The immediate past Governor of Katsina State, Alhaji Ibrahim Shema, has been detained by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission as part of investigations into an alleged N76bn fraud. The EFCC had declared Shema wanted on Wednesday but the former governor maintained that he was not on the run. Subsequently, Shema arrived at the head office of the EFCC on Friday morning, after which he was grilled for over eight hours. However, as of 7.30pm on Friday, the ex-governor was still in the custody of the commission.In a statement by Shema’s spokesman, Oluwabusola Olawale, the former governor insisted that he voluntarily walked into the EFCC office. The statement read in part, “As further proof to the fact that the former Governor Shema is not in hiding as claimed by the EFCC, he voluntarily walked into the EFCC headquarters around 9.30 am on Friday, September 16, 2016.
“We have reiterated it on different occasions that former Governor Shema has nothing with fear and he is ever ready to defend himself but he should not be subjected to political and media trial. All he wants is fairness, justice and equity in accordance with the rule of law. Former Governor Shema left Katsina State as a debt-free state despite the massive infrastructural development during his eight-year tenure. The whole agenda is a campaign of calumny by Governor Aminu Bello Masari of the APC to pull Shema down because he feels too small to occupy the big shoes and meet the giant strides of Shema as his predecessor in office.”
Masari had accused Shema of financial impropriety and diversion of billions of naira. The governor had said he had “concrete evidence” to drag his predecessor before the anti-graft agency to recover all stolen funds. According to Masari, there are some mistakes that can be forgiven, “but N70bn is a huge amount of money that we cannot overlook.” The governor promised that all stolen public money would be retrieved to correct past mistakes and bring sanity into public service. He alleged that the former governor misappropriated over N76.6bn collected as excess crude oil allocation and diverted over N7.5bn for personal use. Masari also alleged that Shema and other top government officials of the Ministry of Local Government Affairs used fake documents to divert over N750m earmarked for the purchase of drugs for local government councils.