As the drama between the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) and former governor Katsina State, Ibrahim Shema, enters the third day, we can report that Shema has been detained by the EFCC.
The governor, according to his media aide, walked into the Head Office of the anti-graft agency on Friday morning, but did not leave as of 7.30 pm. EFCC is investigating the former governor over allegations of N76b fraud while he was at the helm in Katsina state.
Friday’s detention of Shema was the peak of a 3-day drama which began with the EFCC publicly declaring Shema wanted on Wednesday.
Then the next day, Shema tore into the agency for embarrassing him publicly with its pronouncement, even when it had not invited him for questioning. Shema said the first time the anti-graft agency invited him was in June, and that he was on his way to honour the invitation before the EFCC cancelled and promised to reschedule. That second meeting, according to Shema, had not taken place before the EFCC ran to town to declare Shema wanted.
Then on Friday morning, Shema arrived at the head office of the EFCC to prove he was not on the run as initially alleged, after which he was grilled for over eight hours.
Shema’s spokesman, Oluwabusola Olawale, released a statement in which the former governor insisted that he voluntarily walked into the EFCC office.
The statement read in part, “As further proof to the fact that the former Governor Shema is not in hiding as claimed by the EFCC, he voluntarily walked into the EFCC headquarters around 9.30 am on Friday, September 16, 2016.
“We have reiterated it on different occasions that former Governor Shema has nothing with fear and he is ever ready to defend himself but he should not be subjected to political and media trial.
“All he wants is fairness, justice and equity in accordance with the rule of law. Former Governor Shema left Katsina State as a debt-free state despite the massive infrastructural development during his eight-year tenure.
“The whole agenda is a campaign of calumny by Governor Aminu Bello Masari of the APC to pull Shema down because he feels too small to occupy the big shoes and meet the giant strides of Shema as his predecessor in office.”
Masari, Shema’s successor had accused Shema of financial impropriety and diversion of billions of naira.
The governor had said he had “concrete evidence” to drag his predecessor before the anti-graft agency to recover all stolen funds.
According to Masari, there are some mistakes that can be forgiven, “but N70bn is a huge amount of money that we cannot overlook.”
The governor promised that all stolen public money would be retrieved to correct past mistakes and bring sanity into public service. He alleged that the former governor misappropriated over N76.6bn collected as excess crude oil allocation and diverted over N7.5bn for personal use.
Masari also alleged that Shema and other top government officials of the Ministry of Local Government Affairs used fake documents to divert over N750m earmarked for the purchase of drugs for local government councils.