Bauchi State Governor, Bala Mohammad, says the report of the Independent Corrupt Practices and other Related Offences Commission accusing him of abuse of office as the Minister of the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja, is a lie.
ICPC had on June 17 alleged that the land on which a school, Zinaria International School, located at Plot 298, Wuye District, Cadastral Zone B3, Abuja, now belonging to the governor and his family members, used to belong to the Federal Ministry of Agriculture.
But the governor in a statement by his Senior Special Assistant, Media Mukhtar Gidado, said, “We refute the Commission’s story in its entirety and state that Senator Bala Mohammed did not flout any policy or break any law known to the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria nor did he, in any way, breach his oath of office to warrant perniciously scandalizing his name or subjecting members of his family to mindless persecution as the ICPC is wilfully pushing.
“Zinaria International School was established and had been long operational, offering quality education, in a cost-effective manner, to all and sundry, long before Senator Bala Mohammed became Minister of the FCT.
“Like any other corporate entity, due to planned expansion, the School applied for land, a legitimate right it would have exercised, irrespective of whomsoever was the Minister of the FCT, at the time.”
Governor Mohammed said “it is patently preposterous and mischievous” for the ICPC to make an issue of the fact that he had something to do with the school.
He said as official records will clearly show, he had resigned from the School as soon as he was appointed a minister, stressing that the issue of conflict of interest could not have arisen.
The governor’s statement said, “It is crystal clear that the ICPC is on a voyage of discovery, aimed at discrediting Governor Bala Mohammed, at all cost.
“We can understand that the Governor’s sterling accomplishments under one year is causing sleepless nights to his traducers, people who, in spite of the oil windfall of the past, squandered the collective patrimony of the state on the altar of self-aggrandizement thereby placing the state on the lowest rungs of the developmental ladder.
“But we are hard put to understand the ICPC’s paranoid obsession with demonising Governor Bala Mohammed in breach of the Constitutional protection from prosecution.
“Otherwise, how on earth would the ICPC approbate and reprobate at the same time.
“The Commission rightly acknowledges that being a Governor, Senator Bala Mohammed, like all other Governors, is immune from prosecution.
“That being the case, why is the ICPC disobeying the Constitution?
“Why is the Constitutional watchdog chewing the bones of the Constitution through this flagrant disregard for one of the pillars of constitutional stability?
“In one breath, the Commission states that it had charged the matter to Court. In another breath, it claims that it has seized the property because it is the “proceed of crime.”
“Pray, from where does the Commission derive its powers to label the Governor a criminal?”
Meanwhile, the opposition All Progressive Congress in Bauchi State has called on Governor Mohammed to take the path of honour and resign for betraying the public trust by allocating the property belonging to the Federal Ministry of Agriculture to himself and family while serving as Minister of FCT, Abuja.
In a statement by Chairman and Secretary of APC Media and Publicity Committee in the state, Comrade Sabo Muhammad and Malam Saadu Umar, respectively, the party said, “We urge the members of the Bauchi State House of Assembly to be more proactive in their oversight duty and to hold the Governor to account.
“Honourable members need to immediately start a thorough investigation of all the contracts signed by Governor Mohammed on behalf of Bauchi State.
“Were the contracts for the public or for the interests of Governor Mohammed and his family and friends?”