The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), acting on the orders of a Borno State lawmaker, Muktari Betera, has charged Abdullahi Yusuf, a Senior Special Assistant to Governor Babagana Zulum, before a Federal High Court over his Facebook post.
According to the court document seen by SaharaReporters, Abdullahi was charged for breaching the provisions of the Economic and Financial Crimes Act 2004.
SaharaReporters had on Friday reported that EFCC operatives acting on Betera’s orders arrested and detained Yusuf.
Betera who represents Biu/Bayo/Shani federal constituency is the Chairman, House of Representatives Committee on Appropriation.
Meanwhile, the court document reads, “Count 1 That you ABDULLAHI YUSUF (S.A. to the Executive Governor of Borno State on Project documentation) on or before the 30th day of May, 2022 at Maiduguri, Borno State within the jurisdiction of this Honourable Court, did commit an offence by giving false information with respect for an ongoing investigation by Economic and Financial Cimes Commission (EFCC) in your official capacity as S.A. to the Governor when you stated on your Facebook page “Abdullahi Yusuf” to wit: “rumor has it that a prominent Federal lawmaker from Borno may be involved in the N80billion Money Laundering and Diversion Saga by the arrested Accountant General of the Federation, Alhaji Ahmad ldris and thereby committed an offence contrary to Section 16(0) of the Economic and Financial Crimes (EStablishment Act, 2004 and Money Punishable under Section 16(2) of the same Act.
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“COUNT 2 That you ABDULLAHI YUSUF on or about the 30th day of May, 2022 at Maiduguri, Borno State within the jurisdiction of this Honourable Court, with intent to cause injury to the reputation of Muktar Betara, Member, House of Representative of Federal Republic of Nigeria representing Biu, Bayo and shani Federal Constituency Borno State sent a message through Facebook…”
Sources had told SaharaReporters that Abdullahi was detained on Tuesday evening after he honoured an invitation by the head of the EFCC zonal office in Maiduguri.
He had on May 29 in a Facebook post alleged that a Borno politician may be involved in the fraud involving the suspended Accountant-General of the Federation, Ahmed Idris.
“Breaking News: Rumour has it that a prominent federal lawmaker from Borno may be involved in the 80 billion naira money laundering and diversion saga by the arrested accountant general of the federation Alhaji Ahmad Idris,” the Borno governor’s aide posted on Facebook.
Despite not mentioning any name, sources said loyalists of Betera went under the post, alleging he was referring to the lawmaker, with many of them threatening him.
“After the post, Abdullahi started receiving different phone calls from many politicians loyal to Mr Betera, including some members of the National Assembly demanding that he should delete the post,” one of his friends told SaharaReporters.
“On May 30, he went on his Facebook page to provide more clarification on this issue. He apologised and said he didn’t mention any name but some supporters of one particular lawmaker started raining all sorts of insults and threats on him. He said he just posted it because it was a trending issue.
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“While the saga was going on, another call was made to Abdullahi, this time, from the Head of EFCC Zonal Office, Maiduguri who asked that he was inviting him to the office. Abdullahi told him then that he was at Biu Local Government Area and could not make it on the day of the invitation. He however pleaded that he would come the next day by 2 pm which the zonal head agreed.
“On arrival, the zonal head said he invited Abdullahi to provide more explanation on his statement which he made on Facebook but Abdullahi insisted that his comment was an harmless post which was only misinterpreted by many persons who think he was referring to Betera.
“We heard it from a reliable source in the EFCC that Muktari Betara has concluded plans to deal with Abdullahi Yusuf using some of his friends in the agency, using his influence as the Chairman of Appropriation in the National Assembly.
“We believe also that the Chairman of the EFCC has nothing to do with this and we want him to use his good office to intervene on this matter as this is a clear case of a witch-hunt.”