Many Nigerians may not know that since September 2013 when DESERT HERALD Publisher, Mallam Tukur Mamu, was arrested by the Police and detained for 16 days on the orders of the Federal Capital Territory Minister, Sen. Bala Mohammed, the publisher had not known peace since then due to series of official persecution being inflicted on him and his paper at different intervals by either the Police or agents of the FCT Minister particularly his Director of Treasury, Ibrahim Bomoi. The publisher remained silent but resilient even when there are visible attempts on his life allegedly by the same people because all the series of letters he wrote to the Police regarding the matter according to him were either leaked to the alleged sponsors of his travails or is allegedly being used by the Police to persecute him silently. In this interview with newsmen in his office in Kaduna, Mallam Tukur Mamu reveals why he decided to be silent over the period and many more. Excerpts:-
We have not heard anything about your case with the FCT Minister and his Director of Treasury. What is actually going on?
It has been very tough for us but by Allah’s wish we are overcoming it not only in victory but in clear vindication of my innocence. Sincerely only few people can survive the massive onslaught I and DESERT HERALD experienced during the last 15 months and I really pity Nigeria because if people in position of power can abuse their office so brazenly and use the instrument of state with impunity and to criminally blackmail their perceived enemies in connivance with security officials and nothing happens, is a cause for serious concern for some of us that desire well for the nation. As you know the FCT Minister and Ibrahim Bomoi have instituted cases in Abuja High Court apart from the one in Abuja Magistrate Court but after over a year they have not been going to the Courts and couldn’t produce any evidence against me. I insisted that they must provide evidence against me but it looks like they are only interested in either getting judgment through the back door against me or to use their stolen wealth to bribe the police to persecute me and my paper. I always tell them that even if you are the president of this country there is a limit to what you can do and that time will come when you cannot do anything to your perceived enemies. So the cases are on and we will see to their logical conclusion insha Allah.
You said you have been vindicated; who vindicated you?
I told you throughout the last 15 months Bala Muhammad and Ibrahim Bomoi did not leave anything unturned in their desperation to destroy me because they believe that as long as I am alive the matter did not end and will not end. They are right about that sincerely. They have used the Federal Ministry of Foreign Affairs and wrote two letters at different intervals through the police to the institution I attended in Niger Republic for the desperate aim of getting anything incriminating that will indict me for forgery. They followed up and even bribed ministry officials to facilitate the process but it didn’t work because those of them at Niger Republic or their Ministry of Higher Education are not corrupt and cannot be induced to distort my academic record or falsify anything incriminating against me. It was a huge frustration for particularly Ibrahim Bomoi because before the Police agreed to send the letter through the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and then to Niger Embassy he had to use the FCT Minister to allocate plots of land to the then CP of the General Investigation, GI, Moses Anegbode and the Assistant Commissioner Muri. CP Anegbode fell sick shortly after they were induced to incarcerate me for 16 days and now he is late may God forgive all of us. They also collected huge sums of money to go out of their way by openly declaring me guilty, even though they are not a law court, in one of the letters they wrote to me. They were clearly confused in that letter and it was clear that they didn’t even know what they are investigating. They are only interested in manufacturing guilt out of me. Sincerely I pity the Nigeria Police and some of us that don’t have a voice to be heard. A typical police officer in Nigeria today can change black to be white or white to be black provided you will pay for it. This must change because the poor are always at disadvantage. I have suffered so much in the hands of highly corrupt police officers in the course of doing my job. But now the whole mischief has come to an end…
(Cuts in…) How?
I mean I have been truly vindicated and we now have a President-Elect that will no doubt put issues of corruption and injustice as a priority not the type we have been subjected to under President Jonathan. After the two desperate letters the police wrote to ABU, Zaria to investigate me and libeling ridiculous allegations of forgery against me, bribing some clerks in the institution to steal my academic record file and with constant follow up which is unlike the Nigeria Police we know (because they have special interest in the case), the management of ABU, Zaria had proven to them that money or power cannot compromise them to destroy the hard earned reputation and integrity of the institution. The ABU authority wrote to them eventually last week after nearly one year of silent investigation of all the ridiculous claims by the police against me. The letter to the police from ABU Zaria, as I was told, was emphatic and very clear that their investigation
against me did not show any evidence of forgery as claimed by the Police and agents of the FCT Minister like Ibrahim Bomoi. The Police did not even know that ABU Zaria too had before now written to me on my own request for them to establish the real fact in the fallacy. The institution I attended in Niger too did same on my request but I waited patiently all this while for the Police to be officially communicated which eventually was done last week by ABU, Zaria. So the whole thing was a charade done by criminally minded individuals that stole so much from the coffers of the FCTA and did not even know what they will do with it. Lawyers like Joe Kyari Gadzama have only deceived them and succeeded in getting over N20 million from them. Our colleagues too like Daily Trust which hitherto used to be a big brother has also benefitted from the FCTA largesse of destroying Tukur Mamu and in the process compromised the professional ethics they are claiming to have. The
conduct of the leadership of the NUJ under Mohammed Garba Balogun during the crisis is even more embarrassing to the journalism profession for they are not only clearly bias but they have constituted themselves as a law court that will prosecute Tukur Mamu and even close down his paper. But my case with them I am sure will help others in the future because we have shown to them that they not only have the powers they think they have but they are corrupt and incompetent because they don’t know where their work and powers starts and they don’t know where it ends. They didn’t even study their constitution very well if not they wouldn’t have ridiculed and embarrassed themselves the manner they did. My case with the Bala Muhammad shows me unfortunately that many people especially in the police and journalism profession can be compromised with gratification to injure or even destroy a perceived enemy innocently. But we thank Allah we survived it and the pressure will soon be on them because we will not allow them to go free with their loot and what they have done to the Nigerian nation.
Why do you think they at the FCTA are corrupt?
I have said that before that if they think they are not corrupt and have not enriched themselves and their families fraudulently let them take me to court. Bala Muhammad and Ibrahim Bomoi then wrote a letter to me through their equally corrupt counsel, that I should retract the claim that they are corrupt. I didn’t of course and even challenged them to sue me but they couldn’t because they know very well that I can support my claim against them. They are only interested in using the instrument of their office, their loot and the typical impunity of the PDP government to persecute me unjustly.
So, how far has it gone with your book on FCTA?
Certainly it will be out even though the matter is in court. There is still no restriction and even if there is we will challenge it. Let me emphasize again that Bala Mohammed is not only the most corrupt minister but the richest as well. Even Diezani Allison Madueke did not steal what he has stolen and we will prove it in that book and in our subsequent publications in DESERT HERALD. Just look at what his eldest son is doing with the resources meant for the development of the FCT. I am sure you saw the pictures of his son lying down on a bed of dollars and naira and using the latest and expensive cars? Where did Bala get that kind of money from? Did he inherit it from his father? In the FCTA all the Directors are highly corrupt and stupendously rich at the expense of the development of the nation’s capital. We will prove that too. But amongst all the Directors Ibrahim Bomoi is the most corrupt and the richest because he does the dirty deals for the minister and their clients like the First Lady. Just look at the shameful appointment of Jamila Tangaza by Bala as the Head of AGIS. Some of us know very well that there are allegations of affairs between them which they said is the only yardstick and criteria used by Bala to give her the sensitive offer even though she has no civil service experience. Jamila today is one of the big time single billionaire ladies with properties in Abuja and Kano. If not for the proceeds of corrupt enrichment and abuse of office where did she get the money she builds the mighty residences in Abuja and Kano? So there are a lot of issues concerning the management and administration of the current FCT under Bala Muhammad. It might interest you to know that most of the money that was used to fight our President-Elect, Gen. Muhammadu Buhari during the campaign came mainly through the NNPC and the FCTA under Bala and through the same corrupt character, Ibrahim Bomoi. Bomoi is one of the trusted accounting officers of the PDP and his office unofficially disburses money for campaigns, television, newspaper and radio jingles. Some of our colleagues that were bribed to carry hate campaigns against the President-Elect were paid directly through Bomoi.
What is your comment about the just concluded elections?
Professor Attahiru Jega is the hero. He must be commended for insisting to conduct a credible election despite what he has gone through. The emergence of Gen. Buhari will insha Allah be a blessing to all Nigerians. He is very disciplined, incorruptible, humble and sincerely committed to the growth and development of Nigeria. I don’t have any doubt in my mind that the next four years of his presidency will squarely deal with insecurity, corruption, unemployment and gross underdevelopment of our infrastructures. Nigerians should pray for him to be guided by Allah in anything he does.