Governor Ayodele Fayose of Ekiti state, on Tuesday, October 9, has slammed a N20 billion suit on the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) for placing him on a security watch list and directing that he should be arrested if he attempted to travel out of the country.
He said the order by the EFCC was given despite realising that he is a sitting governor conferred with constitutional immunity against any criminal proceedings.
He said that the action of the EFCC not only breached his constitutional immunity, but that it also exposed him to public opium and ridicule.
He added that directing that he should be arrested was anathema to the laws of the land.
In a letter by his counsel, Obafemi Adewale, dated September 3, 2018, the governor had given EFCC 72 hours to withdraw the request/directive to security agencies to place him on security watch list and publish a written apology the law enforcement organisations, three national newspapers and the social media.
In a statement by Lere Olayinka, Fayose's spokesperson, and obtained by NAIJ.com, the governor said that consequent upon EFCC's failure to accede to his demands as contained in the letter, his counsel filed the suit number FHC/ABJ/CS/1087/2018 in Abuja on Friday, 5.
"It should be recalled that EFCC had tweeted on July 16, 2018 through its official twitter handle @officialEFCC concerning Governor Fayose that: 'The parri 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'.
"In the suit, Governor Fayose is seeking among other things; an order of the court mandating the EFCC to pay the sum of N20 billion as general damages for what he called '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'," the statement said.
The governor demanded that the EFCC should tender a written apology, which should be circulated to all security agencies in Nigeria and same should be published in at least three widely read national newspapers and through the social media.
Fayose is also seeking a declaration that the statements contained in the EFCC letter dated September 12, 2018, and addressed to all security agencies in Nigeria portrayed him as a criminal, a fugitive and a run-away from the law, and that the statements are not true, are malicious, are not fair statements.
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He wants the court to further declare: “that the EFCC 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 the him with immunity against arrest and prosecution as an incumbent governor.”
“That the tweet by the defendant (EFCC) through its official twitter handle, which was widely circulated through social media and published on Punch newspaper (online) of 16th July, 2018, with the particulars 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.”
NAIJ.com earlier reported that the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) said it recovered over N1.5bn in cash from the south-south geo-political zone between the second and third quarters of 2018.
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