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Ganduje puzzles Kano with legal rigmaroles

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GOVERNOR Abdullahi Ganduje of Kano State has sued the publisher of the online newspaper, Daily Nigerian, for three billion naira for alleged defamation in publishing video clips of the governor allegedly receiving about five million dollars in bribes from contractors. First, the governor denied the story and claimed that the videos were doctored. Then the Kano State House of Assembly, after an initial and stupefying silence, waded into the matter that had easily become controversial, and slated an open hearing to which both the publisher, Jaafar Jaafar, and the governor were invited. Mr Jaafar honoured the invitation and substantiated his allegations. The governor declined the invitation, and instead a civil society proxy asked the courts to compel the legislature to suspend their investigative hearing. The lawmakers first hesitated, then they eventually and almost ecstatically obeyed the courts.

The public were, however, puzzled. If the videos were doctored, surely the governor would take the opportunity of the legislative hearings to prove his innocence. But no. Instead, the governor decided to sue Mr Jaafar for the said whopping sum. Meanwhile, the anti-graft agencies kept a discrete distance, and together with President Muhammadu Buhari who also hemmed and hawed over the matter when asked during his last trip to Paris what he intended to do about it, may now seize the opportunity of the defamation suit to excuse any action altogether. The political and legal rigmaroles will know no end. It is distinctly Nigerian. Dr Ganduje is one of President Buhari’s most fanatical supporters. He has promised to deliver Kano to the president in the next election lock, stock, and barrel. Against such a man, it is apparent, there can be no law. Mr Jaafar will be mystified that he has become the hunted. Let him take heed, in Nigeria’s convoluted legal and moral landscape, not to become the haunted.

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