Embattled former Jigawa Governor, Sule Lamido says his latest arrest, incarceration and prosecution by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) over corruption charges is politically motivated.
The EFCC had dragged Lamido and his sons to a Federal High Court in Kano with a 28-count charge bordering on criminal breach of trust and laundering of N1.35 billion. The trial judge, Justice Evelyn Anyadike, on Friday, adjourned the case till September 28 while ordering that the suspects be remanded in Kano Prison. The judge also ruled that the case will be handed over to a vacation judge to listen to the accused persons bail application while the judiciary goes on vacation from Monday, July 13.
Lamido who is currently being detained with his two sons in Kano Central Prison over allegations of laundering N1.35 billion claimed he is being persecuted by those who feel that they would not be able to actualise their presidential ambition with him around the political arena.
Lamido teamed up with six other former PDP governors to spearhead the formation of parallel new PDP before opting to rejoin the party alongside Babangida Aliyu while five others defected to the AllProgressive Congress (APC). Now he claims he is being persecuted by his “political enemies”.
The former governor in a statement issued through his media aide, Umar Kyari, declared that his latest corruption prosecution was a grand design to put him away in prison for a long time so as to dismantle his political structures.
“This current effort to frame and denigrate the former governor of Jigawa State with a view to rubbishing his high performance in office will come to naught at the end of the day. Lamido remains nothing but a scion of accountability and integrity who has always fought on the side of the people, particularly the downtrodden and the vulnerable, since he came into the national political scene”, the statements read in parts.
According to Kyari, the imprisoned Lamidos were unfazed over the trumped-up charges slammed on him by the EFCC as his principal “has not committed any offense to warrant being thrown into the prison over a bailable offense”.
“The refusal by his traducers to grant him and his sons bail when others charged same day and time for even more grievous offences were admitted to bail speaks volume of the intention and mindset of those who are after him”, he alleged.
His final shot: “Sule Lamido strongly believes that, after being imprisoned several times all in a bid to pave the way for sustained democracy in Nigeria, the current effort by the EFCC and others to humiliate him and his family over the so-called money laundering charges will not break his resolve to continue to fight on the side of the people.
The former governor, whose supporters relocated to the Kano Central Prison where they kept vigil over him and his two sons, said he was determined to prove to Nigerians that he was innocent.
Lamido and sons are likely to be admitted to bail today (Monday) as a vacation judge was most likely to hear their bail application on that day. A source said Lamido’s associates had already prepared in many ways to meet whatever conditions the judge might stipulate for their release from prison pending the hearing of the case in September.
By Olisemeka Obeche