Rights Groups Outraged By Andy Yakubu's Detention, Demand His Immediate Release
Rights groups in Abuja and Kaduna have condemned the continued detention of former Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) GMD, Andrew Yakubu in a series of statements released Thursday after the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) took him into custody on February 8.
They declared their solidarity with the detained Chemical Engineer and called on the anti-corruption agency to release him immediately.
The EFCC allegedly recovered huge sums of money at his house in the Sabo Tasha area of Kaduna state a little over a week ago.
The groups include Advocates for Human Rights in Nigeria, AHRN, and The Southern Kaduna Coalition of Professionals (SKCOP)
AHRN says it “condemns the continued detention of Engr Andrew Yakubu and the serious violation of his human rights.” The group adds, “this arrest is reflective of an ongoing practice of harassment, arrest and incarceration of citizens unlawfully."
“The continued detention of Engr Yakubu today is yet another nail in the coffin for freedom in Nigeria. He is not a flight risk, he was out of the country when the alleged raid took place. As a responsible citizen, he flew back to meet with the anti-corruption agency and the court has since seized the funds temporarily, so why is he still in detention ? He should be released and charged to court, said Mr Lakun Anifowoshe, director of AHRN.
“If Andy Yakubu is not being persecuted because he comes from Southern Kaduna and the Middle Belt, we challenge the EFCC to also parade all the people it claims to have recovered humongous sums of money from. Failure to so would mean the agency is lying, or has two sets of law for two kinds of Nigerians, said Sagamu Jaspar, general secretary of the Southern Kaduna Coalition of Professionals,SKCOP.
Jaspar, wondered if there was a law which forbade anyone from keeping his earnings at home.
“We are waiting to see if a court of law can establish that the said amount found in his home is a proceed of crime, or whether there is indeed a law that forbids anyone from keeping his earnings at home,” Jaspar said.
He alleged that some persons were plotting to pull down “our illustrious son and sacrifice him to the dogs” as a means of weakening the strong among us ahead of the 2019 general election.
The group said some people were out to tarnish the reputation of the “only man from the middle belt” to have led the oil firm.
It added that in 2014 when Sanusi Lamido, former governor of Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) raised the allegation of missing $20 billion, the agency which audited the corporation which was led by Yakubu at the time, gave NNPC a clean bill of health.
“In 2014, the then CBN governor Sanusi Lamido Sanusi, raised a bogus alarm that under the watch of Andy Yakubu, $48.9 billion had gone missing at the NNPC. When pressed further, he said it was actually $20 billion. The senate took the matter very serious and instituted its own probe into the clearly silly allegation,” the group said.
“An audit firm of global repute, PriceWaterHouseCoopers was brought in by the federal government. After a forensic investigation, the firm said no such monies were ever missing.
“Still bent on disgracing the only person from the middle belt to ever occupy that position after rising from the ranks, Andy Yakubu was in UK in June last year, when the EFCC invited him. With his conscience clean and clear he arrived Nigeria just for the EFCC to clamp him in detention over an alleged criminality in an NNPC subsidiary, NPDC after Yakubu has left office.
“We suspect that the deliberate negative publicity the EFCC is generating over his arrest and its failure to release him from their detention after meeting his bail conditions, is more vindictive and political than fighting corruption.
“We condemn the desperate attempts to rubbish the Iyan of Atyap Chiefdom by those who think that a man from southern Kaduna has no business becoming the GMD of NNPC."
The fact that he has not been allowed to state his own side of the story only heightens the outrage, the AHRN director said.