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N423b scam: Ozekhome defends El-Rufai

A combo of Ozekhome and El-Rufai (right).

Ozekhome: El-Rufai deserves fair hearing

By Valentine Amanze

One of Nigeria’s human rights lawyers, Mike Ozekhome, has faulted the Kaduna State House of Assembly for labeling the immediate past governor of Kaduna State, Masir el-Rufai, guilty of embezzling the state’s N423 billion, while in office.

The Kaduna House of Assembly committee set up to probe the administration of the former governor indicted him on corruption charges and also made other recommendations to the state governor.

But Ozekhome, who was reacting to the findings of the lawmakers in the Channelstv on Thursday, said that the committee had done its job, but did not allow El-Rufai to defend himself against the charges.

Ozekhome said that the former governor was not invited by the committee to defend himself, stressing that el-Rufai could even go to the court to challenge their verdict on him.

Also read: Shehu Sani mocks EL-Rufai, hails Tinubu on appointments

His words: “I’m not a Nostradamus, the man, who saw tomorrow, nor am I the oracle at Ile Ife [in Osun State] that will go gaze into the future to pronounce it the next Ooni need to be.

“So, I wouldn’t be able to know what the outcome would be.

“But I think that whatever happens, El-Rufai must be given his right to a fair hearing. The assembly has just merely made a recommendation and told the governor to implement it.

“The governor may look at it and, and feel well, ‘This is not worth the energy at the time. Let’s face other [things]’. Others may say, ‘N423 billion they are accusing him of is not a small amount; let’s dig in.’

“So, whatever the outcome would be, don’t forget that El-Rufai also has its own fundamental rights to protect. For example, he may decide to go to court to challenge the indictment itself.

 “Maybe you could say he was not given a fair trial. He was never called. I don’t know whether he was called to come and defend himself.”

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