Nigerian governor faces probe over bribery claims

By Rafiu Ajakaye

LAGOS, Nigeria (AA) – A Nigerian state parliament on Monday formed a committee to probe the authenticity of videos that showed a Nigerian governor allegedly receiving bribes in hard currencies from persons suspected to be contractors.

Umar Ganduje, the governor of northwest Kano state elected on the platform of President Muhammadu Buhari’s All Progressive Congress, was shown in at least two footages allegedly collecting bribes in his office.

The governor has denied any wrongdoing, insisting he was being framed by the opposition. Ganduje has also threatened a lawsuit against the Daily Nigerian, a local online newspaper that published the video.

His media office said the video had been “cloned” to smear Ganduje.

But the state parliament launched an independent probe into the scandal on Monday, calling the development “a stain” on the institutions of the government.

Labaran Madari, a Kano lawmaker, raised a motion on Monday calling on the assembly to investigate the authenticity of the video and take necessary actions — a call seconded by another lawmaker Baffa Dan’Agundi.

Assembly speaker Alhassan Rurum later announced a seven-member committee to investigate the matter.

Ganduje, as a governor, is currently immune from criminal prosecution under the Nigerian law. He may however face the law after serving out his term — provided the assembly does not remove him from office.

The scandal has ratcheted up pressure on the Buhari administration whose anti-corruption campaign would again be tested by the development.