Zamfara state governor, Abdulaziz Yari, has debunked the allegations that he is building a $3m hotel in Lagos, from monies stolen from the Paris-London Club refunds.
In a statement signed by Abulrazque Barkindo, head, public affairs, Nigeria Governors’ Forum Secretariat, Yari said he did not have a plot of land, much less a hotel.
He described the allegations as “harmful, damaging and libelous insinuations which remain largely unsubstantiated.”
“Reports on Governor Abdulaziz Yari Abubakar of Zamfara state, and chairman of the Nigeria Governors’ Forum making the rounds that the ‘governor is building a $3m hotel from monies stolen from the Paris-London Club refunds to states’ give cause for worry,” the statement read.
“The reports contain harmful, damaging and libelous insinuations which remain largely unsubstantiated despite the fact that it attributes the leaks to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), officials in Lagos.
“Governor Abdulaziz Yari Abubakar has said emphatically that he does not even own a plot of land in Lagos not to talk of a hotel.
“But the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission officials in Lagos claimed as follows: that “they have found a hotel being constructed by Governor Yari of Zamfara state with $3m he stole from London-Paris Club loan refund to Nigerian states.
“That “apart from the $3million, Governor Yari also diverted N500 million from the Paris Club refund to pay off a loan”, an Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) source revealed to an online medium.
“The medium also added that EFCC officials in Lagos revealed that “overall the governor embezzled the sum of N2.2 billion from the N19billion set aside illegally to pay “consultants”, all of which are wrong, harmful, libellous and misleading disclosures.
“Governor Abdulaziz Yari is not building any hotel in Lagos nor were any monies stolen or embezzled from the Paris-London Club refunds to states or from any other source.”
He also accused the EFCC of feeding the media with lies, adding that it was perhaps the reason the agency lost most of its corruption cases.
“The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) was quoted extensively as source of that report and the Nigeria Governors’ Forum is alarmed that the EFCC continues to feed the media fibs at the expense of its hard-earned reputation as the anti- graft agency that Nigerians used to respect,” the statement read.
“This is perhaps why the EFCC has lost most of the high-profile corruption cases at the law courts after it had unfairly stage-managed media trials and caused their victims personal pain and public umbrage.
“This report, typical of most of the exclusive leaks that are becoming characteristic of the sources that court some sections of the media, lacks detail and compelling evidence to be fit to print.
“The sources were courageous enough to mention a hotel in Lekki area of Lagos but gave neither a street name nor any specific information on the property to give credibility to the allegations. This does no service to any investigation nor does it help the development of our country Nigeria.
“The media, we all know, is entitled to perform its duties as watchdog of society, which is enshrined in the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
“It is not, however, entitled to make unfair attacks, based on unfounded, false and unsubstantiated allegations against responsible public office holders.
“The media should support the EFCC in ensuring that convicting people on the pages of newspapers shouldn’t be the focus of the EFCC in its war against corruption.
“Instead, EFCC should channel its energies to a comprehensive, thorough and credible investigation that can stand the scrutiny of legal examination in court.”