A High Court sitting in Yola, the Adamawa State capital, has ruled that the former governor of Adamawa State, James Ngilari, be remanded in the custody of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission.
A statement by the EFCC’s spokesman for the Gombe Zonal office, Gbenga Aroyehun, which was made available to newsmen in Bauchi, said that Justice Nathan Musa of the Adamawa State High Court, presided over the court sitting which sat in Yola on Wednesday.
He said the EFCC had charged Ngilari for the violation of procurement laws in the award of a N167m contract to one El-Yadi Motors Limited for the supply of 25 units of Toyota Corolla.
Aroyehun said the anti-graft agency had instituted a 19 count-charge against Ngilari, the former secretary to the state government who served under him, Ibrahim Welye, and a former Commissioner of Finance and Budget, Sanda Jonathan Lamurde.
“The three pleaded not guilty and their lawyers applied for bail on their behalf which the prosecution opposed.”
The commission’s spokesman also said that “the court ruled that they should be remanded in custody while he adjourned until today (Thursday) for ruling on bail application.”
Ngilari was still in the custody of the EFCC as of the time (6.25pm) of filing this report.
Meanwhile, the Media Initiative against Injustice, Violence and Corruption, has called on the EFCC to revisit the corruption cases against former state governors.
The Executive Director of MIIVOC, Dr. Walter Duru, said it was shocking to note that more than 12 years after some former governors were accused of misappropriating their states’ funds, their cases appeared to have been swept under the carpet.
Duru, who made reference to the cases against former governors of Abia, Rivers, Plateau, Enugu and Akwa Ibom states, said it was unacceptable for the cases to remain in the file without the EFCC reopening them.
Duru, who spoke with one of our correspondents in Port Harcourt on Wednesday, expressed the need for the Attorney General of the Federation and the Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami, to order the EFCC to revisit the said cases.
Explaining that the anti-corruption fight of the current administration should not exclude the former governors from probe, he lamented that the amount of funds in the hands of the former public office holders was up to a trillion naira.
He pointed out that the money allegedly stolen by the ex-state governors was enough to revive the country’s ailing economy if they could be recovered and added to what the Federal Government had in its coffers.
“The silence on the corruption cases against these former governors is unacceptable. The anti-corruption agency should go a step further in ensuring that the cases against these governors were followed up to a logical conclusion.
“The money allegedly stolen by some of the former governors is huge. It is strange to hear people suggesting that our refineries and the Nigerian Liquefied Natural Gas company should be sold because of the current economic recession as if Nigerians have not suffered enough.
“The monies alleged to have been stolen, if recovered and added to what we have, are enough to take us out of recession. We have no reason whatsoever to borrow.
“Every Nigerian must rise up to fight corruption in the interest of the nation and the future of our unborn children,” Duru maintained.
The group’s executive director, however, called on the attorney general of the federation to ensure that those responsible for stalling the prosecution of the cases against the former governors were punished.