The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has arrested Babayo Ardo, a Permanent Secretary in the Federal Ministry of Niger Delta Affairs, for allegedly misappropriating N5 billion.
According to reports, he was arrested and interrogated by the anti-graft agency on Thursday in Abuja.
Ardo was accused of breaking civil service rules prohibiting serving civil servants from participating in political activities just a few weeks ago.
Ardo had announced his intention to run for governor of Gombe State on the Peoples Democratic Party platform, and he had taken part in the screening process without resigning.
This is despite a circular from the Federation’s Head of Service, which reiterated the law’s position prohibiting civil servants from participating in nominations or party primaries, an order that he clearly disobeyed.
After the primary, he was unable to secure the PDP Bauchi gubernatorial ticket.
In a petition signed by Sani Kabiru, the leader of the Concerned PDP Vanguard, to both the party and his employers, the Federal Government, Kabiru reiterated that allowing people who do not respect the rules of political engagement to participate in the party’s processes would be counterproductive.
“In light of the foregoing, we would like to bring Ardo’s behavior to the attention of the PDP’s leadership as well as the federal government, where he is still employed.”
The group stated, “It is our informed opinion that the screening team should not have attended to him knowing full well that he is a serving permanent secretary who has not presented a letter of resignation or termination of appointment.”
Another group, the Ethics and Corporate Compliance Institute of Nigeria (ECCIN), petitioned the party’s National Chairman, Dr. Iyorcha Ayu, about his disobedience of the civil service rule shortly before his participation in the screening exercise.
According to the group, the party could be disqualified from running for governor because it would be unable to field a candidate if Babayo was elected because his candidacy violated public service rules.
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