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Eighth Ex-Nigerian Governor Charged With Corruption


The former governor of Nigeria's southern Edo state has been charged with corruption, the eighth former governor to face corruption charges. Gilbert da Costa has more in this report from Abuja.

Former Nigerian state governor Lucky Igbinedion was one of President Umaru YarAdua's main backers in the process leading to his nomination as the ruling party's presidential candidate last year.

Prosecutors say he stole about $25 million during his eight-year tenure. He was charged on Wednesday with more than 150 counts of embezzlement and money laundering.

The former governor had been on the run since May 2007, before turning himself in Monday to the anti-graft agency, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission.

A reporter in Benin City, the capital of Edo state, Richard Amayo, says Igbinedion's arrest and prosecution have sparked widespread celebration.

"As far as they were concerned, he was a disaster," Amayo said. "Now that he flew into the country and gave himself up, the Edo people are now happy that at last the man that stole their money has been arrested."

State governors in Nigeria cannot face charges while in office because they enjoy constitutional immunity from prosecution.

President Umaru YarAdua was elected last May declaring zero tolerance for corruption. But critics remain skeptical about his willingness to go after some of the country's more powerful politicians, including former president Olusegun Obasanjo, against whom corruption allegations have surfaced.

The president insists he will not protect his allies should they be indicted.


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