Godwin Tsa, Abuja
The immediate past governor of Zamfara State, Abdulazeez Yari, has blamed his current legal woes on powerful politicians with a vendetta against him over the 2019 elections in Zamfara State.
The former governor pointed to political events in the Zamfara All Progressives Congress (APC) that eventually led to the party losing power to the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) by the judgment of the Supreme Court.
Yari’s complaint is contained in an affidavit in support of his motion seeking to restrain the Attorney General of the Federation (AGF) and the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) from tampering with his assets and properties.
The court has summoned the respondents to appear before it on Friday and show cause why the prayers sought by the former governor will not be granted.
Justice Nkeonye Maha issued the summons after listening to an ex parte motion moved by counsel to Yari, Mahmud Magaji (SAN).
They are to come and show cause why they will not be restrained from, among other actions, freezing the bank accounts and or confiscating his immovable properties anywhere in Nigeria pending the hearing and determination of the substantive suit.
The motion ex parte marked FHC/ABJ/CS/948/2019 was brought pursuant to section 46(1) and (3) of the 1999 Constitution and order 4 rule 3 and 4 of the Fundamental Rights (Enforcement Procedure) Rules, 2009.
Justice Maha had equally ordered that the respondents be served with the court processes within 48 hours and adjourned further proceedings to Friday.
In the said affidavit, the former governor described the actions of the respondents against him as a politically-motivated to witch-hunt.
In the 17-paragraph affidavit in support of his motion, he further stated that “the 1st and 2nd respondents are determined on a follow up attack upon him and his family by the use of allegations of wrongdoing which had been concocted against him in 2019 as an excuse to arrest him and his wife and to arraign then on trumped up charges.”
The affidavit deposed to by Affis Matanmi traced the genesis of the case against Yari to the political events within the Zamfara state chapter of the APC that eventually led to the party losing out the leadership of the state to the PDP by the judgment of the Supreme Court.
It stated, “that after the decision of the Supreme Court, some aggrieved individuals who are very powerful decided to use agents of the 1st and 2nd respondents against the applicant.
“These individuals thus decided to carry out a vendetta and revenge against the applicant including instigating the respondents against the applicant upon their spurious conclusion without evidence that he was guilty of corrupt practices as former governor of Zamfara state and was in breach of the Code of Conduct Act.
“This witch-hunt is clearly politically motivated, baseless and has been designed only to discredit and humiliate the applicant in a bid to decimate him politically.
“That the agents of the 2nd respondents invaded the applicant private residence without court order in Talata Marafa, off Sokoto road, Zamfara state and nothing incriminating was ever found against the applicant despite the several investigations carried out by the respondents.”
Magaji further informed the court that his client’s residence in Talafa Marafa, off Sokoto road, Zamfara State, was on August 5, 2019 invaded by the EFCC for five hours without any court order in its bid to effect his arrest.
That during the said invasion, “agents forcefully did not allow the family members of the applicant who was away in Saudi Arabia for Haji, to go out and come in from the residence.
“That the action of the EFCC has made it impossible for applicant to exercise his right or his freedom of movement without fear of being arrested and intimidated by the Commission.”
Yari has further stated that he has dully declared all his assets in accordance with the Code of Conduct for public officers prior to assuming office as a governor, and that he has not committed any offence to warrant the threats of seizure of his assets and properties most of which were acquired even before he became governor of the state.
In the motion ex parte dated and filed August 20, 2019, the former governor is seeking among other things, “an order of interim injunction restraining the respondents from seizing, impounding, taking over, confiscating or otherwise forfeiting his assets and properties wherever they may be located within Nigeria or anywhere in the world pending the hearing and determination of the motion on notice.
“An order of interim injunction restraining the respondents from unlawfully interfering with his rights to sections 34, 35, 41 and 43 of the 1999 constitution until the hearing and determination of the substantive suit.
“An order of interim injunction restraining the agents of the respondents from freezing his bank accounts in Nigeria and or confiscating his immovable properties anywhere in Nigeria pending the hearing and determination of the substantive suit.”