By Soni Daniel
Abuja—How did former Borno State governor, Ali Modu Sheriff, raise $72 million (N12 billion) to buy a Gulfstream aircraft, Model G650, after leaving office as a public officer?
This was the major question put to him by a crack team of Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, operatives, who grilled the former governor of the Boko Haram-troubled state for hours in Abuja, yesterday.
The interrogators had been specifically raised by the commission to probe Sheriff, who was the governor under which Boko Haram insurgency birthed in Nigeria and were not considered as a serious threat to the state and the country at the time.
Vanguard learned that the invitation of Sheriff by EFCC was to find out if he abused his office as a governor or benefitted from alleged rip-off of a former president to the tune of $200 million under the guise of enforcing a dubious Boko Haram ceasefire in a neighbouring country in 2014.
The operatives also wanted to establish if the said amount was transmitted by a top presidential aide to a foreign leader, who has a personal relationship with Sheriff.
The operatives, who invited the former governor to their head office in Abuja, questioned him specifically on where he got the money to acquire the aircraft in the same year that the controversial Boko Haram ceasefire flopped.
The former governor, who was grilled for many hours yesterday, was however allowed to go home on administrative bail and asked to return on today with some documents.
A source said: “Indeed, we interrogated Sherriff for many hours yesterday and he actually cooperated with our operatives and that made it easy for us to grant him administrative bail and asked him to report back on Tuesday (today).
“We will continue with the interrogation of the politician in order to determine how he came by the aircraft and other items we are investigating.”
Recall that with the purchase of the aircraft, Sheriff topped the list of such fleet owners in the country.
However, the other owners of private jets in Nigeria are mostly top religious and businessmen.