Nigeria’s anti-corruption agency, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), has arrested and charged Abdullahi Yusuf, a Senior Special Assistant to Governor Babagana Zulum, before a Federal High Court over a Facebook post he made.
Abdullahi was arrested and charged to court, allegedly on the orders of a Borno State lawmaker, Muktari Betera who represents Biu/Bayo/Shani federal constituency and is the Chairman, House of Representatives Committee on Appropriation.
The charge sheet 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 Crimes 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.
“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…”
Abdullahi had on May 30, 2022 honoured the EFCC invitation by reporting at its Zonal Office in Maiduguri consequent upon which he was detained.
He had on a May 29 post on a Facebook alleged that a Borno politician may be involved in the fraud involving a suspended Accountant-General of the Federation, Mr. Ahmed Idris but did not name anybody. After the post, he received several phone calls asking him to delete the post. On May 30, he provided clarification on the post and pointed out that he didn’t mention any name in his post.
Thereafter, he received a call from the Head of EFCC Maiduguri Zonal Office, who invited Abdullahi to his office. When he arrived the EFCC office, he was asked to provide more explanation on his statement which he made on Facebook. He reportedly explained that he picked the post randomly from Facebook and flagged it as a rumour being made by others but which was misinterpreted.
He was however detained and thereafter charged to court.