The outgoing Governor of Ekiti State, Ayodele Peter Fayose has slammed A N20bn suit against the EFCC for placing him on a watch list and also directing security agencies to arrest him, if he attempts to travel out of the country.
In the suit, Fayose argued that the Commission’s directive against him despite being a sitting governor was a breach of his constitutional immunity thereby exposing him to ridicule in the court of public opinion.
Before instigating the suit, Ayodele Fayose had written a letter through his counsel, Obafemi Adewale dated September 3, 2018 to the EFCC to withdraw its request/directive to security agencies and publish a written apology in three national newspapers and the social media within 72 hours.
In a fresh statement issued on Tuesday, Fayose’s Special Assistant on Public Communications and New Media, Lere Olayinka, said the suit was a direct consequence of the refusal of the EFCC to accede to the governor’s demands.
The EFCC had tweeted through its official handle @officialEFCC on July 16 in an apparent shade to Fayose that;
“The parri (party) is over, the cloak of immunity is torn apart and the staff broken, Ekiti Integrated Poultry/Biological Concepts Limited N1.3bn fraud case file dusted off the shelves. See you soon.”
Fayose’s libel suit cited the above tweet as evidence of the libel against him by the EFCC while he prayed that the court grant an order court mandating the EFCC to pay the sum of N20bn as general damages to what according to him was a;
“flagrant, deliberate, pre-meditated and reckless libel and unprovoked attack on his character and reputation and the breach of his constitutional right/immunity as an incumbent governor.”
He also asked the court to order the EFCC to tender a written apology, which should be circulated to all security agencies in Nigeria and that same should also be published in at least three widely read national newspapers as well as the social media.
Fayose further prayed the court that the commission should issue a declaration stating that the contents of a statement it issued on September 12, 2018, which was also addressed to all security agencies in Nigeria portraying him as a criminal, a fugitive and a run-away from the law, were not true, were malicious, and largely unfair.
He asked therefore asked the court to further declare
“that the EFCC’s letter placing him on watch list and directing his arrest on sight even while a sitting governor is unconstitutional as same offends the clear provision of Section 308 of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (as amended) which clothes him with immunity against arrest and prosecution as an incumbent governor.
That the tweet by the defendant (the EFCC) through its official twitter handle, which was widely circulated through social media and published in Punch Newspaper (online) of 16th July, 2018, with the particular wordings pleaded in the statement of claim filed along with this Writ is not true, is malicious, is not a fair statement and presents the plaintiff as a fraudster thereby ridiculing him and reducing him in the eyes of reasonable and right-thinking members of the society.”