The Southern Kaduna Coalition of Professionals (SKCOP) has faulted the detention of Andrew Yakubu, a former group managing director (GMD) of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC).
The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) detained Yakubu after allegedly recovering huge sums of money at his house in the Sabo Tasha area of Kaduna state.
Yakubu admitted ownership of the money, but claimed that they were gifts from unnamed persons.
In a statement on Thursday, Sagamu Jaspar, general secretary of SKCOP, wondered if there was a law which forbade anyone from keeping his earnings at home.
He alleged that some persons were plotting to pull down “our illustrious son and sacrifice him to the dogs” as a means of weakening the strong among us ahead 2019 general election.
“We are waiting to see if a court of law can establish that the said amount found in his home is a proceed of crime, or whether there is indeed a law that forbids anyone from keeping his earnings at home,” Jaspar said.
“We suspect that the deliberate negative publicity the EFCC is generating over his arrest and its failure to release him from their detention after meeting his bail conditions, is more vindictive and political than fighting corruption.
“We condemn the desperate attempts to rubbish Andy Yakubu, (the Iyan of Atyap Chiefdom) by those who think that a man from southern Kaduna has no business becoming the GMD of NNPC started right when he was in office.”
The group said some people were out to tarnish the reputation of the “only man from the middle belt” to have led the oil firm.
It added that in 2014 when Sanusi Lamido, former governor of Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) raised the allegation of missing $20 billion, the agency which audited the corporation which was led by Yakubu at the time, gave NNPC a clean bill of health.
“In 2014, the then CBN governor Sanusi Lamido Sanusi, raised a bogus alarm that under the watch of Andy Yakubu, $48.9 billion had gone missing at the NNPC. When pressed further, he said it was actually $20 billion. The senate took the matter very serious and instituted its own probe into the clearly silly allegation,” the group said.
“An audit firm of global repute, PriceWaterHouseCoopers was brought in by the federal government. After a forensic investigation, the firm said no such monies were ever missing.
“Still bent on disgracing the only person from the middle belt to ever occupy that position after rising from the ranks, Andy Yakubu was in UK in June last year, when the EFCC invited him. With his conscience clean and clear he arrived Nigeria just for the EFCC to clamp him in detention over an alleged criminality in an NNPC subsidiary, NPDC after Yakubu has left office.
Demanding his immediate release, Jaspar challenged the EFCC to parade all those whom the agency recovered money from.
He said failure to do so would confirm the allegation that the commission is “persecuting” the suspect.
“Keeping him in detention for almost two weeks despite the above is a means of psychologically tormenting him and for the public to prolong their odium on his person, without giving him a chance to state his own side of the story,” he said.
“If Andy Yakubu is not being persecuted because he comes from Southern Kaduna and the Middle Belt, we challenge the EFCC to also parade all the people it claims to have recovered humongous sums of money from. Failure to so would mean the agency is lying, or has two sets of law for two kinds of Nigerians.”