Governor Sule Lamido of Jigawa State
Operatives of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) Wednesday arrested Aminu Lamido, the eldest son of the Jigawa State Governor, Alhaji Sule Lamido over money laundering allegations.
He was arrested at the Aminu Kano International Airport at about 12.30 am on his way to Cairo, Egypt.
Lamido was arrested during preliminary security checks as he prepared to board an Egypt Air flight to Cairo following the discovery that he was carrying about 400 per cent more money than he had disclosed to the Nigerian Customs.
An authoritative source within the EFCC told THISDAY that whereas the governor’s son allegedly declared $10,000 in his possession to the Nigerian Customs at the airport, a physical search by operatives of the commission found he had tucked away another $40,000, totalling $50,000.
“The young man claimed to the Customs he was carrying $10, 000. But physical inquiries by men of the EFCC found he was in possession of $50,000 instead,” the source disclosed.
The source also disclosed that statements made by him on the purpose of his visit were contradictory as he gave conflicting information to the Nigeria Customs Service and the EFCC.
“Whilst Aminu told the Customs that he was going to Cairo for vacation, in his statement to EFCC he claimed he was going for medical treatment,” he stated.
As a result of the contradiction in his statements, THISDAY learnt the commission is still investigating to establish his real mission to Cairo. It was learnt that Lamido may be arraigned on December 18, 2012 or an earlier date.
Last Monday, the Chairman of EFCC, Mr. Ibrahim Lamorde, revealed that about N15.5 billion had been intercepted at the county’s airports this year.
Lamorde who spoke at the 2012 International Anti-Corruption Day celebrations with the theme “ACT…Help Detect Corruption Risks Today” organised by the Inter – Agency Task Team (IATT) made up of anti-corruption agencies, said the amount represented physical and illegitimate cash attempted to be taken out through the nation’s airports.
According to him, “N14 billion that was to be couriered out was intercepted at the nation’s airports between January and August while the operation of a Special Task Team which is a joint patrol of the airport by the EFCC operatives and Nigerian Customs officers which commenced in September 2012, had yielded the arrest of illegal cash courier with over $9 million.”
He said the illegal transfer was the evidence of corruption and sheer greed, callousness and meanness of the people involved, citing the example of an individual, who was arrested “for laundering money in cash to the tune of $7 million in brief case and flying out of the country through the airport.
“Corruption is one of the reasons Nigeria has not been able to make progress, socially, politically and economically and we have all agreed that corruption cannot be sustained in Nigeria, all of us must come together to fight corruption,” Lamorde stated.
He called for increased funding of the anti-corruption agencies and for their enabling laws to be reviewed.
He explained that between January and December 2012, the commission had filed about 353 cases at various courts across the country and had recorded about 53 convictions so far.
“Criminal procedure rather than the judiciary should be blamed for the problem of slow pace of trial of corruption cases. Somebody cannot steal from you and expect that the law should protect him against you the victim of his crime. Something has to be done. I pray that the new leadership of the judiciary will be able to do something,” he said.
He also called for the establishment of a special court to take on corruption cases in Nigeria.
“Judges are either transferred or the witnesses dead. It is not fair on the anti-corruption agencies to say they are delaying cases. Let cases not last forever. If you think there is no case, please discharge the person but where the person has a case to answer, the case should be concluded in good time,” he said.
Following the arrest of Lamido’ s son, Nasiru Garba Dantiye, an All Nigeria People’ s Party (ANPP) leader in the state has called on the EFCC to extend its dragnet to the officials of the state government.
Dantiye, a former House of Representatives member from Garki/Babura constituency said he was not surprised by the arrest of the governor’s son.
He alleged it was not the first time Lamido’s son would have a case with the EFCC, adding that the first case was frustrated by some top officials.
“Lamido’s second son was arrested in 2010 when the governor vehemently opposed President Goodluck Jonathan’s aspiration only to later throw his weight behind the president.
“And now Lamido who is known to be warming up for the presidential seat has found his family member in EFCC’s net, it may also be another strategy to cow him against that ambition,” he declared.
He also claimed that it was common knowledge in the state that the governor’s children were involved in many projects that have been executed since 2007.
The Spokesman of the EFCC, Mr. Wilson Uwujaren confirmed the arrest, adding that the operatives of the commission successfully arrested him at the airport.
Uwujaren explained that the operatives would charge the suspect to court immediately after the conclusion of the investigation.
An investigation revealed that Aminu has been transferred to EFCC’s custody, while the commission is preparing for his arraignment.