Updated: March 2, 2021
A video of a Nigerian governor reportedly caught collecting bribes on several occasions, has gone viral, but there is nothing to suggest that the money being handed over to the governor was bribery.
Nigerian politicians often use cash for political campaigns and other things and there was no clear discussion involving bribery in this one.
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The article is filled with anonymous sources and contractors who reportedly spoke on condition that their identities would not be exposed, a tactic often used by character assassins on the eve of elections.
The article starts by describing the governor involved as “a staunch supporter of President Muhammadu Buhari for re-election in 2019”.
It then says Governor of Kano State, Dr. Abdullahi Ganduje, has appeared in a video “allegedly receiving bribe amounting to about $5 million from contractors in the state”, without any evidence.
The video was reportedly released by “online investigative media, Daily Nigerian”, and is described as “a sting operation that captured the governor on camera collecting the bribery at different occasions”.
But it was not clear what contracts were involved, when the money was handed over to Mr Ganduje or where.
There was no documents presented relating to the contract and nothing substantial related to corruption.
The report said “multiple contractors who spoke with Daily Nigerian on the condition of anonymity said the governor personally received from 15 to 25 per cent kickbacks for every project executed in the state”.
The publisher of Daily Nigerian, Mr. Jaafar Jaafar, who had reportedly gone underground due to a threat to his life, is quoted as saying that “the sting operation to capture the governor on camera began two years ago when one of the contractors agreed to a request by the media outfit to plant spy camera on his kaftan lapel while offering the bribes”.
The publisher said: “During about 10 months efforts to capture the bribe giving/taking scenes, the governor’s face and body were clearly captured in nine clips, while six others did not clearly reveal the governor’s face. About $5m dollars were delivered to the governor during the sting operation.
“One of the contractors who preferred not to be named said the reason he collaborated with DAILY NIGERIAN was to expose corruption and bring sanity to the country.”
“The contractor stated that if his aim was to blackmail or extort the governor, he would have used the videos to get over a billion settlement or force the governor to pay the hundreds of millions of naira the state was owing to his company or force him to pay back all the money he paid as kickbacks.
“We believe if public office holders are exposed, there will be sanity in the system.”
In its response to the video, the Kano government has claimed that the video was cloned.
“We wish to state that there is no iota of truth to these allegations and if indeed there is any such alleged video, it is at best cloned,” the Kano state commissioner for information, Muhammad Garba, said in a statement.
“The government of Kano state is taking this matter seriously, and will exploit every appropriate and legal avenue to ensure that it gets to the root of the matter and the perpetrators are brought to book.”