The detained former Governor of Katsina State, Alh. Ibrahim Shema, on Wednesday insisted that he is a victim of political persecution.
Shema is currently in the custody of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) in connection with the ongoing probe of the alleged N74.6billion fraud.
The former Governor maintained that he is also ready to defend himself based on the fairness, justice and the rule of law.
However, Shema faulted Governor Aminu Bello Masari for advising him to go and defend his reputation.
Shema, who made his views known in a statement through the Head of his Media Team, Oluwabusola Olawale, said that he should be charged according to the rule of law not according to political and media trial which is presently the trend.
The statement said: “Our attention has been drawn to the statement credited to Governor Aminu Bello Masari in the media offering unsolicited advice to former Governor Ibrahim Shehu Shema on the need to defend his reputation.
“ That has been our position since Governor Masari embarked on character assassination and witch hunting of Ibrahim Shema, we have said it several times that Shema should be charged according to the rule of law not political and media trial which is presently the trend.
“It is curious and surprising that more than a year that Governor Masari has been telling the whole world through over 100 radio, television and newspapers interviews that he has evidence to prosecute Ibrahim Shehu Shema of PDP, he has failed to prosecute and charge Shema to the court of competent jurisdiction with his evidence yet he has pronounced Shema guilty of the offences through the media without trial.
“Governor Aminu Bello Masari further exposed himself and his hatred for Shema in his statement published on Wednesday, September 21, 2016 in some selected newspapers when he stated that ” our advice to the former Katsina state Governor is that he should be manly enough to bear his cross without casting himself as an injured party innocent of the offences he willfully committed.”
“With this statement, Governor Masari of APC has pronounced Shema guilty of offences without trial and we are leaving the rest to the public to judge.”
Shema insisted that his travails were nothing but political persecution.
The statement added: “So far we have been vindicated that Shema is facing nothing but political persecution. This is further confirmed by the fact that the government is yet to charge Ibrahim Shehu Shema to court for any of the offences he was said to have committed despite more than a year of investigation by Governor Masari of APC by setting up over 13 different committees populated by APC card carrying members/ even members of his cabinet, a judicial commission of inquiry which is currently sitting in Katsina, ICPC and EFCC, etc, all these for just one man who served Katsina state as a Governor for 8 years without obtaining any loan both local and foreign; not owing workers any salary arrears as at May 29,2015; executed numerous laudable projects that have become a nightmare to his predecessor, and left a debt free state.
“We are not surprised that Governor Masari is now denying the fact that he is the sole architect of Ibrahim Shehu Shema witch hunting using the institutions of government through his wicked allegations and frivolous petitions.
“We are not surprised that Governor Masari of APC in his publication changed the EFCC figure of N68 billion to N106 billion as the amount of which EFCC is investigating Shema activities as a governor; we are not surprised about the denials and daily changing the figure of allegations because that is his traits.
“It is a public knowledge the claims of Governor Masari that he inherited empty treasury from his predecessor only for his Special Adviser on Budget, Abdullahi Imam to disclose on August 24, 2016, during the sitting of the Commission of Inquiry set up by Governor Masari that about N 4 billion was left in the Sure P account by Shema administration.
“Therefore, Governor Masari should not run away from being responsible for witch hunting Ibrahim Shehu Shema and whatever happens to the former Governor through this political persecution, he will be held responsible.
“On the issue of declaration of Shema wanted by the EFCC, we have stated the facts and truths in our open letter to the Acting Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) and if Governor Masari has now become the spokesman for EFCC we are not going to join issues with him.
“Our appeal to the institution of government like EFCC and its respected leadership who has reputation to protect, is not to allow its image to be tarnished through the desperation of Governor Masari of APC to destroy Ibrahim Shehu Shema, the Commission should allow fairness, justice and rule of law to prevail against Governor Masari wicked, malicious and spurious allegations.
“Our position still remains the same, that former Governor Ibrahim Shehu Shema of PDP is ready to defend himself based on the fairness, justice and rule of law against the malicious and frivolous petitions of Governor Masari of APC, but not political and media trial.