…Why we can’t take action— APC
…Kano Assembly launches probe
By Abdulmumin Giwa, with agency report
KANO—A second batch of videos was published yesterday, by an online medium, Daily Nigerian, which published the first video purportedly showing Governor Abdullahi Ganduje collecting bribe from somebody claimed to be a contractor.
Daily Nigerian claimed to be in possession of up to 15 of such clips, seemingly showing the governor taking bribes from different contractors, it plans to release all the 15 video clips of Mr. Ganduje’s allege bribery schemes, which he said were shot over several months.
This came as Kano State Government said it had filed a criminal case against the online medium and its publisher, Jafar Jafar, over alleged defamation of character, while the state House of Assembly constituted a seven-man committee to investigate the matter.
Ganduje has not commented on the new videos, but he dismissed the first one as ‘cloned’ whose publisher has since gone underground to avoid violent backlash against him and his family.
Police, EFCC keep mum
Neither the Police nor the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, has announced any probe into the videos, even though their contents were first published a week ago before clips started streaming in yesterday.
Wilson Uwujaren, a spokesperson for EFCC, said yesterday afternoon: “If they are talking about issues, let them resolve their issues. Whether we are going to look at it is a different matter, but for now, I do not know anything.”
He declined to categorically say whether or not an investigation would be conducted into the scandal.
Kano State Police Commissioner, Rabiu Yusuf, also had nothing substantial to say about the videos when reached for comments, yesterday.
He said: “I am in Abuja. I have not seen the video not to talk of even investigating. I am not in town, so I do not know anything pertaining to that for now. But do not worry, when I am done, I would call to let you know.”
Kano govt reacts
However, the state’s Commissioner for Information, Youths, Sports and Culture, Malam Muhammad Garba, in a statement, said the Office of the Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice was challenging what he described as the “implausible and eccentric posting of the cloned video that went viral in a court of law considering its gravity.”
He accused Jafar of mischief and discrediting a public figure by wielding non-existent scandal against him.
According to the commissioner, “a mere observation of the cloned video clearly shows that the video is doctored and disjointed with no material facts or evidence to prove the allegations, other than a callous attempt to tarnish the hard-earned image of the office and the person of the governor.
“The governor of Kano State wishes to once again sate that he emphatically debunks the allegation of receiving gratification of $5 million or any amount whatsoever from any person or anybody.”
The commissioner drew attention to the conduct of the publisher, who he described as “a serial blackmailer and extortioner.”
He claimed that the government was aware that the hidden motive to reduce the popularity of the governor and consequently affect the anticipated quantum of All Progressives Congress, APC, votes from Kano in the 2019 general election.
While the state government is taking the legal action, Garba assured the people of Kano “that the governor would remain focused and continue with laudable programmes that would add value to the lives of the people of the state.”
However, APC said it could not take any action on the video, because the matter had been taken to court.
The party said Ganduje had sued Daily Nigerian, the platform responsible for the videos released between Sunday and yesterday.
Speaking through its spokesperson, Lanre Issa-Onilu, yesterday, APC said: “The matter is in court; the governor has taken the medium to court. We cannot comment on a matter that is already before a law court.”
House launches probe
Meanwhile, the state House of Assembly has constituted a seven-man committee to investigate the authenticity of the video clip.
The committee was constituted following a motion of urgent public importance, moved by member representing Warawa constituency, Alhaji Labaran Madari, and seconded by member, representing Kano Municipal constituency, Baffa Danagundi.
Madari pointed out that the House had the mandate to investigate any matter concerning the state aimed at ensuring peace and harmony in the state.
Speaking during the plenary session, Majority Leader, Danagundi, advised the executive arm of government to suspend its decision to take legal action against the online medium and its publisher, saying the House should be given time to investigate the alleged video clips.
The motion was deliberated on the floor of the House, presided over by Speaker, Kabiru Rurum.
Speaking while ruling on the deliberation, the Speaker constituted the seven-man committee to investigate the matter and submit its report within one month.
The committee is headed by Danagundi, the Majority Leader. Other members are Madari, Chief Whip; Zubairu Massu, Garba Ya’u Gwarmai, Abdulaziz Gafasa and Abubakar Galadima. Mujitaba Aminu would serve as the committee’s Secretary.