The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has opened an investigation into possible corrupt enrichment by Hassan Danbaba, a grandson of Sir Ahmadu Bello, a former Premier of Nigeria’s Northern Region who was also the Sardauna of Sokoto.

Mr. Danbaba is accused of partaking in the illegal sharing of funds meant to go to Nigerian states as refunds from excess payments to the Paris Club, an international lender. An EFCC source told SaharaReporters that Mr. Danbaba is facing investigation for reportedly pocketing some of the refunds as a consultant and at the same collecting millions of Naira from the Taraba State government for a contract he
has so far refused to implement.

SaharaReporters learned that the Taraba contract was awarded to Sardauna’s grandson by former Governor Danbaba Suntai who passed away last week. Our source said Mr. Danbaba apparently
abandoned the contract soon after Mr. Suntai got involved in a plane crash in Yola in 2012.

The EFCC source said the anti-corruption agency began the investigation on account of a petition signed and submitted by several indigenes of Taraba State.

SaharaReporters learned that Mr. Danbaba has made several desperate moves to scuttle the EFCC’s investigation. A source in Sokoto revealed that the Sardauna’s grandson sought to get the Sultanate Council to pressure both the EFCC and senior officials of President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration to abandon the investigation into his Taraba contract. According to the source, the Sultan of Sokoto, Muhammadu Sa’ad Abubakar III , insisted that the Palace would have nothing to do with the issue.

Our source also revealed that the Sultan’s refusal to use the considerable weight of his traditional office to obstruct the EFCC’s investigation so angered the late Sardauna’s grandson that he recently walked out on senior counselors and other traditional kingmakers during a recent meeting at the Palace.

“As you may be aware, Danbaba is contesting for the title of Marafan Sokoto in the Palace with former Minister of Youth, Inuwa Abdulkadir.

“When the contest got heated, with counter accusations and lawsuits, he Sultan sought to broker peace and directed the former Governor of old Sokoto State, Malam Yahaya Abdulkarim, to lead the process,” said our source.

He added: “After the peace parley, the EFCC wrote to Alhaji Danbaba requesting he appear before them to explain his dubious role in the Paris Club refunds issue, and also to brief them on the contract he abandoned in Taraba after collecting funds.

“Sensing the opportunity to involve the Sultanate Council, he asked the kingmakers to intervene and seek a soft landing for him. That effort was rebuffed, and it was made clear to him that the Palace would not be involved in his personal dealings.

“He was advised to allow the law take its course. He was told that if he was innocent of the charges as claimed, he has no reason to fear.

“He then flared up and walked out on the meeting, threatening the Sultan and warning that he may not last long on his seat if he can’t stand by his close associates.”

Two of the petitioners who triggered the EFCC’s investigation told our correspondent that they were outraged by Mr. Danbaba’s decision to ditch a state contract for which he had been paid a significant sum. One of the petitioners said he and others were angry that the late Sardauna’s grandson also hurriedly abandoned his contractual obligations to Taraba State once then Governor Suntai sustained serious injuries in a crash of a small plane he was piloting. “Alhaji Danbaba’s attitude was inhuman,” the source said.

Sa’adu Abubakar, Sultan of Sokoto

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