eric Igwe

10. Enugu State

Governor – Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi

Deputy – Cecilia Ezeilo

11. Gombe State

Governor – Muhammad Yahaya

Deputy – Manasseh Jatau

12. Jigawa State

Governor – Muhammad Abubakar

Deputy – Umar Namadi

13. Kaduna State

Governor – Nasir El-Rufai

Deputy – Hadiza Balarabe

14. Kano State

Governor – Abdullahi Ganduje

Deputy – Nasir Gawuna

15. Katsina State

Governor – Aminu Masari

Deputy – Mannir Yakubu

16. Kebbi State

Governor – Abubakar Bagudu

Deputy – Samaila Dabai

17. Kwara State

Governor – Abdulrahman AbdulRasag

Deputy – Kayode Alabi

18. Lagos State

Governor – Babajide Sanwo-Olu

Deputy – Femi Hamzat

19. Nasarawa State

Governor – Abdullahi Sule

Deputy – Emmanuel Akabe

20. Niger State

Governor – Abubakar Bello

Deputy – Ahmed Ketso

21. Ogun State

Governor – Dapo Abiodun

Deputy – Noimot Salako-Oyedele

22. Oyo State

Governor – Oluwaseyi Makinde

Deputy – Adebayo Lawal

23. Plateau State

Governor – Simon Lalong

Deputy – Sonni Tyoden

24. Rivers State

Governor – Nyesom Wike

Deputy – Ipalibo Banigo

25. Sokoto State

Governor – Aminu Tambuwal

Deputy – Manni Dan-Iya

26. Taraba State

Governor – Darius Ishaku

Deputy – Haruna Manu

27. Yobe State

Governor – Mai-Mala Buni

Deputy – Idi Gubana

28. Zamfara State

Governor – Bello Matawalle

Deputy – Hassan Gusau