His relationship with the late military ruler, Gen. Sanni Abacha was said to be more than ordinary as he was said to have helped the maximum ruler siphoned most of his alleged stolen wealth from the nation’s treasury.
Years after, the Governor of Kebbi State, Abubakar Bagudu is still facing the consequences of his actions as the news of his arrest in the United States of America recently was in public domain.
With this came the allegation that the Governor spoilt his second wife and daughter of the former National Security Adviser (NSO), Alhaji Umaru Shinkafi, Dr. Zainab Shinkafi Bagudu with some of the stolen loot of Abacha.
There are even talks from those close to the woman that her husband provided the millions of naira she used to establish her upscale well equipped hospital in Abuja, reputed to be one of the country’s best.
It was also said that the take-off of her NGO was bankrolled with the illicit funds.
Sources stressed that Governor Bagudu ensured that Dr. Zainab had all she needed for her business and spent millions of naira to assist her allegedly from the ill-gotten gains.
But another source claimed that Zainab’s father left the children a lot of wealth and that nothing like ‘Abacha loot’ could be traced to her.
They insisted that Zainab had enough education and rich family background that could give her all that she wanted in life and that she couldn’t have depended on any man.
“The tales are unfounded. Zainab is from a rich home and I can tell you that she had enough to start her hospital and NGO projects.
“Whatever her husband must have done in the past or what he is now cannot affect the woman in any way.
“She had all she needed for her business and she is well educated to get the best in life as a trained medical doctor,” said a source, who added that the allegations were figment of the imagination of mischief makers.
For the records, Her Excellency, Dr. Zainab Shinkafi-Bagudu is a Paediatric Consultant, and a loud voice in the fight against cancer and a child’s right advocate.
She is the First Lady of Kebbi State, a platform that has turned her into a role model in the state and beyond. Her advocacy for women, children and the youth in Kebbi State and Northern Nigeria, cuts across health, education and skills acquisition.
Dr. Zainab Bagudu obtained her MBBS (Bachelor of Medicine) from the prestigious Ahmadu Bello University Zaria followed by a specialist training in Paediatrics and Neonatology in the United Kingdom. Amongst other academic qualification, she has a Masters in Paediatrics, a Diploma in Tropical Child Health and membership of the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health.
News had filtered to town that her husband and Kebbi Governor, Abubakar Bagudu was a bagman for the infamous late military dictator, Sani Abacha.
Abacha, who died in 1998, was a relentless kleptocrat who stole an estimated $2.2 billion from the country’s coffers.
Court documents revealed that Mr Bagudu was the gas that powered Mr Abacha’s extensive money laundering operations.
Working with some members of his own family, top members of the regime and Mohammed, Mr Abacha’s eldest son, prosecutors claimed that the governor was used an intricate network of phoney companies to siphon several millions of dollars from government treasury into offshore bank accounts operated by himself and the Abachas.
It was alleged that the money-laundering operations Mr Bagudu ran on behalf of Mr Abacha are well-documented in suits filed in the United States and the Bailiwick of Jersey, a British Crown dependency in the Channel Islands.
But what many Nigerians may not know was that Mr Bagudu, who now enjoys immunity from prosecution by virtue of being a governor, was once arrested for his role in the Abacha money laundering enterprise and spent six months in a US federal detention.
In 2003, five years after the death of Mr Abacha, it became clear that the military tyrant stole billions of dollars from the country’s treasury. Because some of these illicit funds were traced to Jersey, authorities of the Island nation requested the help of US authorities to arrest and extradite Mr Bagudu, who at the time had lived in Texas for three years.
We gathered that Bagudu was subsequently arrested and kept in federal detention for six months while awaiting extradition to Jersey to answer questions about funds traced to the account of Doraville Properties Corp. a company managed by Mr Bagudu and Mohammed, with accounts at Deutsche Bank International, Jersey.
Sources stated that before he was handed over to authorities at Jersey, Bagudu quickly negotiated a deal with the US and Jersey authorities to “return more than $163 million of the allegedly laundered assets to Nigeria in exchange for Jersey’s withdrawal of the extradition request and his return to Nigeria,” a court document allegedly revealed.
“The court document is a January 2019 ruling of a US District Court of Columbia between the US government versus the assets held in Doraville Properties Account 80020796 at Deutsche Bank, represented by Ibrahim, who is the only person still laying claim to the $287 million in the account.
“The court document explained that after the US government filed a civil forfeiture of the assets in the said account, several people made claims to the assets all of which were struck out.
“The only remaining third-party claim in this litigation is Bagudu’s (Ibrahim) asserted claim to certain defendant assets, which is based on an annuity he receives from investment portfolios in which the defendant assets are held,” so we gathered.
Following the deal with Jersey and the US government, Bagudu was reportedly released on bond and repatriated to Nigeria to face trial. Evidence gathered in Jersey and in Switzerland were also sent to Nigeria to aid Nigeria’s Attorney General in his trial.
“However, since his return, he has not been questioned over his involvement in the Abacha loot but was instead cleared to contest in three different election circles – one as a senator and two as governor – all of which he won,” a source said.