The last has not yet been heard about the corruption and impunity in the Federal Capital Territory FCT administration under former Minister Bala Mohammad and his cohorts
By Tukur Mamu
The story of my travails with the once powerful former minister of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Sen. Bala Abdulkadir Muhammad and some of his very close aides like the Director of Treasury Operations of the FCTA, Ibrahim Bomoi and Bala’s overbearing head of AGIS, Jamila Tangaza, is not news to Nigerians, particularly top policy makers and those who were then at the helm of affairs of the nation.
What is however new to all except very few is the last- minute desperate attempt by the former FCT minister and Ibrahim Bomoi to lure, implicate, ridicule, blackmail and rubbish whatever I have achieved so far in life, so as to get an easy soft- landing for their numerous financial crimes in the FCTA as the new administration takes over. Certainly, Bala Muhammad and the likes of Bomoi are in total confusion and dilemma since Mr. Goodluck Jonathan conceded a most deserved victory against him by President Muhammadu Buhari.
The atrocities they committed are many and no wonder they have been trying desperately to cover all of them and as pundits see it, even with the ‘experience’ of Bomoi as a former auditor it will be a Herculean task to convincingly accomplish. It is very far from the myopic reasoning and logic that because somebody has not been queried in his entire civil service career, or that he has received several commendation letters, or have sponsored phantom organizations to submit a letter of request using the FoI act to check financial records of the FCTA and subsequently ‘cleared’ them of all wrong doings as the likes of Bomoi are advancing in their arguments, are enough to accept that he or them did not corruptly enrich themselves while in office.
Bala Muhammad and his boys certainly know that the game is over even though they wished to continue with their several acts of vindictiveness, vendetta and impunity against me even under the new government, if they get the opportunity to do so; but I know that they or their lawyer, Joe Kyari Gadzama, are only deceiving themselves, or the lawyer is just making nonsense of them to get more money as he has been doing in the past.
Unknown to me, they had contacted a Sheikh who I so much revere and respect with a supposedly ‘open and forgiving heart’ when I was in self – exile in Dubai. I wouldn’t want to mention the Sheikh’s name in this controversy because he sincerely offered to intervene with a very sincere and clean mind and he is somebody I know that nobody, not even them, can buy or influence to do anything against his conscience. But all I know is that the Sheikh is alive and when he so wishes he can give account of what really transpired between me, him, Bala Muhammad and Bomoi after my arrival back from Dubai or to dispute what I am writing today if I am wrong.
After my arrival from Dubai the respected Sheikh called and invited me to his house and I promptly went. It was then he told me that he was approached by some people to intervene between me and Bala/Bomoi and that Bomoi too had called him on phone and came to see him subsequently in Kaduna from Abuja on the orders of the then FCT minister. As usual the Sheikh preached to me on the essence of reconciliation in Islam and told me to forgive everything that happened and give them audience to hear what they will say. To show his ‘sincerity’ Bomoi insisted to the Sheikh that he wants to come to Kaduna again and have direct audience with me in the presence of the Sheikh. I couldn’t decline when the Sheikh told me that he accepted Bomoi’s request to come back to Kaduna and discuss in his presence. And so Bomoi, on the orders of his minister, promptly came as scheduled and we discussed in the Sheikh’s residence for nearly four hours.
I of course narrated to the Sheikh my travails in their hands, their insincerity, deceit, mischief, how they sponsored certificate forgery allegation against me and induced the NUJ to go out of their powers through the so-called blacklisting of DESERT HERALD (which, by the way, has not changed anything in the manner the paper operates) and many more, including several failed attempts on my life and how they plotted my arrest and incarceration. Bomoi, in the presence of the Sheikh, was swearing by the holy Qur’an and denied responsibility, insisting that everything that happened to me was an arrangement between his boss, their lawyer, Gadzama and the police.
Despite that the Sheikh in his usual magnanimity and spirit of forgiveness directed me to give them the benefit of doubt since the matter has been brought before him. Again I couldn’t decline his offer but I intensified prayers because I know very well the psyche and dubious characters of the person(s) I am dealing with. They told the Sheikh through Bomoi during the said meeting that now that they are leaving office they want all of us to forgive ourselves, suspend all hostilities and shame the ‘detractors’. After the Kaduna meeting Bomoi immediately called Bala Muhammad in our presence and briefed him. He there an then arranged for all of us, including the Sheikh, to meet with the then minister to further discuss and finalize agreement on stages of the reconciliation.
Both the Sheikh and I declined the idea of meeting with Bala but Bomoi pacified and assured the Sheikh about the ‘sincerity’ of Bala and the need for him to intervene. He told the Sheikh that Bala had actually intended coming to Kaduna but they were very busy with the handing-over arrangement. The Sheikh reasoned that until I heard what Bala wanted to say or wanted to be done it will be unfair to dismiss his offer of meeting just like that. The Sheikh has his wisdom as an Islamic scholar for convincing me to go but I knew that with barely five days then to the end of the former corrupt regime the days of Bala and Bomoi are over and that it will never be the same for them again. I am also convinced that as at that time even if the crux of the meeting went public no sane person will accuse me of compromise because Bala has lost even the power to offer favours or allocate lands anymore as whatever he did that time will be reverted by the new government.
So we arranged to meet on Saturday 23rd May in Abuja but I also insisted that the Sheikh must be present as a witness. They suggested that we meet in the then minister’s office but I rejected that and we eventually agreed to meet in his official residence. They sent a car from Abuja to Kaduna to pick me and the Sheikh but I respectfully told the Sheikh that as a father he should go with them and that I will instead use my own car to go, which I eventually did. Before our arrival they booked an apartment through Bomoi in Sheraton Hotel for us. I was given an expanded suit 521/19 on the 5th floor but unknown to Bomoi I refused to sleep at Sheraton Hotel that night because of obvious reasons. But as I came back to the hotel very early the following morning after we had met that night and when as I signing the departure slip of the hotel I discovered in the document that the expensive suit was actually paid by the FCTA protocol unit.
To say the least, the meeting that Saturday night was so volatile that I concluded I may not come out alive from the ex-minister’s residence. And I know very well that apart from that Sheikh and may be few others nobody can convince me in the whole world to meet in isolation in a residence of an enemy that desperately needed that chance. So my reason was purely based on absolute obedience and respect for the Sheikh and even if it means death I had prepared my mind for it. I initially told my wives about the mission but they all insisted I mustn’t go but I told them I must give Mallam the benefit of doubt because I know that his mind is very pure and clean.
Unknown to the two of us, Bala had arranged very well for the visit and to take maximum advantage of it. He had invited the Abuja Commissioner of Police, his lawyer Gadzama and put the Inspector General of Police, Mr. Arase on notice. Bala took us in isolation to the other side of the residence. The Sheikh first started by emphasizing why he agreed to come and told the minister bluntly that it was because of my relationship with Bomoi as relatives/family friends that he accepted to come and he took time to explain the importance of Sulhu (reconciliation) in Islam.
But when it was Bala’s turn he got very violent like a drug addict, voicing his frustrations, behaving very immaturely, playing God and threatening to use everything he has if it means doing so to destroy me and saying openly that he will never allow me be. He told me that even ex-Governor Isa Yuguda did not do to him what really pained him like I did. I waited patiently for him to conclude his vituperations and told the small gathering to give me chance to talk. I told him that even though I was compelled to come to his house I am not afraid of anybody except Allah and that I will never be the type of sycophants that will tell him only what he wants to hear. I told him I was surprised because what Bomoi told the Sheikh in Kaduna was that they needed my attention to see the possibility of reconciling but I couldn’t believe it when I saw the minister giving directives to the Abuja CP to wait and threatening me with the CP’s presence. After spending about 30 minutes talking in defiance to what Bala said and his open threats it became obvious to him that even if it means death, not to talk of arrest, I will never succumb to his intimidation, not even in his own house. So he eventually calmed down and suggested the way out. Bala had obviously noticed that the Sheikh was visibly angry and very much disappointed. But then I was convinced that I had gotten the proof I wanted but since we brought ourselves to the ‘lion’s’ den I said to myself I better play it softly because it was very clear that Bala had several options if I did not cooperate since I was then in his house.
Eventually and after the whole drama, it was ‘agreed’ that DESERT HERALD will write a retraction to them while they will withdraw all their pending cases against me and the company. I told the meeting that it is possible that in reacting to some of their fabricated claims that DESERT HERALD can make a mistake or sensationalize some stories and that we are not God. The then minister also acknowledged during the meeting (which I have on audio) that they are sorry for the forgery fabrication and other sponsored publications; including the use of the NUJ against me and that we should all forgive each other. But I knew that he was not sincerely remorseful but accepted his apology to be able to get out of his house safely which we did by Allah’s grace.
I had recorded even his threat to me during the meeting and eventually sent a copy to my lawyer because with what Bala said boldly during the meeting if I happen to be assassinated today he had clearly indicted himself for culpability.
In anticipation of the letter of retraction they desperately expected from us after the meeting, Bala told J.K Gadzama in our presence to immediately notify IGP Arase of the development and withdraw the cases in court. But as I suspected the purported order was pure deception. It unfolded in less than two days because when we resumed my case at the Abuja Magistrate Court 5 under Mr. Chukwumeka Ubani the following Monday, 25th May, 2015 they had filed a motion for the revocation of my bail on the pretext that I have violated my bail condition which is not true.
Their assumption is that I will submit that letter of retraction to them before we get to the court on Monday since the meeting we had with them was on Saturday, 23th, May 2015 so that they will adopt it as part of their evidence in moving that motion or subsequent motions against me. The police prosecutor, Barr Nwodo, who was alleged to have been given N500,000.00 by the minister before the resumption of the matter, insisted and moved his motion that same Monday for the revocation of my bail. But my counsel did a very good job despite the short notice and opposed their submission purely on point of law.
The matter, after very heated arguments, was adjourned by Chief Magistrate Ubani for ruling on 8th June, 2015.
And notwithstanding the fact that there is another First Information Report, FIR, before Chief Magistrate Ubani which the case is ongoing and the fact that Bala and Bomoi have previously instituted two other cases before Justice Danladi Sanchi of the Abuja High Court (which is now on Appeal) and the pending Court Order we got from a Kaduna High Court restraining Bala, Bomoi and even the Police from doing anything on that matter or anyone related to it until the determination of the substantive suit, Bala Muhammad and Bomoi through their equally dubious lawyer, J.K. Gadzama, have bribed the Police again at the General Investigation Unit, GI, and have prepared another FIR and filed before the same Justice D. Sanchi.
But in fairness to Justice Sanchi he declined to give the illegal order for my arrest which is the main reason why the police was bribed through Assistant Commissioner Umar Muri of the GI to issue the fraudulent FIR. Justice Sanchi, our sources revealed, insisted that my lawyer must be around for them to move and argue such a motion. But that was what they didn’t want. They wanted Justice Sanchi to grant the FIR request through the back door as it was done in the criminal matter before the Abuja Magistrate Court.
As a result of Justice Sanchi’s insistence to follow the due process of the law the FIR was kept in the High Court for 12 days until the day we went for our case in the Magistrate Court (Monday, 25th May, 2015). It was then that the police prosecutor demanded that my presence and that of my lawyer were needed in the High Court because, according to him, they have filed another FIR against me to move. All these happened despite the so-called reconciliation they themselves mischievously, deceptively and dubiously initiated.
For me, Mr. J.K. Gadzama is a disgrace to the legal profession because all his conduct and practices in my matter with the former FCT minister and Bomoi are clearly criminal in nature and one that seeks to secure judicial favour through the back door, undermine the integrity of the judiciary and the police than seeking to use legal, decent and legitimate ways to ensure ‘justice’ for his clients. He is a very lezy lawyer and by his conduct in the court I used to wonder how he was given the SAN.
J.K Gadzama thereafter sent SMS message to the police prosecutor which he copied to me that he (the police prosecutor) should not go to the High Court anymore and that we promised to write an undertaking for them. I replied him immediately (I have in my handset a copy of the text message) and told him that there was never a time I said or agreed to write an undertaking and that our agreement was a mere retraction of some of the contending issues. Bomoi also called thereafter and deceitfully apologized to me and that it was the fault of Gadzama for delaying to tell the Police and the Court about our agreement to settle out of court and withdraw the cases.
I know deep inside me that it was all a game, a grand gimmick but I am very willing to remain stupid and see how far they can go. A simple question can answer my suspicion. How can the minister give express directives to his lawyer on the steps to take immediately and then the lawyer will come and give excuses after almost two days that he had actually forgotten to tell those concerned? That is ridiculous. And as at the time of writing this piece which is exactly one week after the ex-minister’s deceptive order was given to Gadzama, they as expected could not withdraw a single case except ofcourse sponsoring Suleiman Uba to write rubbish against me and tried in futility to defend Bala and Bomoi’s corrupt stewardship at the FCTA. But quite typical of Bomoi he immediately called the Sheikh after the LEADERSHIP publication and as usual swear by the Qur’an that they have no hand in the advertorial that targetted to exenorate them. And while this was going on against me they are so stupid by desperately lobbying to assure me and the Sheikh that all is well and that I should please rush to send our retraction for them to publish in the papers before the minister finally disengages.
But even during the meeting (and I also have it on audio too) I bluntly told Bala Muhammad that I am not afraid of any of their cases before the Court. I even urged him to leave those cases to continue for the Courts to determine them and that what I agreed to do is because of the intervention of the Sheikh not out of fear for anybody. But since they have their plans to deceive me thinking that I am stupid Bala insisted that they will go ahead to withdraw the cases which they never did because it was all deception, not real.
The whole agenda for the desperation to get the retraction from us, however, unfolded as I suspected earlier as the ‘wise’ J.K Gadzama went and confided their secret plots to an Abuja High Court Judge whom I lately happen to know and associate with. The Judge called and asked me that “is it true as I was told by Gadzama that you will write a retraction to Bala and Bomoi?” I simply told him yes so as to hear what he would say. The Judge then said even if you are doing it because of the Sheikh you must be stupid. He said that they have set a trap for me. He again asked me the following questions: how can you engage in such a battle for two years and suffer what you have suffered only to give up cowardly at the eleventh hour and implicate yourself? Are you sure you are in your senses? Don’t you think there is huge implication in what you are about to do? Are you really sure they mean well and they will not use it against you? Did you really know the
kind of crisis Bala is in now and what that retraction will mean for him to survive? He went on and on. It was then he started telling me about what J.K Gadzama told him. I am sure whenever Gadzama read this piece he will comprehend very well the Judge I am referring to.
Gadzama told the Judge that I have fallen into their trap finally and that I promised to send them a retraction on our previous publications against them. He told the judge that Bala had budgeted N20 million for newspaper adverts and propaganda as soon as they got the retraction letter. And that he has reserved more millions for litigations. It was then he revealed to the Judge that Bala Muhammad has allocated a land through his SA Media, Mr. Nosike, to Chief Magistrate Chukwumeka Ubani to ensure that he convicts me in my case before him but that Mr. Ubani vividly told them that they have a poor case due to lack of evidence but suggested that if they can get anything from me by way of self confession through such dubious retraction he will know what to do to convict me.
But in fairness to Mr. Ubani and since the case began he has remained very neutral, careful and professional and he has not done anything so far (apart from during the intrigues to deny me bail) to suggest that their alleged gratification to him is influencing his conduct in the matter. The Judge also confided in me that Gadzama told him that Ibrahim Bomoi gave N500,000.00 to the initially reluctant police prosecutor, Barr. Nwodo hence the reason why he is now active in the matter. Gadzama through Bala Muhammad had also promised the sum of N30 million to the High Court Judge in question if he agrees to sign the FIR they brought and if he eventually order my arrest.
But the Judge, knowing very well the implication of such unilateral order, only dribbled Gadzama. He (Gadzama) told the Judge that all what IGP Solomon Arase is waiting for to justify the planned action is an order from the Court to arrest me as doing so just like that at this critical time of national rebirth without an order from the court may endanger his seat.
Gadzama under the influence of the loot of his clients also did the same at the Appeal Court. He attempted to bribe the Appeal Court Judge handling our matter by visiting him in his house but the Judge out rightly said he won’t see him at home and advised him to instead pursue his case legally as others do. What a SAN!
For Bala and Bomoi to even think that I will be so stupid after sacrificing so much in the last two years and struggled to defend how they sponsored and criminally conspired to tarnish and defame my hard earned integrity and fabricated series of allegations against me including the conspiracy that I never go to school to just write a retraction for them even with the intervention of my revered Sheikh without them committing themselves first in writing by accepting the culpability of all the fabrications and distortions they sponsored against me, they must be insane.
Even though I did not underestimate how they plotted to arrest, rubbish, ridicule, implicate and secure a conviction against me if they get the said retraction as revealed by Gadzama to the said High Court Judge, I didn’t believe that they are so desperate until when I started getting desperate telephone calls from Bomoi, Gadzama and the ‘smart’ Nosike pleading that I should please rush and send it while on their part they have started the process of withdrawing the cases against us. Nosike in one of his several telephone calls which I also recorded said Bala is planning big for me as soon as I send the letter of retraction. He said he grew very jealous when the then minister told him what he intended to give me as soon as the retraction is published.
But I told Nosike in that same telephone conversation which I have on audio that my decision to accept the retraction request is not about money or what the minister intended to give me. I told him i accepted it out of pure respect for the Sheikh and that they should not worry I will soon send it.
I don’t really know what gives them the impression that by merely withdrawing court cases against us even if they do without them writing such apology and retraction to me too I will simply do what they want. When their efforts in getting the letter seems crumbling and they are running out of time, their boss himself, Bala Muhammad called me three times on phone on Tuesday, 26th May, 2015 with telephone number 08051009192 between 4pm-5pm to plead that I should hasten to send the letter and in return I should see him on Saturday 30th May, 2015 in Abuja for him to settle and compensate DESERT HERALD.
I assured him I will send it immediately through my lawyer and started laughing when I dropped his calls. Bala’s desperate calls and pleas thereafter convinced me beyond all reasonable doubt that they are in real trouble and wanted to use me and the Sheikh to clear some of the atrocities they committed and to pursue their agenda of evil against me using the retraction as a weapon. I am sure if I told Bala to give me N100 million that time as a condition and in exchange of my duly signed retraction he would have done so immediately.
As I have said about two years ago and by Allah’s will, Bala Muhammad is today an ordinary Nigerian like me. It will never be the same again for him no matter the billions he and his aides stole that is if he is even lucky to go free from investigation and prosecution. He can go ahead with the Bomois of this world, the Gadzamas, the Nosikes or the Umar Muris to plan whatever evil they feel like against me or DESERT HERALD. The Allah that destroyed their several plots against me in the past is a living Allah that never dies and He will never allow them to succeed.
For the corrupt ACP Umar Muri who benefitted millions of naira from Bala and Bomoi and rubbished the police force to ensure that he implicates me by all means, the day of reckoning has come. We will soon publish all his conspiracies including the controversial and highly indicting letters he wrote on behalf of the police in our case with Bomoi and Bala and his corruption escapades in the EFCC and why he was redeployed from the Commission. I will also reveal very soon and precisely before the release of our book on FCTA under Bala how the ex-minister and Ibrahim Bomoi orchestrated and sponsored the rigging of the presidential election in Abuja and how Jonathan was declared winner in the FCT despite initial clear lead by APC’s President Buhari. The story of how they silently sponsored the PDP and Fani Kayode to fabricate certificate forgery allegation against President Buhari during the presidential campaign is also an issue that requires elaborate discourse in future publications. Criminals like them must account for their misdeeds and face the full wrath of the law.
Re – DESERT HERALD’s Tukur Mamu: Time to win the war
I read with so much interest the sponsored advertorial my very good friend, Suleiman Uba Gaya, placed in our one and only LEADERSHIP newspaper of Thursday 28, May.
My response is very simple and straight even though by now I have passed the stage of responding to old friends like Uba Gaya. I can only respond to the likes of Goodluck Jonathan, Ibrahim Shekarau or Bala Muhammad.
Gaya has raised issues of ethical misconduct against me and made reference to how the NUJ blacklisted DESERT HERALD. It really makes me to wonder if Gaya as the Vice President (North) of the Nigerian Guild of Editors read the constitution of the NUJ very well before ridiculing himself and the respected NGE before the public. Certainly, if he reads the NUJ constitution very well he will discover that they don’t have any power even by their own constitution to discipline non-registered members or to blacklist a duly registered paper.
I am really very ashamed that even if a so-called professional will accept a hatchet job such as the one done by Gaya he failed to be privy and conversant with the subject matter he is discussing and act professionally. Anybody, not even a professional journalist, that goes through the content of the advertorial placed for Gaya will not need a sorcerer to convince him that it was done for and sponsored by the former FCT minister and Ibrahim Bomoi all in desperate efforts to avoid prosecution by the new government and to silence me.
And those of us that have credible sources at the FCTA know that Suleiman Gaya has used the name of the NGE and got allocation of plots of land from Bala recently. What else do you expect him to do? We also know that Gaya did not have the resources to pay for a full page advertorial.
And quite unprofessional of him he signed the advertorial in his capacity as the Vice President (North), of the Nigerian Guild of Editors not as Suleiman Uba. Do we then assume that all the contents he wrote represent the views of the NGE about Tukur Mamu and DESERT HERALD or his personal views?
There is certainly confusion there and at a point I even begun to wonder if it is the same Uba I know that naively wrote that piece. I am sure he must have rushed it or wrote it hurriedly in anxiety. In any case, I have contacted my good friends the President of the NGE, Mr. Femi Adesina and his Vice Mallam Garbaddeen Muhammad to confirm if Uba actually wrote on their behalf because he claimed he received series of petitions against me and their answers were emphatic NO. So my sincere advice to Uba is to please resist in future the temptations of always being used by corrupt politicians to undermine the integrity of his colleagues such as the one he did for his boss Ibrahim Shekarau five years back and the recent one for Bala Muhammad. While Gaya have a boss in the highly unprincipled and corrupt Shekarau as he confirmed in his writing, I don’t have any, Allah is the ultimate.
And i wouldn’t want to go into the controversy surrounding the murder of the amiable Sheikh Jafar Mahmud Adam and DESERT HERALD’s previous reports on that. But what is however on record is that the Police contrary to what Uba claimed are yet to release conclusive findings on his gruesome assassination and that the Boko Haram or the so called Sheikh Jafar’s colleagues whom Uba is saying are responsible for his murder never claim responsibility of his murder as has been their tradition.
His boss too, Ibrahim Shekarau, has not yet challenged the publication of DESERT HERALD on the matter in any court of law almost eight years after it was done. So the central issue in Gaya’s piece is just a failed PR job for Bala Muhammad and Ibrahim Bomoi. I don’t blame him. He is reciprocating the gesture of the piece of land given to him. And I sincerely thank Gaya for at least giving me the credit of sustaining a paper for eleven years and for publicly having faith in me and my job even though those he is representing are still living under the illusion that I am not a journalist.