Kaduna: Protesters Storm Government House, Want El-Rufai Arrested, Charged with Fraud

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* Allege Ogun politician, Jimi Lawal, almost killed state same way he killed a bank years ago

CHIGOZIE AMADI

Hundreds of protesters, under the umbrella of Kaduna Citizens Watch for Good Governance (KCWGG), yesterday, marched to Government House, Kaduna, demanding the investigation and prosecution of the immediate past governor, Nasir El-Rufai, for alleged corruption.
A report by an ad-hoc committee set up by the state House of Assembly to investigate loans, financial transactions, and contractual liabilities had indicted El-Rufai’s eight-year administration for allegedly siphoning N423 billion.

The report also alleged that most of the loans obtained under the El-Rufai government were not used for purposes for they were obtained, while in some cases due process was not followed in securing the loans.
The report recommended that the former governor and some other indicted members of his cabinet be investigated and prosecuted by the anti-corruption agencies for abuse of office.

El-Rufai had, however, dismissed the report, saying he served Kaduna with integrity and to the best of his capacity.
“This jaundiced probe should be disregarded as the politically motivated hatchet job it is,” the former governor said, in a statement.
But protesters, who walked from UTC Bus, along Ali Akilu Road, to Government House, carried placards and sang solidarity songs in support of the incumbent governor, Uba Sani.

They condemned the alleged financial mismanagement, abuse of power, and huge debt burden left by the El-Rufai administration.
Some of the inscriptions on the banners carried by the protesters read, “We will occupy all MDAs to chase out all indicted persons in the report”, “Stop servicing  loans that did not follow due process before they were obtained”, “Jimi Lawal almost killed Kaduna State the way he killed a bank some years ago”.
Addressing journalists at the Government House gate, chairman

of KCWGG, Victor Duniya, said Kaduna had endured financial mismanagement, abuse of power, and a huge debt burden in the past eight years.
Quoting the report of the ad-hoc committee, Duniya said, “The most troubling finding was the diversion of N10.5 billion meant for pastoral nomadism and the construction of the Milk Industry at Damau, Kubau LGA, for the construction of Galaxy Mall, Kaduna.
“Additionally, the report uncovered overpayments to contractors, payments to unregistered companies, and funds disbursed for work not completed, amounting to over N36.3 billion.

“The report also revealed large sums of money withdrawn from the state treasury without proper documentation of its usage. Furthermore, an expenditure of over 11 billion on a non-existent BRT transportation scheme was documented with no evidence to support it.”
He said rather than feeling remorseful, “El-Rufai, in his characteristic manner, gathered members of his well-fed family to Sallah feast where he tacitly called on them in Hausa Language to bring down the government of Senator Uba Sani, which we believe, it is as a result of the sin of allowing the legislative arm of government to work for the first time in over eight years.

“As concerned citizens, we condemn in the strongest terms possible the outright and merciless looting of our state, which has widened the poverty gap in the state by the immediate past administration.”
The group commended Sani “for holding on to the ideals of the democracy he worked for by not interfering in the activities of the Kaduna State” House of Assembly.

Duniya urged the governor to implement relevant sections of the report that fell under his purview.
He said, “We call on the governor to officially forward the findings of the committee report to relevant anti-corruption agencies to enable them to swing into action and recover our resources.”

Duniya was later invited into Government House to represent the protesters at a closed door meeting with Hadiza Balarabe, the deputy governor, and some top government officials.