|Ali Modu Sheriff|
A former governor of Borno State, Ali Modu Sheriff, is expected to appear before anti-graft agency, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, on Thursday.
PREMIUM TIMES learnt Tuesday that he has been summoned by the Commission and is expected to report at the agency’s Abuja head office to respond to questions bordering on allegations of “misappropriation, embezzlement of funds and abuse of office while he was governor”.
Multiple sources at the anti-graft agency told this newspaper that should Mr. Sheriff failed to show up as directed, he would be declared wanted and then arrested.
Our sources said detectives were already on his trail and watching his movement to prevent him from fleeing.
Although the specific allegations against the former governor is unclear at this time, this newspaper gathered that the investigation is related with allegations that parts of the N300billion his administration received from the Federation Account between 2003 and 2011 may not have been judiciously spent.
The investigation began in 2012 and had been ongoing ever since, our sources said.
Mr. Sheriff ruled Borno State on the platform of the defunct All Nigeria Peoples Party [ANPP].
Before then, he was senator between 1999 and 2003 on the ticket of the same party.
It remains unclear why Mr. Sheriff is being invited by the anti-graft agency at the tail end of an administration formed by his own party, PDP, which he joined only last year.
The spokesperson for the EFCC, Wilson Uwujaren, could not be reached to comment for this story. He did not answer or return calls. He also did not respond to a text message seeking comment.
Mr. Sheriff too could not be reached. His known mobile telephone was switched off for most of Tuesday and Wednesday. Multiple calls to his spokesperson, Inuwa Bwala, failed to connect.
The former governor, who has since fallen out with his successor, Kashim Shetttima, dumped the All Progressives Congress, which he helped formed in 2013.
Before leaving the APC, Mr. Sheriff clashed repeatedly with some leaders of the opposition party, including a former governor of Lagos State, Bola Tinubu, who he accused of harbouring dictatorial tendencies. On one occasion, Mr. Sheriff had a shouting match with Mr. Tinubu at a meeting.
Mr. Sheriff told journalists after meeting with President Goodluck Jonathan last year that his defection to the PDP was in Nigeria’s interest.
Apparently because of his romance with the ruling party, the PDP Federal Government rebuffed calls for his arrest and prosecution over his alleged link with Boko Haram.
Mr. Sheriff, alongside a former Chief of Army Staff, Azubuike Ihejirika, and an unnamed Central Bank of Nigeria official, was named by an Australian hostage negotiator, Stephen Davies, as sponsors of the dreaded terrorist group.
Messrs Sheriff and Ihejirika strongly denied the allegations, and Mr. Davies has so far failed to provide evidence of their culpability.
In September 2014, despite the allegation against Mr. Sheriff, which the State Security Service claimed it was investigating at the time, the former Borno governor was in President Jonathan’s company during an official visit to Chadian President, Idris Deby, to discuss how to combat insurgency in Nigeria.
The opposition APC and some civil society organisations slammed the president for hobnobbing with the ex-governor.
But in defence, the president, through his media adviser, Reuben Abati, accused the opposition and other critics of creating false impression that Mr. Sheriff was part of the president’s official delegation to Chad.