By Emmanuel Aziken
Immediate past Governor of Sokoto State, Alhaji Attahiru Bafarawa has denied jumping bail, affirming that he would neither turn a fugitive from the law nor go on exile because of the corruption charges against him.
Bafarawa in a statement dispatched from London where he claimed to have gone for medical check-up said that his lawyer, Mr. Ricky Tarfa (SAN) had duly informed the Sokoto High Court trying him of his whereabouts.
The former Sokoto Governor was on Monday declared a wanted person by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) after the Sokoto court revoked the bail it had previously given him.
Bafarawa, in the statement, affirmed that he would return to the country on or before 17 March 2010 the next adjourned date for his trial before the Justice Bello Abbas of the Sokoto High Court where he is on trial for corruption.
He said: â€œI sent my lawyer (Ricky Tarfa) with my letter that I have medical appointment to keep with my doctor in London. The lawyer tendered the letter, but unfortunately, the presiding judge rejected it.
â€œIt is therefore surprising to me that the EFCC said and the court agreed that I jumped bail.Â How could I have jumped bail when my lawyer, who represented me in court, knew and still knows my movement; and he presented a letter to that effect in court?â€
â€œWhat the EFCC wants is to prosecute a living Bafarawa and not a dead one.Â This is why the issue of my health should be of paramount importance to both parties (EFCC and I) so that the truth and justice of the matter can be ascertained.â€
â€œBut I want to state unequivocally that I did not jump bail; that I have not jumped and that I do not intend to jump bail. I also will not run away from my country because of the issues that I have in court with the EFCC.â€
â€œI am too distinguished and honourable to run away from the law and from my country. I will never, ever run away. I will make myself available in court at any time that I am required to do so.Â You would remember that I attended the court sitting even when the judicial workers were on strike and the court session could not hold.â€
Affirming that he would return to the country by or before March 17, he said:
â€œI will be back in the country immediately after my medical check-up to face the legal challenges and I wish to be in court on March 17.â€