EXCLUSIVE: Ex-Jigawa governor, Saminu Turaki, to spend minimum 77 Days in detention

Saminu Turaki [Photo: Pulse.ng]
Saminu Turaki [Photo: Pulse.ng]

A former governor of Jigawa State, Saminu Turaki, who was arrested on Tuesday by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, may stay in the custody of the anti-graft agency until at least September 19, PREMIUM TIMES has gathered.

Mr. Turaki was arrested at the International Conference Centre, Abuja by operatives of the agency at the launch of a book on the late Zakariya Maimalari, titled: The First Regular Combatant.

Law enforcement agents had been unable to arrest him since a warrant for his arrest was issued by a federal court more than four years ago.

The live airing of the book launch on TV is believed to have alerted the anti-graft agency to Mr. Turaki’s presence at the event attended by major political leaders, leading to his eventual arrest.

He had been on the wanted list of the EFCC since May 3, 2013 when a Federal High Court in Dutse, the Jigawa State capital, issued the warrant for his arrest for serially failing to appear before the court.

The court, presided by Justice Sabi’u Yahuza, had directed the police and the EFCC to apprehend Mr. Turaki on sight and bring him before it.

“You are hereby commanded to arrest the said Ibrahim Saminu Turaki and bring him before me at Federal High Court, Dutse, Jigawa State without delay”, the court ordered the law enforcement agencies.

HISTORY OF TRIAL

The order was as a result of Mr. Turaki’s repeated refusal to appear before the court to answer charges of massive looting of his state made against him by the EFCC.

Mr. Turaki, who served two terms as governor of Jigawa from 1999 to 2007, was first arraigned by the EFCC before Justice Binta Murtala Nyako of the Federal Capital Territory High Court on July 13, 2007 on a 32-count charge of misappropriating N36 billion while in office.

Following his arraignment, he was granted bail in the sum of N100 million with two federal legislators, Bawa Bwari and Bashir Adamu, standing as his sureties.

In 2011, the case was transferred to the Federal High Court, Dutse after the accused successfully challenged the jurisdiction of the FCT division of the court.

He was subsequently re-arraigned on the same 32-count charge in Dutse but has since failed to appear before the court to defend himself.

He had also since 2013 been evading arrest by the police and the EFCC, until his luck ran out on Tuesday.

Following his arrest, an EFCC source told PREMIUM TIMES that the former governor would be held in custody until September 19, three days after federal judges resume from their annual vacation.

The EFCC spokesperson, Wilson Uwujaren, who confirmed the arrest of Mr. Turaki did not provide further information on how long he would be held.

PREMIUM TIMES confirmed at the Federal High Court, Dutse that the case was on May 30 adjourned to September 19.

It was further confirmed that the last time Mr. Turaki appeared at the court was in 2011, when Justice Yahaya took over the case after the previous presiding judge, Yunusa Nasiru, was assigned to the election petitions tribunal.

In 2012, Mr. Yahuza took over the case from Mr. Yahaya. But the case continued to suffer series of long adjournments due to Mr. Turaki’s refusal to appear before the court.

PREMIUM TIMES confirmed that the accused has never appeared before Mr. Yahuza since the case was reassigned to the judge in 2012.

As at the last sitting of the court on May 30, the case had suffered 10 adjournments.

Mr. Turaki is facing a 32-count charge alongside three firms, INC Natural Resources Ltd., Arkel Construction Nigeria Ltd., and Wildcat Construction Ltd.

Another defendant in the case, Ahmed Mohammed, who was also mentioned in every count of the charge, was also declared ‘’now at large.’’

In a 20-page handwritten statement, Mr. Turaki had told EFCC that he personally knew the three companies standing trial with him, but maintained that he did not award them contracts as he, as governor, only approved contracts.

‘’Sometimes I direct contract award to the company that can do it,” he claimed in the statement.

The 10-page long 32-count charge in case no. FHC/ABJ/CR/86/2007 was signed by Isa Gafai of the Legal and Prosecution Unit of the EFCC.

The charge sheet listed 16 investigating police officers who are to give evidence of their investigations and tender exhibits. The name of Ibrahim Magu, the current acting chairman of the EFCC, is on the list as prosecution witness number 13.

Mr. Magu, then a senior officer at the commission, is believed to have played a prominent role in the investigation.

PREMIUM TIMES discovered that after 10 years of series of adjournments, Mr. Turaki’s case is yet to reach hearing stage as witnesses are yet to start testifying.

EVADING ARREST?

On May 19, 2016, operatives of the EFCC had stormed Mr. Turaki’s house at 16 Dennis Osadebey Street, Asokoro, Abuja but could not lay their hands on him.

Since then, the former governor had been on the run, though he has been seen at various political and social gatherings.

For instance, he was one of the prominent guests at the December 2016 Daura wedding of Zahra, a daughter of President Muhammadu Buhari, and was also sighted at the Bola Tinubu Colloquium, a well-attended public event in Lagos.

In 2014, Mr. Turaki, who had been elected governor on the platform of the then opposition All People’s Party but defected to the ruling Peoples Democratic Party after his tenure, campaigned vigorously for the present All Progressives Congress governor of Jigawa, Badaru Abubakar.

Mr. Turaki’s immediate successor, Sule Lamido, is also facing trial for corruption at the Federal High Court.

Mr. Lamido, who on July 14, 2015 was arraigned on a 44-count charge before Justice A.F.A Ademola of the Federal High court, Abuja in suit FHC/ABJ/CR/329/2015, had as at May 5 this year made about 32 appearances at the court in Abuja.

PREMIUM TIMES investigations confirmed that, unlike in Mr. Turaki’s case, 18 witnesses have so far testified in Mr. Lamido’s trial.

The presiding judge in Mr. Turaki’s case, Mr. Yahuza, is said to be currently out of the country.

Federal judges are to begin their annual vacation on July 10, and resume on September 15.

Mr. Turaki is, therefore, expected to remain in EFCC custody until he is taken before Mr. Yahuza’s court on September 19. He may then seek a bail application before the court which would be at the judge’s discretion to approve.


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  • George

    This man fail to join APC since.

    They do him juju for not releasing the quick exit way out of corruptions cases as Ameach and Fashola did long long time ago. Native wisdom sometimes work perfectly.

    • DanJ

      … and he was even APP Governor oh!

  • Let FREEDOM reign


    Let freedom reign!!!
    From the oily creeks of the mangrove swamps of Warri Kingdom…
    To the rich mineral laden and clement mountains of Obudu Ranch in Calabar, Let freedom reign.
    From the royal Benin river basins in Edo Land…
    To the rich palm olive haven & crude oil reserves of the Abia red earth, Let freedom reign.
    From the rice fields of Abakaliki in Ebonyi…
    To the rich alluvial soil of Abia, Let freedom reign

    Let freedom reign!!!
    From the great Onitsha bridge-the land flowing with oil, inventors & entrepreneurs…
    To the rich royal waters of Bonny land & its priceless natural gas, let freedom reign.
    From the oil laden land & water of the Ogoni peoples…
    To the rich plains and oil fields of Eket in Akwa Ibom, Let freedom reign.
    From Enugu coal & bitumen reserves…
    To the rich oil deposits and tranquility River Ethiope. Let freedom reign.

    ———

    ***Give us a country. We want a country free of suicide bombers, terrorists & Murderous Herdsmen. Give us Biafra!

    • George

      STOP YOUR MONKEY TALKS.

      Biafra is five states anything more than is dead for your Igbo stop same mistake that cuased your earlier downfall.

      South South isn’t Biafra except you people want more death which will be very good anyway.

      • government

        Speak for yourself

        • Moses Stone

          Speak for yourself too

    • truth_is_bitter

      God bless you real good. Truth hurts and we all know that the best thing that can ever happen to progressive minded people in Nigeria is breakup. Simple! Nothing else will ever work. Just imagine the characters that keep propping up as Presidents or presidential candidates! Sick, brain dead & dumb people.Would a Buhari ever have emerged in a Yoruba nation as president? Would he have emerged in an Igbo nation or Ijaw nation as presidents were these independent states? Even an Arewa Nation would have sought a rational, educated and civilized man/woman were it a autonomous nation of her own. But in a Nigeria a Buhari can. No amount of restructuring can solve that except complete excision. Secession!

    • FineBoy

      KIDNAPPING and ROBBERY will be legalized.

  • Tunde

    Well Done EFCC! let him remain in jail till the judges return! He is definitely a flight risk! hope you have had time to cement your case against this alleged looter! it will be a shame if he gets away with his loot due to some technicality! Carry Go Magu! Carry Go EFCC! Hope sambisa forest prison will be ready for him!

  • Shahokaya

    Poor Jigawa has the unenviable position of being ruled by two of the worst looting governors, Turaki and Lamido. While Turaki looted the state dry with the active connivance of foreigners, Lamido used his sons to perpetuate his stealing.

    • Otile

      Salama alekun

  • Otile

    Jamaa barka da jumat

  • DanJ

    “Following his arraignment, he was granted bail in the sum of N100 million with two federal legislators, Bawa Bwari and Bashir Adamu, standing as his sureties.”

    Please what was the essence of sureties in the first place? If the full weight of the law is brought down on sureties (when the people they stand for bolt), perhaps people standing in for others will weigh their options seriously.

  • shola

    This is a clear picture of our Nigeria politics. Not we the lower class are a threat to the development of our nation but these political vagabonds who never lernt to share and care for their people. Corruption can only be the answer. That this man went hidding for good 4 years without the knowledge of the judiciary and his partisan? FEDERAL REBUPLIC OF NIGERIA = BANANA REPUBLIC!

  • Justina

    hmmm. AMEENA FODIO, greed took you to marry this man knowing he was wanted on the list. vomit all the stolen Nigerian money you ate with your husband. shameless 4th wife, fat done chop you finish. Keep bragging you are the daugher of amadu bello or Dan dofio of 10th generation? who know money banana? you remember we gave you proposals to help us, not knwoing you too was a hustler. That is why we want to separate from this arewa thieves who feel they can eat our national cake and go free.