Mallam Nasir el-Rufai returns, dares EFCC

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Former Minister of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Mallam Nasir el-Rufai returned to the country in the early hours of yesterday after months of self-imposed exile characterized by shadow boxing with the Presidency in the active years of ailing President Umaru Yar Adua.

El-Rufai who spoke to reporters that besieged his Jabi, Abuja resident around 2pm yesterday said he returned to the country to see his family

El-Rufai said he is not afraid of any agency that may invite him for questioning over his tenure as the FCT Minister.

‘I am not rattled by any anti-graft agency. I am back in the country to see my family. I am still looking at what the Federal Government is doing, I will comment on it at a later date, I will address a world press conference when I settle down" he said

It could be recalled that the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC had summoned the former Minister who has been out of the country since he left office to answer some questions.

He had been questioned over shady deals in Land Administration in the EFCC in the last days of his administration as the FCT Minister. El-Rufai said he is working with other Nigerians to promote fair participation of Nigerians in their own governance. He said numerous opportunities exist to take control from the corrupt elites and return governance to the people.

In a terse speech, he said "I am happy to be back." el-Rufai commended the steps taken by the Acting President, Goodluck Jonathan to sanitise the nation’s electoral system.

In another statement made available to The Nation, he said "Through it all, I have retained my faith in Nigeria, its people and its possibilities. I have been encouraged by the appreciation my compatriots continue to show for my contributions in public service. It is also fitting that I thank all those groups and persons that have supported me in very trying moments.

"I salute Nigerians for their growing insistence that this country can and should be better run. This is further cause for hope because it shows that there is an abiding faith that this can yet become a great country in fact, and not just by aspiration.

"It is my hope that Nigerians in the Diaspora, spread across the world; Nigerians who love their country; who understand its vast potential, feel compelled to return to Nigeria. There is a small window of opportunity to build a new Nigeria – where the government is accountable to its people; where civil society becomes the guardian of its democracy.

He said further "We need to work with those "agents of change" to ensure a free and fair election in Nigeria.  Towards this end, I applaud the decisive actions of acting President Goodluck Jonathan in setting a new direction for good governance, and most recently, for paving the way for the re-constitution of the Independent National Electoral Commission.

"Many of the false allegations have since been dropped and it is instructive to note that only one criminal charge has been filed against me after over two years of extensive and endless investigations. It is my intention to vigorously defend the spurious charge and work within the legal system to exonerate myself.


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