BY LEKE ADESERI, South West Regional Editor & EMMAN OVUAKPORIE
ABUJA— NINE outgoing state governors across the country who have enjoyed immunity for the past four or eight years may soon be guests of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, as their tenures expire on May 29.
Sources at the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, told Vanguard, weekend, that the anti-graft agency was going after nine state governors it perceived as having cases to answer over how they spent the billions of naira allocated to their states throughout their tenure.
Meantime, EFCC is said to have placed the governors under a 24 hour surveillance.
Vanguard gathered that the essence of placing them on the watch list was to forestall their jetting out of the country immediately they handed over to their successors on May 29.
The agency is, however, keeping mum over the matter, a tactic observers say was being adopted not to sensitise the affected public officers.
When the spokesman, Femi Babafemi, was asked about the situation he simply said: “No comment, when we get to the bridge we will cross it.”
Vanguard learnt that loads of petitions against the nine governors were now with the EFCC and that in a matter of days the governors would be made to account for their deeds as the commission is said to have started investigating them.
Nine outgoing govs
The nine outgoing governors, whose names are being bandied, are Gbenga Daniel of Ogun State, Adebayo Alao-Akala of Oyo State; Bukola Saraki of Kwara State and Ikedi Ohakim of Imo State.
Others are Ibrahim Shekarau of Kano State; Ibrahim Shinkafi of Zamfara State; Muhammadu Goje of Gombe State; Modu Sheriff of Borno State and Akwe Doma of Nasarawa State.
On May 29, these governors will lose their immunity as none of them will return to office, having either completed their two terms in office or lost their re-election bid in last month’s governorship election.
When contacted over the matter, Ogun State government through the Chief Press Secretary, Adegbenro Adebanjo, said the state government was not perturbed at all.
He said: “It will not be the first time EFCC will be investigating some of the commissioners, but like what happened the other time, nothing will again be found this time around.”
One of the petitions against Governor Gbenga Daniel is believed to have been written by former President Olusegun Obasanjo.
Petitions against Akwe Doma
It was also gathered that one of the petitions sent to EFCC against Akwe Doma, the outgoing Nasarawa State governor, was written by Alhaji Ibrahim Shekarau Musa, Secretary of the Congress for Progressive Change, CPC, in Nasarawa State.
In the petition, Musa alleged that Akwe Doma’s son, Umar, was one of the fronts the governor was using to siphon money.
It was also alleged that the state’s Ministry of Water Resources raised the sum of N900 million through a backdated memo for the purported supply of chemicals.
The ministries of Housing and Health were also allegedly ordered to raise N200 million and N340 million through a backdated memo for the construction of the Banquet Hall of Government House.
It was further alleged in the petition that a backdated memo was used to raise an additional N68 million to cover the cost of accommodation for pilgrims participating in this year’s Hajj operation.
EFCC has already moved to Nasarawa State as well as the other eight states whose governors are under probe.
Already, EFCC is prosecuting 14 former state governors for alleged corrupt enrichment while they were in office between 1999 and 2007. The former governors are Joshua Dariye of Plateau State whose case is pending at the Federal High Court in Abuja; Abdullahi Adamu of Nasarawa dragged to the Federal High Court, Lafia; Abubakar Audu of Kogi State with case at the Federal High Court in Lokoja; Saminu Turaki, former governor of Jigawa State who is being tried at the Federal High Court, Abuja; Orji Uzor Kalu of Abia State facing trial also in Abuja; Boni Haruna of Adamawa with case at Federal High Court, Abuja and Michael Botmang of Plateau facing trial at the Federal High Court in Abuja.
Other former governors on trial at various Federal High Courts are Ayo Fayose of Ekiti, James Ibori of Delta, Lucky Igbinedion of Edo, Chimaroke Nnamani of Enugu, Jolly Nyame of Taraba, Rasheed Ladoja of Oyo and Attahiru Bafarawa of Sokoto State.
Ibori is also currently facing trial in the United Kingdom after he was extradited from Dubai to face money laundering charges.