The file the police said it found during a raid on the home of Senator Danjuma Goje regarding how a popular Islamic cleric, Ja’afar Adam, was murdered are actually media reports already in public domain, the senator’s aide has told PREMIUM TIMES.
The Nigerian Police had on Thursday said apart from the millions of cash it found in the Asokoro residence of Mr. Goje, it also found other documents including "a file containing write-ups on how Governor Shekarau plotted the assassination of Sheikh Ja’afar."
When PREMIUM TIMES visited the senator’s residence on Saturday, we were told that he had gone to the office to attend to “urgent matters relating to Budget 2017 which might be laid at Plenary next week” .
However, some of his aides while responding to our inquiries said they were shocked by the police claim.
“The Senator has made it clear he had nothing to do with the alleged documents on the murder of Sheikh Ja’afar,” one of them, Abbas Saleh, said.
He said what the police found was a printout of a report published by SaharaReporters in 2009.
“It is therefore something that has been in public domain,” Mr. Saleh said. “Do you think if the Police had found anything incriminating, they would still have been silent?”
Checks by PREMIUM TIMES show that news website, SaharaReporters, had actually published a report on April 12, 2009 titled “Revealed: How Gov. Shekarau Plotted the Assassination of Sheikh Ja’afar“.
Mr. Shekarau himself has threatened to sue the Nigerian Police for defamation of character over the allegation.
Speaking to the Hausa service of the BBC via his spokesperson, Sule Ya’u, which was monitored on Saturday, the former governor said he suspected that the document the Police said they found in Mr. Goje’s House was an old one written by the then Kano State opposition camp to unfairly blame him for the murder of the cleric.
“I also have that document. Several other people here in Kano also have it and I am sure it is the the same document that former Governor Goje also has. If it is a different one, the police should come out and explain to Nigerians,” he said.
Sheikh Ja’afar was gunned down inside a mosque as he observed the early morning prayer on April 13, 2007.
Opinions were divided at the time as to those behind the murder. While, some belief the Sheikh was killed by the extremist group, Boko Haram, many others said Mr. Shekarau, governor of Kano at the time, might be behind the murder because the cleric was one of his major critics.
Boko Haram never claimed responsibility for the murder and the Police are yet to inform Nigerians on how far it has gone in investigating those behind crime.
Police spokesperson, Jimoh Moshood, could not be reached for comments Sunday morning.
However, a Force Headquarters source familiar with the matter told PREMIUM TIMES all the materials found at Mr. Goje’s residence in connection with the murder were genuine.
“The files were recovered and serious investigation is currently ongoing to examine why the senator was in possession of such documents,” the source said, asking not to be named because he had no permission from his superiors to discuss the matter with journalists.
But Mr. Goje’s aides suggested the Senator was being “targeted” by politicians because of his rising profile.
“If you look at our political big wigs from the north-east today, next to Atiku is Senator Goje who refused to abandon the grassroots,” Mr. Saleh said. “I am sure that is why they are using the police to bring him down, God will not let them succeed.”