EFCC arrests former deputy speaker, Nafada
The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) yesterday arrested the immediate past deputy speaker of the House of Representatives, Usman Bayero Nafada over allegations of corruption while in office.
Mr Nafada is presently in the Commission custody. His arrest came exactly a week after the former Speaker, Dimeji Bankole, was picked up by the anti-graft agency. The EFCC spokesperson, Femi Babafemi, confirmed Mr Nafada's arrest in a telephone interview in Abuja.
"Yes, he is with us," Mr Babafemi said. "He was invited this (Sunday) evening and he is in our custody now. He'll be charged to court with Bankole tomorrow (today)."
Mr Babafemi said the former deputy speaker would be charged to court alongside Mr Bankole today on fresh charges. Mr Bankole who had earlier been charged to court on a 16-count charge, was denied bail last Friday. According to the EFCC spokesperson, Mr Nafada reported to the commission's office in Abuja following his invitation and after interrogation he was remanded in its custody.
Mr Babafemi also said other former principal officers of the House were invited last week by the commission.
Asked to specify the number of charges that will brought against the former deputy speaker, the EFCC spokesperson said he was not aware and that it would be known today.
When contacted, Hammed Bello, a former media aide to Mr Nafada said that he was not aware of the arrest of the former deputy speaker.
He, however, confirmed that he (Nafada) and other former principal officers of the House had appeared before the commission last week.
Like Speaker, like Deputy
Mr Nafada, like his boss, was elected unopposed as deputy speaker on November 1, 2007.
The 50-year-old former deputy speaker was, before his election into the House of Representatives, a member of the Gombe State House of Assembly where he also served as its Speaker.
He became deputy speaker following the resignation of Babangida Nguroje, who resigned following an allegation of contract inflation by his boss, Patricia Etteh.
Mr Nafada's plan to contest the Gombe State governorship primary election on the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) earlier this year was aborted midway as he pulled out of the race before it was held. He did not, however, seek re-election to the House.
Shortly after his arrest, Mr Bankole, through his media aide, revealed how the controversial N10 billion loan he obtained on behalf of the House was shared by the principal officers and members of the lower chamber.
According to Mr Bankole, who said he and Mr Nafada did not benefit from the share, the former deputy speaker got an N80 million quarterly allowance. The speaker himself got N100 million.
The principal officers who benefitted were Tunde Akogun (House Leader) N46 million; Baba Shehu Agaie (deputy leader) N57 million; Emeka Ihedioha (Chief Whip) N55 million; Aminu Tambuwal (deputy chief whip) N54.5 million; and Femi Gbajabiamila (minority whip) N50 million.
Messrs Tambuwal and Ihedioha were elected Speaker and deputy speaker last Monday during the inauguration of the seventh National Assembly.