Former Adamawa State Governor Murtala Hammanyero Nyako has fled to Europe to escape federal prosecutors who have been looking for him, security sources said yesterday.
Nyako was impeached by the State House of Assembly on Tuesday for alleged gross misconduct and abuse of office, but his supporters said he was removed for accusing President Goodluck Jonathan of fanning Boko Haram activities in the North – accusation federal officials regard as treasonable.
The former governor has not been seen in public since last week, sparking speculations that he has either been arrested or has gone into hiding.
But security sources told Daily Trust that he had fled the country despite a serious surveillance mounted on him.
They said he first fled to Ghana where he took a flight to Europe, adding that he was last sighted in Paris on Friday. Daily Trust could not independently verify the claims but searches at both his Adamawa and Abuja abodes in the last one week have shown that the former governor was at neither places.
A source in Yola told Daily Trust that Nyako has been having telephone conversations with some members of his family from a European country where he is currently residing. The source did not disclose the name of the country.
Security sources said Nyako’s escape was coordinated by a former top security officer who hails from Adamawa State. They alleged that it was done with the connivance of officials of some federal agencies.
It was unclear whether it was done with the tacit approval of some government officials who might consider his escape a better option than arresting him, given the negative public opinion his impeachment has generated.
But sources said there were also many government officials who are bent on seeing that the former naval chief is prosecuted.
He was reportedly placed under surveillance even before his removal from office, and security agents were ordered to arrest him as soon as the state legislators impeached him. It was unclear why he was not immediately arrested after his removal.
Nyako left Yola for Abuja about two days to his removal on July 15. His last major function in the state capital was on Saturday, July 12, when he addressed his supporters who paid him a solidarity visit.
Most of his aides believe that he was in Abuja on the day he was impeached. His whereabouts remain a top secret among close family members and top aides.
The spokesman of the former governor, Ahmad Sajoh, declined to comment on his principal’s whereabouts. But he said “he is doing fine; (he is) hearty and healthy. The security agencies should continue to look for him.”
Sajoh told Daily Trust that security personnel had called severally at the office of one of Nyako’s daughters, Zainab, who is a practising lawyer in Abuja, making inquiries. But he said apart from that no other member of the family has been harassed.
He described the removal of Nyako as an illegal act hatched to frame the former governor for offences he did not commit.
“For the Acting Governor to go to PDP secretariat and say he reclaimed a stolen mandate shows the criminal mind-set of those who were used to remove him from office because Nyako was legally elected by Adamawa people,” he said.
He said Nyako would never retract his memo (in which he accused Jonathan administration of complicity in Boko Haram activities – and for which, some say, he may face prosecution).
Sajoh insisted that the memo was based on the information available to the former governor and careful analysis of insecurity situation in the northern part of the country.
Officials of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (FFCC) are also looking for the former governor over his handling of the state’s finances.
Many of his top aides, including the just removed Secretary to the State Government Kobis Ari Thimnu and former commissioner for Local Government Affairs Dr Salihu Bakari, who is also a son in-law, as well as his top banker and several government officials had been quizzed by the EFCC.
Many of them were detained for days before they were released on bail. Some of them have been reporting regularly to the commission, EFCC officials said.
Content Credit: Daily Trust Newspaper