The Nigeria Governors’ Forum has said it would engage in a “showdown” with the Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, Ibrahim Magu over probe into the recently-released Paris Club loan refunds to the states.
Chairman of the Nigeria Governors’ Forum, who is also the Governor of Zamfara State, Alhaji Abdulaziz Yari, stated this while speaking with some journalists in Abuja on Thursday.
Yari said this while reacting to allegations by the EFCC that he diverted the sums of N500m and $500,000 from the Paris Club refund.
The sums of money were said to have been recovered from two companies which were allegedly linked to Yari.
Yari however said the governors were tired of being harassed and intimidated by the anti-graft agency.
The chairman of the NGF stated, “I believe the EFCC does not have its own engineers to quantify, to know what is exactly on the ground. And a project that is done in Rivers State for N2m, in Zamfara it will be about N150,000.
“You cannot say the price of things in Rivers should be the same in Zamfara or somewhere else. The terrain is entirely different and the cost is different, so the risk as well is entirely different. So, all these are taken into consideration.
”If there is a project, which is suspected to be inflated, there are quantity surveyors. You can’t just, because somebody wrote a petition, then, you say you are working on it without doing your own due diligence.
“Then, why is the EFCC pursuing the governors? Get these people if you are really going to fight it. If you are ready for it, get anybody who did the wrong thing.’’
Yari said he would write to the Federal Government to report Magu and register the governors’ displeasure.
Yari added, “To me, I am going to write to the Federal Government that enough is enough; that either the EFCC should do its work or we should ‘do showdown’ with them (EFCC) because nobody became governor to be intimidated, to be harassed, to be abused by a DCP (Deputy Commissioner of Police, Magu).
“The problem with the EFCC is that it only wants Nigerians to know it has invited a governor or that one former governor is arrested.
“The commission will not tidy its work before going to court. It goes to court and lose all the cases because of the way it initiates the case; but never do so to achieve success.
“You can’t fight corruption that way and forever, they (EFCC) will not achieve anything.”
According to the Zamfara State governor, he does not know why the commission is after him.
Yari stated, “In the case of my humble self, I have no idea why the EFCC is actually interested in the issue of the London Paris Club refund.
“It has been on this since inception up till now. It has been repeating, contradicting so many things especially about personalities.
“So, if there is anything wrong there, it should approach the person whom it suspects did something wrong, and not to be making noise about it.
“I challenge the chairman of EFCC to open up and say if he has ever come to me and interviewed me about what happened.
“We didn’t commit any fraud. I am not a signatory to that account but I am the head. We have director-general, we have head of finance, we have other officers of finance.’’
Yari added, “So, it is what governors agree that I, as chairman, append my signature on. So now, they are saying $86m fraud, N19bn fraud, $3m hotel; which one do we believe?
“When it came to the issue of hotel, I challenge them that wherever they sighted a hotel in Lekki or anywhere, let them present it to the public and how did $2m get in there, through who, through which account? Who made the payment? Who is the owner of the property initially that took the money.
“Is the EFCC saying that before I became a governor, I didn’t have N150m? In my Code of Conduct papers, I have property and money worth billions.’’