Temporary relief came the way of the embattled former Speaker of the House of Representatives Honourable Dimeji Bankole and his deputy, Usman Bayero Nafada today as they were granted bail by Justice Sulaiman Belgore of the Federal High Court, Abuja. Both former principal officers of Nigeria’s lower legislature were granted bail in the sum of N 50 million each with two sureties each in like sum. The court also ordered that the sureties must be civil servants who must not be below the status of a Permanent Secretary and must be resident in the Federal Capital Territory.
Some members of the political class have reacted that “nothing will come out of the charade called the prosecution of the duo of Bankole and Nafada.” The reason given by those in this school of thought is that both men have been accused of obtaining loans totaling about N 40 billion. “Since it has been made clear that the loan was shared by all members of the House, it means the remaining 358 of them should be joined in the suit” a source concluded. Moreover, in spite of the EFCC’s long list of prosecutions, only a few convictions have been recorded.
Another observer opined that the case might not lead anywhere especially “if they are able to prove that the computers and printers, the prices of which were allegedly inflated were bought and duly receipted.“ The observer went further that “after all neither the former Speaker nor his deputy went to the market personally to buy the items.”
In some quarters, it is believed that the bail only came because Honourable Nafada was involved. Those holding this belief hinged it on the fact that Hon. Nafada is more or less like an in-law to the EFCC Chairman. Nafada and Ambassador Ajuju Waziri, Faridah’s husband both hail from Gombe State and in political circles, Nafada is often referred to as Faridah Waziri’s in-law.
Another school of thought holds fast to the opinion that Bankole wouldn’t have been in trouble if not for his statement to the American Ambassador sometime ago. The whistle blowing website, Wikileaks had published a cable in which Hon. Bankole said the EFCC was “not worth a penny”. In the leaked cable, he also criticized Mrs. Waziri and her approach to the war against corruption which he reportedly described as “insincere.”