By Nasiru Muhammad
A Kano State High Court has ruled in favour of the state governor, Dr. Abdullahi Umar Ganduje that the state House of Assembly has no legal right to investigate an allegation of bribery against the governor.
Giving the judgement yesterday, the presiding judge, Honourable Justice A. T. Badamasi said under the 1999 Constitution, the Assembly has no legal backing to investigate an allegation of collecting bribery by the governor.
He said the Assembly can only investigate crime or ask a competent body like the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), the police, the Independent Corrupt Practices (and other related offences) Commission (ICPC) to do the job, and not by forming a seven-man committee as it did.
Meanwhile, Hon. Badamasi has explained that the plaintiff, Barrister Muhammad Zubair, did the right thing by going to the court for explanation of the matter.
“That is what is supposed to be done by any well-meaning Nigerian, that any time an individual sees any infringement of the law, he should go to the appropriate body for interpretation,” Badamasi added.
It could be recalled that Barrister Zubair had earlier filed for interpretation of the law when the State House of Assembly formed a seven-man committee headed by Hon. Baffa Babba Dan Agundi to investigate the allegation of collecting the bribe of $5million by Governor Ganduje.
Early last month, Governor Ganduje had appeared before the House Committee investigating the matter where he told members of the Committee that the allegation levelled against him was injurious, false, designed purposely to tarnish his long established good reputation, reduce his popularity for some political opponents to take an advantage in the forthcoming general election.
The governor added that the same publisher had sometimes ago did similar allegations against former Governor Malam Ibrahim Shekarau and Emir of Kano, Malam Muhammadu Sanusi II which were later found to be false.
The governor, who was represented by the State Commissioner of Information, Malam Muhammad Garba during the House Committee’s sitting for the investigation, categorically denied collecting the bribe from contractors as alleged by the medium.
“That His Excellency, the governor of Kano State did not collect, has not collected and will never collect bribe from whosoever and for whatever purposes,” he reassured.
However, in the same month, after the court had stopped the Committee from continuing with the investigation, its Chairman, the House Majority Leader, Hon. Baffa Babbb Dan’Agundi held a press briefing revealing that they would respect the court order which urged the House to maintain the status-quo.