Ekiti State Governor, Ayodele Fayose, has promised to buy new cars for the just-released Commissioner for Finance, Toyin Ojo and the Accountant General, Mrs Yemisi Owolabi, who were arrested by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission on an alleged misappropriation of bailout funds by the Ayodele Fayose Administration.
The gesture he said was in appreciation of their loyalty to the state. They were released after spending 14 days in the custody of the anti-graft agency.
Fayose, who made the promise at a reception organised for the duo at the Fajuyi Park in Ado-Ekiti, described the EFCC as a ‘senseless’ organisation.
He said, “They (EFCC) have made you stronger because I have passed through that ordeal before. They wanted information to incriminate me but they can’t get because I’m transparent in financial handlings. As soon as I can I will buy the two of you new cars.”
The governor added, “The EFCC is a senseless body, because if it is 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 was orchestrated by Ekiti indigenes in collaboration with the EFCC.
“I will never go and beg the EFCC, it will rather beg me. I won’t negotiate anything because I am not afraid of them. There was a subsisting court order that barred them from arresting any official of this state, but they breached the law.
“By the grace of God, I will restructure the EFCC when I become the president of this nation. I will reorganise the EFCC and make it look responsible. They detained me in 2008, but I won them in court, because the Most High God was on my side.
“They said the NNPC Group Managing Director awarded $25bn 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 the EFCC protecting?
“This was the way the Department of State Services arrested Afolabi Akanni. They even stopped the state allocation at a time, but whatever they do, Ekiti shall put them to shame,” the governor said.
The governor accused President Muhammadu Buhari of punishing the citizens of the state illegally by not constructing any road in the state since he came into office.
Narrating their ordeal in the EFCC custody, Ojo stated that the anti-graft agency begged to release them after it found nothing incriminating against them.
“I want to thank our governor and the Ekiti people, particularly workers for their prayers. The EFCC found it difficult to prosecute us because they lacked evidence.
“Fayose by his conduct boxed the EFCC into a corner, because you need not fear when you have committed no crime. By our arrests, it was clear that the 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 Ekiti State House of Assembly, Kola Oluwawole, and the state Chairman of the Nigeria Labour Congress, Ade Adesanmi, alleged that the EFCC was still planning to arrest more officials, saying the state would resist such attempt with the last drop of their blood.
Oluwawole described the 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 EFCC.
Also, the state’s Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice, Kolapo Kolade, chastised the EFCC for the “unlawful” detention of the just-released officials of the state.
According to him, the two officials were arrested to intimidate and harass Fayose.
He said, “Today, October 12, is exactly two weeks that they were unlawfully arrested, incarcerated and subjected to mental, emotional and physical torture by the agents of darkness called the EFCC for no just cause in an attempt to harass, oppress and intimidate our governor and our dear state.
“We have no thanks to them for releasing the government’s officials as we know it is not in their character to do so, except for the intervention of God and the judiciary.
“Those who plunged our state into debt are walking freely on the streets while the EFCC is looking the other way despite available and verifiable evidence against them.”
In July, Ekiti state acknowledged receiving N4.7 billion as Paris Club refund, according to a statement by the special assistant to the governor on public communication and new media, Lere Olayinka.
The pay advice form showed that N4, 772,836,647.08 was the amount credited to the state account by the Federal Government. The state also earlier got N8.8 billion, out of which the Local Councils got N3.4 billion.
Since the money, got into government coffers, there had been allegations that it was diverted and not used to pay outstanding salaries and pensions.