Senator Shehu Sani

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) said Sen. Shehu Sani, who is being detained by the commission for alleged extortion, has a case to answer.

The commission made this known on Friday in a statement by its acting spokesman, Mr Tony Orilade.

Orilade debunked insinuations that the anti-craft agency was persecuting the former lawmaker.

Sani, he said, has a case to answer.

Orilade said those defending him were driven by ignorance of the alleged offence.

The EFCC’s statement came after a civil society organisation, Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP), reportedly demanded immediate release of Sani from the commission’s custody.

Shehu Sani and Sani Dauda – the accused and accuser

The Executive Director of SERAP, Mr Adetokunbo Mumuni, accused the EFCC of violating both national and international laws with the ex-lawmaker’s detention.

“The EFCC has taken note of insinuations and phantom claims that it is `persecuting’ Senator Sani, because he is a known critic of the President Muhammadu Buhari administration.

“The commission wishes to state that Senator Sani is currently facing criminal investigation, and being detained by the EFCC in very conducive environment, based on a valid court order.

“Invariably, claims in some quarters of the breach of his fundamental human rights, are merely in the imagination of the purveyors of such claims.

“Let it be stated clearly that Senator Sani has questions to answer as regards the alleged involvement in name-dropping.

“Particularly that he obtained $25,000 from Alhaji Sani Dauda, the ASD Motors boss, in order to help shield him from investigations being carried out by the EFCC,” it stated.

Sani, who represented Kaduna Central Senatorial District at the Senate on the People’s Redemption Party (PRP) platform between 2015 and 2019, is a strong critic of the Buhari administration.

The former lawmaker had also reportedly alleged that the Federal Government was trying to silence him using the EFCC.

“For certain people to brazenly come out to defend a suspect, who is being probed for a serious offence as the one committed by Sani shows that they are not really conversant with his offence.

“It is unfortunate that certain people are ready to do anything to support evil for pecuniary gains. This is quite unfortunate,” the EFCC said.

Sani’s reaction:

Sani said the allegation was, “baseless, factless, unfounded, hollow and unsubstantiated”

He alleged that his accuser Alhaji Sani Dauda was sponsored to “tarnish his reputation and mute him”

“It is a scripted stream of mischievous concoctions and utter fabrications using a puppet state agent; all aimed at splashing feaces and mud on me.

“The extortion allegation is nothing but a wholesale falsehood, packaged in a phantom anti-graft facade to taint, stain and mute me. That shall never happen if I am alive. “I have made my statement and provided all my facts against their package of lies and I demand the EFCC to make public all the sheets of our statements and supporting documents for the world to see.

“My detention is unfair, unjust, prearranged and politically motivated. “Alhaji Sani Dauda and his hidden sponsors have not been able to provide any proof of their allegations. I’m unjustly incarcerated on the ground of an arranged two page petition backed with no evidential or documentary proof.

“Fascism thrives in frame up of its critics. They claim extortion and here they are closing my bank accounts, searching my houses and offices and demanding I declare my assets of which I have already done that at the CCB last year when I left the senate.

“Frame up cannot silence me!!! I have never ever met with the CJN or any judge or judges or ever called directly or indirectly to offer to give or to give directly or indirectly any form of gratification from Alhaji Sani Dauda

“I have never ever discussed with ASD on any form of bribe or gratification to be given to any judge or any EFCC official.

“The bribe story is phantom, the bribe story is a fake, imaginative work of fiction, cruelly crafted to smear me, to frame me and to justify my persecution.

“The bribe story is a heap of blatant lies and outright falsehood concocted and fabricated, using a front and the EFCC to premiere a state drama “ASD is a barely educated front for a state mission. Criminalizing me or “framing me” will not silence me, bend me or compromise me.”