Farouk Lawan, the former House of Representatives member, who bagged a 7-year jail term on Tuesday was a household name inside the green chamber of the National Assembly.
After eight years of legal tussle, a Federal Capital Territory (FCT) High Court finally passed its judgement in the bribery scandal involving Lawan popularly known as ‘Mr Integrity’.
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Lawan was jailed after being found guilty of soliciting bribe from billionaire businessman, Femi Otedola, during the probe of fuel subsidy in 2012.
Otedola had accused Lawan of making a demand of $3 million for Zenon Petroleum and Gas Limited, his company, to be delisted from companies being probed.
Below are five interesting things to know about Farouk Lawan:
Farouk Lawan was born on July 6th, 1962 in his hometown of Shanono in Kano State. He grew up in Kano where he attended primary, secondary and tertiary schools.
Lawan, who obtained his first degree at the Bayero University, Kano, started his career as a registrar at the Kano State Polytechnic. He later went into politics and became a force to reckon with.
16 years as a lawmaker
He first came into the political scene in 1999 when he contested for a seat in the House to represent Bagwai/Shanono Federal Constituency of Kano State under the People’s Democratic Party (PDP). He served in the House for 16 years from 1999 to 2015. He suffered his first electoral defeat in the hands of Sule Aliyu Romo.
Lawan was arguably the most vocal in the lower legislative chamber before the scandal. His fierce legislative prowess and perceived uncompromising nature, despite wavering storm by strong political opposition, earned him the moniker ‘Mr. Integrity’.
Led The Campaign for The Removal of Patricia Etteh
Lawan led the campaign which forced the first Female Speaker of the House of Representatives, Patricia Eteh, to resign in 2007. Lawan’s group accused Eteh of unlawfully spending N620 million to upgrade her official residence, and also awarding contracts to her cronies.
The Scandal/Road to Prison
In 2012, Lawan chaired the House of Representatives committee that investigated the Nigerian government’s fuel subsidies. The committee was set up in the wake of nationwide strikes in Nigeria after President Goodluck Jonathan removed fuel subsidy. Lawan’s committee said in its report that it discovered a lot of fraudulent activities. It said a whooping $6.8million was paid for petroleum products subsidy that were never delivered. Lawan, got enmeshed in bribery scandal in the course of its investigation of companies indicted in the fuel subsidy scandal. In a meeting with billionaire oil magnate Femi Otedola,
Lawan was seen on tape receiving $500,000 in order to cancel the former’s name from the report before presenting the report to the House. While the bribery scandal did not only dent his anti-corruption stance, it also affected his chance of returning to the green chamber in 2015. In the course of the trial, Otedola had insisted that the operation (to give bribe to Lawan) was done with the full knowledge of the DSS in the bid to “catch a corrupt politician in the act”. While Lawan admitted to receiving the amount, he however insisted it was meant to expose the businessman, and to convince the House of the pressure its committee investigating fuel subsidy fraud, faced. For 8 years, Lawan was a regular visitor in courtrooms to prove his ‘innocence’ of the allegations leveled against him. However, the trial judge, Justice Angella Otaluka convicted Lawan on three-count charge on Tuesday.