From the manger of made-in-Nigeria Sharia came news a couple of weeks ago that some elites in that State have written a petition to the House of Assembly to protest the revocation of land allocated to them by the previous State government.
You see, in 2007, former governor of Zamfara State, Mahmuda Shinkafi, in the throes of happiness and gratitude allocated some plots of land – fifty six plots, to be precise – along Bukkuyum Road to some of his high calibre backers and supporters following his electoral victory. Those plots of land had been procured a couple of years before from the family of former Sultan Ibrahim Dasuki. The Zamfara State government paid N17.6million. N17.6million for 56 plots of land? Whoa! Now, that’s a real bargain!
Anyway, 2011 rolled around and Shinkafi was out of a job. But his elite supporters weren’t too unhappy; most of them have erected good-looking residential houses on the land allocated to them. Their own dividend of democracy.
The latest governor, Abdulaziz Yari took one look at the situation, felt suitably aggrieved and revoked everybody’s allocation. He wants the plots of land back. He said most of the owners don’t even have formal documentation of ownership but that they are all loyalists of Shinkafi. However, the current land owners and occupants are not having it and are spoiling for a good fight. The State government has decided to pay off the owners and has therefore constituted a committee to determine how much it would pay each person. Oh, and guess how much most of those people paid for each plot? Yes, you guessed right; absolutely nothing.
But that wasn’t all Shinkafi did during his one term as governor. He is facing possible indictment for embezzling N1.2billion. According to Yari, Shinkafi simply took that money from the State coffers as ‘Consultancy Fee’ for a planned international cargo airport and a petroleum refinery. Whilst at it, he was also alleged to have helped himself to another N800million which he claimed was ‘Mobilisation Fee’ to an unidentified company for the same refinery project. Meanwhile, no airport, no refinery.
Shinkafi was so ahead of the game and so nimble that he did not hang around and did not attend the formal handing-over ceremony to the new governor. Instead, he was represented by the former Secretary to the State Government, Mamman Gusau. In a prepared statement read on his behalf, Shinkafi merely asked the people of the State to forgive him any wrong-doings.
But who was it that started the ball rolling on the amazing cosy land arrangement? The one and only surrogate mother of made-in-Nigeria Sharia, Ahmed Sani Yerima. It was Yerima who somehow pulled off paying N17.6 million for 56 plots of land in 2005 and kept it in reserve for himself before a new governor decided to take it off him and shared it off among his own backers.
It should be recalled that before he left office as governor, the Economic & Financial Crime Commission (EFCC) formally charged Yerima with corruption for looting Zamfara’s treasury of billions of Naira. Out of the many charges levelled against him, Yerima and seven of his officials including the Secretary to the State Government, Abubakar Moriki; the State’s Commissioner for Local Government and Chieftaincy Affairs, Idris Keta; and the Secretary to the State Finance and General Purpose Committee, Bala Wakili were dragged before an Abuja Federal High Court on a 36-count charge of laundering N750million and of conspiracy. The EFCC charged that the money was illegally transferred through the Standard Trust of Nigeria, now part of United Bank for Africa. As the EFCC arraigned the three men in court (Yerima had immunity then), the remaining three State officials: the Accountant General, Kasimu Mohammed Anka; the State Commissioner for Finance, Bello Makau; and one Abdulaziz Abubakar Yari legged it across the Nigerian/Niger border to avoid being apprehended.
But since Ribadu was kicked into touch by our late servant-leader and Mike Okiro, that case died a very quiet death. And, lo and behold, the same Abdulaziz Abubakar Yari is now the governor of the State. At his swearing-in ceremony, Yari pledged to govern the State according to the tenets of Sharia law. Still fresh in office as governor, Yari has already borrowed N5billion from a bank ostensibly for the purchase of cars for his Assistants and for fertilizer, but, so far, none of these has been done. Also, at around 11:30pm on Tuesday 13th of September last year, Yari, who is in the habit of driving himself everywhere, was caught literarily pants down, having sex with a young girl in his car. He was rumbled by pesky okada motorcyclists who rode too close to his vehicle. To keep the okada boys quiet, the governor was reported to have parted with N50,000. Obviously, that money proved insufficient.
And just about four weeks ago, Yari lamented that there were about 1.2 million Almajirai (35% of the entire State population!) roaming Zamfara streets, cup in hand. He did not say anything concrete he intends to do about that anomaly. But he is determinedly moving to recover land already allocated to, and already being used by other people. You just know it wouldn’t be beyond made-in-Nigeria Sharia logic for Yari to return all 56 plots of land to his former boss, Yerima. After all, everyman needs ample space for a proper harem.
Meanwhile, these days, Sani Yerima can be found in the splendid precincts of the Senate of the Federal Republic somewhere in Abuja. At weekends, he is often in the frail embrace of his Egyptian child-wife up there in Gusau. Shinkafi is enjoying early retirement also in Gusau.
But the moronic Boko Haramites are planting bombs and blowing themselves up in front of churches? Clearly, it is not book that is haram in Nigeria.