The Centre for Anti-Corruption and Open Leadership, CACOL, has backed the re-arraignment of a former governor of Jigawa State, Sule Lamido by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC.
Lamido, one of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, candidates to the elective national convention in Port Harcourt, was re-arraigned on a 43-count amended charge bordering on abuse of office and money laundering before Justice Ijeoma Ojukwu of the Federal High Court, Maitama, Abuja.
CACOL is calling for a speedy trial of the former governor and his two children, adding that the case must not be dragged beyond this administration.
In a statement issued by CACOL’s Coordinator of Media and Publications, Adegboyega Otunuga, the group said EFCC must ensure that the people of Jigawa State get justice.
CACOL’s statement said, “Mr. Sule Lamido was the governor of Jigawa state between 2007 and 2015. However, due to certain discrepancies and inconsistencies that were noticed after he vacated office, the EFCC had to investigate his stewardship while in the saddle and later invited him for questioning and other moral examinations, and subsequently charged him to court for unlawful enrichment and diversion of funds. According to the charge sheets even before this current amendment, he was alleged to have knowingly awarded state contracts to his companies, using his two sons (Aminu Lamido and Mustapha Lamido, as decoys and successfully defrauded the state to the tune of N1.35bn (One Billion, Three Hundred and Fifty Million Naira). He was also accused of always asking for and collecting kickbacks from contractors with such monies paid into accounts that were vicariously managed by his sons.
“Now, as CACOL, our concern is that this case of monumental diversion of public funds has dragged on for almost the entire period of this administration, while the ordinary people of Jigawa state are becoming weary of even the trial and possible recoup and repatriation of the allegedly looted funds. As an anti-graft organization, we have always emphasized on the fact that the effects of official heists by those entrusted to position of power, cannot be adequately quantified, both on the quality of life being sacrificed and erosion of basic amenities such pilfering conveniently encourage.
“This is why we always enjoin the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) and other cognate anti-corruption agency to always do a thorough investigation and diligent prosecution to ensure that those publicly exposed people that have chosen to betray the trust reposed in them for office do not successfully wriggle themselves out of dragnets for justice. This is the minimum condition to assuage the suffering of their victims and serve as a veritable deterrent. This becomes even more so when we realize that many of them could be so unscrupulous that they even insist to still lead us, even at higher levels while they have this unresolved noose of immorality hanging on their neck.”
“Since the charges against Sule Lamido and his two children have now been effectively amended and the case successfully transferred, we urge the EFCC to leave no stone unturned in ensuring that justice is not only done to all parties concerned, especially the common and suffering people of Jigawa state, we want it manifestly so, especially with the window provided by the elongated time of preparing necessary evidence and issues for effective prosecution. This would go a long way in discouraging a mentality of seeing the state coffers as an extension of personal or family business by the office holders.”
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