Barely 24hours after Senator Danjuma Goje stepped down and endorsed Senator Ahmed Lawan for Senate Presidency, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has withdrawn from Goje’s N5billion fraud case.
The Office of the Attorney General of the Federation on Friday allegedly announced it was taking over the prosecution of Goje.
The surprising development came after Goje met with President Muhammadu Buhari who he (Goje) said asked him to drop his ambition to become the 9th Assembly Senate President and declare his support for his party’s choice, Senator Ahmed Lawan.
Naija Buzz reported how Goje, Senator Lawan, Senator-elect Uba Sani and Governor Nasir El-Rufai met with President Buhari over the forthcoming election of the National Assembly principal officers.
EFCC’s withdrawal from Goje’s billion naira fraud case is apparently part of the deal to make him step down for the choice of his party, the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC).
Goje however told State House correspondents after stepping down that he wasn’t compelled to do so. He noted that he decided to drop his ambition because of his respect for Buhari and for the unity of his party (APC).
APC and its leaders including Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu had endorsed Lawan to emerge as the next President of the Senate.
Goje and Senator Ali Ndume had however rejected their party’s decision and declared their intentions to contest the position against their party’s choice.
Ndume who is also an APC member in his statement after Goje’s withdrawal still insisted on contesting against Lawan, saying that Goje only stepped down for the top candidates for the position.
It however appears like Goje’s decision has earned him immunity from prosecution.
The EFCC had accused him of forging a resolution by the Gombe State House of Assembly to collect a N5billion loan from Access Bank when he was Governor of Gombe State between 2003 – 2011. He has been facing trial for years at the Federal High Court in Jos, Plateau State.
Justice Babatunde Quadri of the Jos High Court had dismissed 19 charges the EFCC brought against Goje but however retained 2.
Not satisfied with the High Court ruling, the anti-graft approached the Court of Appeal in Jos to nullify the High Court decision on the 19 charges.
The EFCC has however suddenly decided to withdraw from the case and handed it over to the Office of the AGF.
Ibrahim Kenneth Suleiman is the Chief Political Editor at Naija Buzz News Network. He is a graduate of political science from the prestigious Ahmadu Bello University Zaria, Kaduna State. He specializes in preparing/approving of political news contents before publication. He currently heads Naija Buzz News team of political correspondents. From Nasarawa State, North-Central Nigeria, Ibrahim is a strong supporter of Manchester United Football Club England.