Former Adamawa State Governor, Murtala Nyako, who was arraigned by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) alongside his son, Abdulazeez, a serving Senator, on charges bordering on money laundering, has accused the EFCC of “choosing to persecute rather than prosecute him.’’
Nyako, through his counsel, Mr Mohammed Bakari, stated this in a statement issued in Abuja on Wednesday, and made available to the street Journal.
The Nyakos were on July 10 granted bail alongside two other accused by Justice Gabriel Kolawole of the Federal High Court in the sum of N350 million each following their arraignment and plea of not guilty.
The former governor described the objection to his bail application by the EFCC lawyer, Rotimi Jacob, as “baseless, wicked and unfounded allegation.”
He noted that from Jacob’s claims, “it was obvious that the whole process was a stunt stage-managed by the leadership of the EFCC to achieve some public relations goal and probably anchor them on a pedestal that will impress the new leadership of the country”.
According to him, the most worrisome of all the allegations presented by the EFCC lawyer is the insinuation that the accused Nyakos had a hand in the death of two witnesses of the commission.
The ex-governor’s counsel explained that contrary to EFCC’s insinuation, two out of 31 witnesses on its list had died in hospitals after battling with certain known ailments.
“They neither died at the same time nor slumped and died as insinuated by the EFCC. While one died in a hospital in Abuja, the other died in a hospital in Yola, shortly after he returned from a complicated medical treatment abroad.
“It is, therefore, unfair, unjust and uncharitable to accuse Nyako and his son of the death of the two persons, who, as every human being, have a sure date with death,’’ Bakari said.
To this end, he said, Nyako had already decided to sue both the EFCC and their lawyer to court over defamation of his character.
Bakari further dismissed as blatant falsehood, EFCC’s allegation that Nyako’s son, Abdulazeez, jumped bail and returned to Nigeria after May 29.
“That is totally false and in fact malicious. The truth is that Abdulaziz was in Nigeria during the electioneering campaigns.
“He contested as a senator, went through the process of both security and party screening, campaigned for the election and was arrested by the EFCC in Gombe within the same period,’’ he said.
The statement added that Abdulaziz was brought to Abuja from Gombe, detained and was granted administrative bail with conditions to report daily which he complied.
Bakari also stated that out of the 37 count charges, many were “contradictory and repetitive’’ and often times spanning to December 2014, when as a matter of fact, Nyako was illegally removed from office in July 2014.
He, therefore, accused the EFCC leadership of “trying to persecute rather than prosecute’’ a few high profile personalities in order to avert falling victims of the broom of change sweeping across all facets of the country.
“When lawyers abandon the presentation of evidence and resort to dramatization and presentation of wild, malicious and false insinuations according to the statement, it means a desire to malign the accused.
“If there is any proof as to why the EFCC keep losing virtually all their cases, the manner of the prosecution of the Nyako case provides such proof abundantly.
“From the framing of the charges to the conduct of their lawyers in court, everything was wrong.
In conclusion, he said, it was quite obvious that the anti-graft agency’s goal was to prosecute Nyako, tarnish his image and give him a bad name in the eyes of the public, Bakari said.