Governor Ayodele Fayose of Ekiti state has lambasted the Economic and Financial Crime Commission (EFCC) over the arrest and detention of his two aides, describing the commission as a ‘senseless’ organization, in dire need of restructuring.
Vanguard reports that Fayose, who vowed to overhaul the anti-graft agency, said he would restructure EFCC when he becomes president in 2019.
“By the grace of God, I will restructure the EFCC when I become the president of this nation”, he said.
Fayose said he would reorganize EFCC and make it looks responsible, adding that, “they detained me in 2008, but I won them in court, because the most high God was on my side.
“EFCC is senseless body, because if they are not senseless, it should have known that the man who wrote the petition had been sacked because he didn’t deserve to be called a civil servant. The arrest of my officials was orchestrated by Ekiti indigenes in collaboration with the EFCC.
“I will never go and beg EFCC, it will rather beg me. I won’t negotiate anything because I am not afraid of them. There was a subsisting court that barred them from arresting any official of this state, but they breached the law.
Fayose, who stated this on Thursday, October 12 during a grand reception organised for his aides who were arrested by the EFCC, promised to buy new cars for the two officials in appreciation of their loyalty to the state.
The arrested Ekiti state commissioner for finance, Toyin Ojo and the Accountant General, Yemisi Owolabi , have disclosed that they could not be charged to court by the anti-graft agency because the petition written against them lacked substance.
They said the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) practically begged them to leave detention when the agency knew that they committed no offence to have warranted arrest, saying “we yielded after much pleading from top EFCC staff”.
The duo said the petition written by a former labour leader , whose name was not mentioned, claiming that the state mismanaged the Paris Club and bailouts allocated to it by the federal government was bereft of substantial evidence that could be used to prosecute them .
They said the petition was written basically to tarnish the government of Ayodele Fayose, who had directed the workers to observe yesterday as a half work day in honour of the freed officials
Ojo said: “I want to thank our governor and Ekiti people, particularly workers for their prayers. The EFCC found it difficult to prosecute us because they lacked evidence.
“Fayose by his conduct boxed EFCC to a corner, because you needed not fear when you committed no crime.
By our arrests, it was clear that EFCC has become an instrument of oppression. “Some states took more than the bailout taken by Ekiti but nothing was done, what is their interest in Ekiti?
“They asked us to sign so that we can leave the detention but we refused. They started begging us before we left”, he said.
The Speaker of the House of Assembly, Hon Kola Oluwawole and the Chairman of the Nigeria Labour Congress, Comrade Ade Adesanmi , alleged that the EFCC was still planning to arrest more officials, saying the state will resist such attempt with the last drop of their blood.
Oluwawole described EFCC as a meddlesome interloper, saying Sections 126 and 127 of the 1999 constitution empowered the assembly to perform oversight functions on state finances and not the statutory duty of the agency.
“They said the NNPC Group Managing Director awarded $25b contracts illegally, the EFCC did nothing. Even the presidency has been the one defending him now. What is their interest in Ekiti? Whose interest is EFCC protecting?”, Fayose asked.
Fayose accused President Muhammadu Buhari of punishing the citizens of this state illegally, saying, “he has not tarred one kilometer of road since he came into office.
“This was the way the DSS arrested Hon Afolabi Akanni. They even stopped the state allocation at a time, but whatever they do, Ekiti shall put them to shame”, the governor said.