A rights group has asked a Federal High Court in Abuja to order investigation into the $5m bribe allegations leveled against the All Progressives Congress (APC) governor.
In an application filed at the Federal High Court, the Human and Environmental Development Agenda (HEDA) is seeking an order of mandamus to compel the Chief Justice of Nigeria “for a thorough investigation into the bribe scandal which dominated the social media late last year prompting an in-house investigation by the Kano State House of Assembly the outcome of which observers said was predetermined by the All APC dominated legislature.”
The HEDA statement went on: “For many months, the video dominated the social media leading to a deluge of condemnation from many Nigerians.
“An order granting leave to HEDA to apply for a judicial review to seek an order directing the Chief Justice of the Federation to investigate the allegations against Ganduje based on Section 52, of the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offenses Commission Act 2000 (as amended).”
The rights group said an independent counsel should be appointed to investigate the allegations against the Kano governor. HEDA said it earlier requested the CJN to investigate the matter via a letter of request which met official brick walls.
One Jaafar Jaafar, a journalist and publisher of Nigerian Daily, had published videos showing Ganduje collecting dollars in cash said to be in the range of $5m from an unnamed contractor.
The Kano State House of Assembly later set up a probe panel following public outcry and protest by a group, Lawyers for Sustainable Democracy. However, early in December last year, the State House of Assembly suspended the probe following a State High Court Order banning the House from investigating the allegations.
In a dramatic turn, the legislators suspended the probe due to the order from the State High Court. Ruling on an ex parte application filed by one Muhammad Zubair, national coordinator of the group, A.T Badamasi, a Judge, had asked the lawmakers to suspend the probe.
Baffa Dan-Agundi, chairman of the committee investigating the scam, said his members had received a court order to halt the probe.
“We have received a court order that we should stop investigating the video clips showing Governor Abdullahi Umar Ganduje, allegedly collecting bribe,” he said.
The court case is assigned to Justice Ojukwu, and comes up on March 21.