•PDP supporters clash with security agents
From Desmond Mgboh and Agaju Madugba, Katsina
Immediate past governor of Katsina State, Ibrahim Shehu Shema, broke down in tears, yesterday, at the premises of the state High Court, following his re-arrest by officials of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).
His aide, however, insisted the former governor was not arrested.
The court had, during its sitting on January 10, 2017, fixed yesterday to hear arguments of Shema’s lead counsel, Joseph Daudu (SAN) and EFCC counsel, Jibril Samuel Okutepa, over its competence to entertain the commission’s decision to arraign Shema before it.
While the EFCC insisted, yesterday, that the court has jurisdiction, Daudu said Shema ought to have been arraigned before a Federal High Court and not a state High Court.
The court, however, fixed February 21 to rule on the matter and asked Shema to report on the next adjournment date.
Thereafter, there was mild drama in the court room as Daudu returned moments later and urged the Justice Ibrahim Maikaita Bello to protect his client because there was a move by the EFCC to arrest Shema.
However, apparently resolved to arrest Shema, EFCC officials blocked the former governor’s black Lexus sports utility vehicle, a development which led to a face-off between security operatives and Shema’s legal counsels and aides which lasted over 40 minutes at the gate of the court on Daura Road.
When it became obvious he could not evade the arrest, Shema broke down in tears and reportedly begged the EFCC officials to allow him ride in his vehicle.
During the court’s sitting of January 10, the EFCC had urged the court to order the remand of Shema in prison custody but the judge ruled that he could not give such order since the charges had not been formally read in court and Shema’s plea taken.
Reacting to the reported arrest yesterday, Shema’s media spokesman, Wale Oluwabusola, said EFCC did not arrest Shema but noted that he could not say precisely where his boss was taken to.
“Shema was not arrested but, I can tell you that the government of Katsina State is trying to use security agents to harass and intimidate the former governor.”
Aggrieved by the development, Shema’s supporters made failed attempts at penetrating the court premises but were eventually dispersed by security agents who fired teargas at them.
Chanting various pro-Shema slogans, they hauled missiles, including stone pellets and sachets of water at security officials manning the court’s main gate.
Although the court is yet to hear the charges which the EFCC has against Shema, his arraignment may not be unconnected with allegations by the Governor Aminu Bello Masari’s administration that the former governor diverted about N70 billion belonging to the state government while he was in office.
Meanwhile, Masari, yesterday, reflected on Shema’s trial oand said his experience should serve as candid lesson to those who are presently in leadership positions.
He made the remark in his office, during an interview with some journalists, who sought his response on the development at the Katsina High Court.
“I think what happened, today, with the former governor should serve as a lesson for us who are in office today.
“The same people who were clearing roads for him to pass, yesterday, are the same people who blocked the road against him. So ,I think that it is a lesson for leadership,” said Masari
He reiterated that Shema’s travails was not something to be happy or laugh about, but a lesson for those in leadership in Nigeria.
He said also that his experience should teach us (as leaders) to listen to voices of wisdom, especially the voices of those outside the government” adding that “this is because they stand a better chance of giving us a much more frank advice”
He counseled leaders in Nigeria to draw a line which they must not cross or descend to in the discharge of their mandate to the people even as he regretted that today, there were more of rulers than leaders in the country.