The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission has said it cannot immediately yield to calls to move against Governor Abdullahi Ganduje of Kano State who is accused of receiving millions of dollars in bribe, saying Mr Abdullahi enjoys constitutional immunity from criminal proceedings.
“The governor is still serving and constitutionally is covered by immunity. Being that as it may, the matter is in the instance sub judice,” the EFCC posted from its Twitter handle Thursday, during a tweet meet organised by Tap Nitiative for Citizens Development, a public accountability think-tank.
Mr Ganduje has been dogged by public scorn since videos appearing to show him engaging in brazen contract racketeering started appearing online in October. At least six of such videos have been published since the first clip was released on October 11.
Daily Nigerian, an online-based publication, said it has up to 15 of such videos of Mr Ganduje. The governor could be seen receiving wads of United States dollars from persons believed to be public works contractors.
When Tap Nitiative demanded further explanation because the EFCC moved against Ayo Fayose while he was the governor of Ekiti State, the anti-graft office said it does not usually “give out information on investigations.”
“Investigation of anyone for an alleged fraud remains a covert process,” the EFCC added.
The videos were recorded in 2017 in what Daily Nigerian described as a sting operation aimed at beaming the spotlight on the governor’s alleged penchant for contract racketeering.
The governor has dismissed the videos as “cloned” and filed a lawsuit against the publisher of the online newspaper, Jaafar Jaafar.
But PREMIUM TIMES’ graphics experts who examined some of the videos corroborated the position of Daily Nigerian, which earlier said its internal and independent graphics analysts authenticated the clips.
The Kano House of Assembly which initially initiated a probe into the allegations and invited Daily Nigerian suspended the process on Monday in deference to a court ruling over a suit to stop the probe.
Today’s comments from the EFCC marked the third time the agency would wave Mr Ganduje’s scandal, in defiance of demands from Nigerians that the matter be urgently probed to show the EFCC is independent and unbiased.
When PREMIUM TIMES first asked the agency whether it had launched inquiry into Mr Ganduje’s videos, its spokesperson Wilson Uwujaren said he knew little of the issue and therefore could not speak on it.
At a press briefing last week, the acting head of the anti-graft agency, Ibrahim Magu, repeatedly declined to answer questions about the corruption allegations against Mr Ganduje, who is a member of the ruling All Progressives Congress.
Daily Nigerian reported last month President Muhammadu Buhari ordered security agencies to probe the videos when they were brought to his attention, but the outcome remained unclear. The president, however, praised Mr Ganduje as a highly responsible governor during a visit to Paris earlier this month.