The immediate past governor of Ekiti State, Mr. Ayodele Fayose, may stay longer than he anticipated in the detention camp of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, if reports that just filtered in are to be held sacrosanct.
The anti-graft agency has reportedly obtained a court order to detain the outspoken former governor for at least two weeks pending the conclusion of investigation.
Fayose, whose second term as Ekiti State’s helmsman expired midnight on Monday, October 15, 2018, had stormed the Wuse 2, Abuja Headquarters of the EFCC, Tuesday, October 16, to report to the agency as he promised while he held sway in Government House, Ado-Ekiti.
The anti-graft agency is grilling Fayose for allegedly receiving N1.3 billion from the office of the former National Security Adviser, Colonel Sambo Dasuki (retired). The largesse was allegedly funnelled through an ex-Minister of State for Defence, Senator Musiliu Obanikoro, during the build-up to the 2014 governorship election in Ekiti State.
The Punch, a leading newspaper in Nigeria, which broke the story, Thursday, quoted an EFCC source as saying: “We have obtained a court order to hold Fayose for at least two weeks pending investigation. He could be released earlier or later than two weeks depending on the outcome of investigation.”
The newspaper also quoted sources who reportedly further revealed that Fayose was also being scrutinised by the agency allegedly receiving kickbacks from government contractors through his aide, Abiodun Agbele.
Agbele is currently being prosecuted for alleged fraud.
“We have many cases against Fayose being handled by three different teams,” the source further revealed to the paper. “We cannot just arraign him immediately. We want to do a thorough job before taking him to court.”
But in a swift reaction, Fayose’s lawyer, Chief Mike Ozekhome, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria, S.A.N., told the newspaper that the EFCC would have violated the ex-governor’s fundamental human rights if it fails to release him by Thursday.
Ozekhome could not understand why the commission would want to hold Fayose beyond 24 hours as stipulated by law, more so when it had begun to investigate the former governor over two years ago.
The Senior Advocate also disclosed that Fayose cannot be compelled to write any statement as he had the right to keep mute.
He described the move by the EFCC to obtain a detention order as an illegality, adding that the position of the Supreme Court was crystal clear on that.
Ozekhome hinted that the commission having frozen Fayose’s accounts and seized his properties, the embattled ex-governor had nothing to tell commission even as the matter was still in court.
“His lawyers will consider approaching the court for the enforcement of his fundamental human rights if he is not released on Thursday. Section 35 and 36 of the constitution are clear on this.”Ozekhome said. “He is not a flight risk. He willingly submitted himself to the EFCC even earlier than the time he was supposed to come. What the EFCC is doing is nothing but media trial.
“From the way they have been chasing Fayose in the last three years, one would have expected that the EFCC would have completed its investigations and would arrest him immediately his tenure expires and charge him the next day but that is not the case.
“They want him to write a statement by force and then use the statement against him instead of using their own evidence.”