It appears that the last has not been heard of the interim forfeiture order obtained by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission in respect of the properties allegedly traced to one Brigadier General Jafaru Mohammed. It may be recalled that for days the public was greeted with screaming headlines seeking to force a connection between General Mohammed and property holdings of individuals within his social circle and in which he has no interest whatsoever.
The allegation against him referred to in the proceedings has not been formally charged before any court, neither has he been convicted of any offence. Sadly, it seems the media reports are deliberately targeted at rubbishing the image of the officer named in the reports.
In fact, the information failed to inform the public the real owners of the alleged eight “choice” properties listed against Brigadier Mohammed when it was recently discovered that only one, a house in Wamba District, which he built many years before his present appointment, belongs to him. Unfortunately, in securing the said order, which has since gone viral against the military officer, his persecutors failed to inform the court of the cost and ownership of the properties.
More surprising is the fact that the items listed in the papers that an anti-corruption agency struggled to justify as “choice” properties are baffling. Some of the so-called choice properties included a plot of land at Kubwa, another plot at Katampe extension and a rented apartment in Sun City.
Another interesting angle to the story are the so-called “many filling stations” without address of the locations as well as many “bank accounts” that their balances in the account were not disclosed, many of which have been dormant for many years. If indeed the subject of the allegation had and was running many filling stations while being a public servant, why were these filling stations not listed and what are the balances in the so-called many account?
The anti-corruption agency must have been aware that its case against the officer was weak, hence the failure of the agency to comply with the order of the court directing the publication of the Interim Order of Forfeiture since March 9, 2021 in one national newspaper. Instead, the agency has since been feeding the media with piecemeal information about the order. The truth is that the embattled military officer is but a pawn in a bigger and complex case of chess. There is no doubt that Brigadier Mohammed is no more than a victim of power play and political vendetta.
There is need for the EFCC and other agencies of government to respect court injunctions, rather than embarking on a desperate media campaign against Mohammed. Otherwise, it may appear to every discerning mind that their case against the General is more of vendetta than fighting corruption.
Isah writes from Kubwa, Abuja.