N423bn Misappropriation: Protesters Demand El-Ruai’s Prosecution

Protesters on Thursday stormed Kaduna Government House asking Governor Uba Sani to invite the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission and other relevant security agencies to arrest and prosecute his predecessor, Nasir El-rufai, over an indictment of N423 billion.

The protesters in huge numbers under the aegis of Kaduna Citizens Watch for Good Governance trekked from the popular UTC bust stop along Sokoto Road to the main entrance into Sir Kashim Ibrahim Government House, Kaduna in the state capital.

They carried placards with inscriptions such as “We will occupy all MDAs to chase out all indicted persons in the report,” “Stop servicing all loans that did not follow due process before they were obtained,” “Jimi Lawal almost killed Kaduna State the way he killed a bank some years ago,” among others.

Our correspondent reported that an ad hoc committee set up by the Kaduna State House of Assembly to investigate all finances, loans, and contracts awarded under the former governor submitted its report to the House on Wednesday.

The committee indicated the former governor, saying most of the loans obtained under El-Rufai’s administration between 2015 and 2023 were not used for the purpose for which they were obtained.

The committee led by Henry Zacharia, who is also the Deputy Speaker of the House, recommended the prosecution of El-Rufai, and some other indicted members of his cabinet by security and anti-corruption agencies for abuse of office and money laundering while in office as well as plaguing Kaduna State into heavy debt.

The probe by the state Assembly was necessitated following the lamentation of the incumbent governor that El-Rufai left him a huge debt profile.

Sani, who spoke during a town hall meeting in Kaduna, said he inherited a lean treasury, adding that he could not pay workers’ salaries.

Sani said, “Despite the huge debt burden of N587m, N85bn, and N115bn contractual liabilities sadly inherited from the previous administration, we remain resolute in steering Kaduna State towards progress and sustainable development.

“We have conducted a thorough assessment of our situation and are sharpening our focus accordingly.”

The revelation by Sani had generated reactions from several quarters, including El-Rufai’s son, Bashir, who took to his social media handle and accused his father’s successor of shying away from his responsibility.”

The Leader of the protesters, Comrade Victor Duniya, while addressing newsmen shortly after arriving at the Sir Kashim Ibrahim Government House, called on the state governor to implement relevant sections of the House of Assembly ad-hoc committee report on El-Rufai and other indicted that fell under his purview.

He also called on the governor to officially forward the findings of the House Committee report to the EFCC and other relevant agencies to commence the process of recovering the N423 billion allegedly misappropriated by the immediate governor and others indicted.

He commended the governor for his non-interference in the probe and lauded the ad-hoc committee of the state assembly for a thorough job.

Duniya said, “We commend the Kaduna State House of Assembly for the thorough work done in unravelling the financial atrocities committed against our state, despite blackmail and threats from the beneficiaries of the financial heist.

“We call on Governor Uba Sani to implement relevant sections of the report that fall under his purview. We call on the governor to officially forward the findings of the committee report to relevant anti-corruption agencies to enable them to swing into action and recover our resources at their disposal.

“We assure you of our maximum support as we are aware that those who ought to be behind bars for looting our state now have the effrontery to dish out threats to the people-centred leadership of our dear state. We call on Security Agencies to immediately arrest and prosecute former governor Nasir El-Rufai and those he has incited to bring down the government of Senator Uba Sani.”

Meanwhile, Duniya was later received on behalf of the protesters by the Deputy Governor, Hajiya Hadiza Balarabe, Secretary to the State Government, Abdulkadir Meyere, Deputy Chief of Staff, Umar Hassan Waziri, Private Personal Secretary, Prof. Bello Ayuba, among others.

The government officials appreciated the group’s peaceful protest and assured them that their message would be forwarded to the governor.