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Nigeria’s ex-opposition spokesman jailed seven years for graft

A Nigerian court on Tuesday sentenced a former spokesman of the country’s main opposition party to seven years in prison after convicting him of corruption and money laundering.

Judge Okon Abang of the federal high court in the capital Abuja pronounced Olisa Metuh guilty of all seven charges put to him by Nigeria’s anti-graft agency, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).

“This case is a lesson to others,” the judge said.

Metuh was convicted of fraudulently receiving 400 million naira ($1.1 million, 945,000 euros) from ex-president Goodluck Jonathan’s national security adviser, Sambo Dasuki.

Dasuki, who is being tried separately, is accused of diverting $2 billion in defence funds meant to equip Nigeria’s military against Boko Haram.

Metuh, a former spokesman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), claimed he received the money on Jonathan’s orders to fund his unsuccessful re-election campaign in 2015, where he lost to President Muhammadu Buhari.

Jonathan ignored court summons to testify at the trial, while Dasuki said he could not remember anything about the deal when he testified before the court.

Metuh’s conviction is a key victory for President Buhari, who was re-elected in 2019, promising again to curb endemic corruption in Africa’s most populous country.

Yet the 77-year-old former military general has been accused of targeting opposition figures and absolving members of his own party, which he has denied.

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