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El-Rufai’s alleged billions: who is telling the truth?

A Lagos-based newspaper reported that the new Kaduna State governor Nasir El-Rufai of the All Progressives Congress (APC) had declared his assets to be worth 90bn naira (about $452.7m) and he owned 40 houses in Abuja, the capital of Nigeria.

El-Rufai used to be the minister for the Federal Capital Territory under the Olusegun Obasanjo regime.

The declaration of assets is a constitutional requirement: Subject to the provisions of this Constitution, every public officer shall within three months after the coming into force of this Code of Conduct or immediately after taking office and thereafter –

(a) at the end of every four years; and

(b) at the end of his term of office, submit to the Code of Conduct Bureau a written declaration of all his properties, assets, and liabilities and those of his unmarried children under the age of eighteen years.

Predictably, the governor threatened to sue the newspaper as 90bn naira in assets flies in the face of his posturing as a “progressive”. Since taking over in Kaduna he has pulled several populist stunts to burnish his “progressive” credentials, such as wanting to reduce the cost of government in terms of numbers of commissioners and aides, banning the allocation of fertilizers to traditional rulers, and so on.

The paper’s editor has called El-Rufai’s bluff and asked him to go ahead and sue.

El-Rufai should think seriously about his next steps especially in the light of a senate investigation in 2008 that concluded he was not fit for public office.

From the BBC:

Nigeria ‘must ban’ ex-minister

Friday, 11 July 2008 13:02 UK

A key ally of former Nigerian President Olusegun Obasanjo should never hold public office again, the Senate says.

An investigation found 32bn naira ($217m, £138m) is missing from the accounts of the Federal Capital Territory which runs the capital Abuja.

Former minister in charge of Abuja Nasir el-Rufai abused his office and must be made to account for the money, said the report by a Senate committee.

Aides to Mr el-Rufai say he did not steal any money.

He is also accused of abusing his office by selling a million-dollar house owned by the government to himself.

The report by the senate follows weeks of public hearings.

The missing money is the proceeds from the sale of thousands of government-owned houses in the capital.

“We came to the inevitable conclusion that Nasir el-Rufai is not a fit and proper person to hold public office in a democratic set-up,” the report said.

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