Reactions continue to mount in the Nigerian public regarding the series of leaked videos showing Kano State Governor, Abdullahi Ganduje stuffing stacks of dollars in his Agbada; reportedly parts of a larger bribe of $5million.
This time, the Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) has asked President Muhammadu Buhari to probe the bribery allegation leveled against Governor Ganduje of Kano State by an online newspaper, Daily Nigeria.
The organisation released a statement on Sunday Urging President Buhari to direct the appropriate agencies including the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Mr. Abubakar Malami to investigate the allegations without delay.
SERAP called for the protection and safety of Mr. Jaafar Jaafar, the journalist who broke the story and published the videos.
SERAP also insisted that Ganduje should face trial if found guilty as his denials were not enough to prove his innocence in the face of overwhelming evidence against the governor.
SERAP said in an open letter dated November 2, 2018 and signed by its senior legal adviser, Bamisope Adeyanju;
“Given the history of corruption in Nigeria, especially unresolved allegations of grand corruption against many state governors, your government cannot and should not look the other way regarding the allegations against Mr. Ganduje.
Any allegations of bribery and abuse of power in any state of Nigeria is of concern to every Nigerian, and should, therefore, be of concern to your (Buhari’s) government. The obligations of your government to combat corruption in Nigeria extend to all three tiers of government, namely, the federal government, state government and local government.
Although primarily a matter of concern for Kano State, the allegations of bribery against Mr. Ganduje have assumed such a proportion as to become a matter of concern to the federation as a whole, and therefore, to your government.”
The organisation also asked the Federal Government to investigate Ganduje within 14 days of receiving its letter or face legal proceeding compelling the government to act in the interest of the general public.
It stressed further that this would help to enhance the government’s fight against corruption and contribute largely to promoting public interest and the interest of justice while preventing any abuse of the legal process.
Excerpts from the letter written to the President read;
“Vigorously seeking to enforce anti-corruption legislation and the UN Convention against Corruption to which Nigeria is a state party against alleged corrupt state governors, will show that your government is concerned with the overall well-being of the federation and willing and able to enforce important constitutional principles.
The Attorney-General of the Federation has power, conferred on him by section 174(1)(a) of the 1999 Constitution (as amended) and anti-corruption agencies have the powers to act on the allegations of bribery against Mr. Ganduje for the sake of ensuring transparency and accountability, and promoting the common good, peace, order and good government of the Federation (which includes Kano State).
Taking prompt action on the allegations of bribery against the governor would also be entirely consistent with the provisions of section 15 subsection (5) of the Constitution, which requires your government to abolish all corrupt practices and abuse of power, regardless of the state where such practices take place. Section 15 specifically defines “government” to include the government of the federation, or of any state, or of a local government council or any person who exercises power or authority on its behalf.
Section 61(2) of the Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences (ICPC) Act also provides that public officers accused of bribery may be prosecuted by the appropriate authority for such an offence.
SERAP is concerned that growing allegations of corruption including bribery against many state governors have not been investigated and that several of the governors involved are getting away with their alleged crimes.
We note that while a governor may enjoy immunity from arrest and prosecution, he does not enjoy immunity from investigation. Any criminal allegation against a sitting governor including Mr. Ganduje can and should be investigated pending the time the governor leaves office and loses immunity. The findings of such investigation can also be the basis for initiating impeachment proceedings against the governor.”