FORMER Katsina State Governor Ibrahim Shema has said he is ready for trial.
The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) is set to arraign him today before the high court.
Shema is accused of diverting about N5.7 billion meant for the Subsidy Re-Investment and Empowerment Programme (SURE -P) initiated by former President Goodluck Jonathan’s government.
A statement by Shema’s media team reiterated his innocence, and hoped that the trial will afford the former governor the opportunity to prove his innocence.
The statement, signed by Oluwabusola Olawale, accused Governor Aminu Masari of being behind Shema’s travails.
Olawale said Shema’s position remains the same since the government started its “persecution, intimidation and harassment” by setting up over 30 committees to probe Shema’s administration, and granted over 200 interviews to call him a thief.
The statement reads: “The incumbent governor also set up Commission of Inquiry, sponsor petitions to the EFCC and Independent Corrupt Practices Commission (ICPC), using Katsina State Attorney-General fiat to take Shema before Justice Maikaita Bako of the state High Court.
“It also obtained a fiat from the Attorney-General of the Federation, curiously to take over corruption cases from the ICPC before the same Justice Bako to satisfy the interest of Governor Masari and his co-travellers.”
Olawale alleged that the government would pressurise the EFCC to take Shema before Justice Gabriel Kolawole, of the Federal High Court, Abuja, on issues being tried before another court.
He noted that Shema was also being taken before Justice Babagana Ahmed, of the Federal High Court, Katsina, on the same issues and allegations.
Olawale added: “Former Governor Shema stands by his position that he is ready to defend himself in a fair and just trial. He, therefore, urges Nigerians and the international community to read between the lines in understanding the motive of those behind this desperation.
“And with the fresh suit before Justice Babagana Ahmed of the Federal High Court, Katsina, we urge Nigerians and International Communities to monitor closely the planned arraignment of Shema on the slated date to understand the motive and agenda of the fresh suit.
“We insist that Shema is innocent and demands for transparent, fair and just trial based on the rule of law, with the absolute belief that the God we worship is a just God who abhors injustice.”