A High Court of the Federal Capital Territory sitting at Maitama, has approved an accelerated hearing of a suit seeking to compel the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) to arrest and prosecute the First Lady of Kano State, Dr. Hafsatu Abdullahi Ganduje, over her alleged role in the $5million bribery scandal involving her husband.
Backstory: The court, in a ruling by Justice Yusuf Halilu, ordered the EFCC, the Kano State government, and the All Progressives Congress (APC), all listed as 1st to 3rd Defendants, to show why all assets owned by and or traceable to governor Ganduje and his wife, should not be temporarily forfeited, pending the hearing and disposal of the suit.
The court also ordered the APC, through its National Working Committee, to show why it should not be directed to immediately remove and substitute governor Ganduje’s name as its candidate for the 2019 general election in Kano State.
The suit, lodged by a group known as Incorporated Trustees of Hope Development and Empowerment Foundation through its lawyer, Mr. Johnmary Jideobi, sought to have the EFCC temporarily seize all assets traceable to Ganduje and his wife, pending the determination of the suit. However, Justice Halilu declined the request.
What the group wants:
- A declaration from the court that “kick-back (bribe) taking [to the tune of $5, 000,000.00] by the governor as contained in a viral online video is a grave violation of Section 15(5) of the amended 1999 Constitution, Public Procurement Act, 2011 and Code of Conduct for Public Officers in Nigeria.”
- For the Kano first lady to be prosecuted as a co-conspirator in “the corrupt episode of kick-back (bribe) taking [to the tune of $5, 000,000.00] by the Governor as contained in a viral online video.”
- A “setting aside the submission of the name of the Governor of Kano State, Abdullahi Umar Ganduje, as the candidate of the 3rd Defendant in the 2019 governorship election holding in Kano State, Nigeria.”
Bottom Line: With the elections just over a month away and the governor having the option of appeals, it is unlikely that this case – if it goes in favor of the plaintiff – would make an impact in time for the polls. However, it is something that should be monitored.