Published On: Thu, Oct 4th, 2018

Watch List: Fayose Threatens N20 Billion Suit Against EFCC

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By Sadiq Umar – The governor of Ekiti state, Ayodele Fayose, has vowed to file a N20 billion suit against the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) for placing him on watch list and directing that he should be arrested if he attempted to travel out of the country.

Mr. Fayose said the EFCC’s memo to border security agencies stance placing him on security watch list not only brought him to public ridicule but also violated his constitutional right to immunity as sitting governor.

The governor said he would proceed with the suit if within 72 hours, the EFCC failed to write an apology to him to be published to all security agencies in Nigeria, three national newspapers and the social media as well as withdrawal of the request/directive to security agencies to place him on security watch list.

In a statement by his Special Assistant on Public Communications, Lere Olayinka, in Ado Ekiti on Thursday, the governor threatens that “unless these demands are met within 72 hours of the date of this letter, we shall not hesitate to carry out our client’s firm instruction to proceed forthwith to institute legal action against you to seek appropriate remedies before the law court without any further recourse to you.”

According to Olayinka, the demands were contained in a letter by the governor’s counsel, Obafemi Adewale, dated September 3, 2018, which was received at the Abuja office of the EFCC on Friday.

“By a letter Ref No: 3000/EFCC/ABJ/EG/TA/VOL.59/010 dated 12th September, 2018, you instructed all security agencies in Nigeria, including but not limited to the Nigerian Customs Service, NCC, to place our client on a watch list and to arrest him at sight upon ‘suspicion’ that he might be attempting to flee the country,” the letter read.

“In your exact words, we quote: ‘The under listed suspect is under investigation in connection with the above mentioned offences and there is reasonable suspicion suggesting that he may likely leave the country either through the land borders, airport, or seaport in order to evade investigation. Hence, you are kindly requested to watch-list and arrest him,” it added.

Mr. Fayose said the memo not only exposed him to ridicule, opprobrium, odium and hatred in the eyes of the ordinary man, but run foul of his constitutionally guaranteed right as a sitting governor.

“By these words, you have not only fallen foul of the clear provision of Section 308 of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic which grants our client, as an incumbent governor, immunity from any criminal process/proceedings, you have also exposed our client to ridicule, opprobrium, odium and hatred in the eyes and opinion of the ordinary man on the street and falsely and mischievously portrayed him as a common fugitive, a run-away from the law who could/should be arrested at sight like a dangerous criminal.

“By this act and words, particularly coming after our client had by his letter of 10th September, 2018 duly received in your office on 11th September, 2018 voluntarily without any prompting by you or anybody else, offered to report in your office in Abuja on 16th September, 2018, the very next day after his tenure as Governor, Ekiti State would have ended and his immunity lifted, you have demonstrated

premeditated mischief, open hatred for our client and contempt for his office as Governor. This is even moreso when considered against the

background of your earlier threat on your official EFCC twitter handle which was widely circulated on the social media and published in a newspaper on 16th July, 2018 where you mocked our client in the following words to the whole world: ‘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 light of the above, our client has directed that we demand of you and we hereby demand as follows; a retraction and withdrawal of

the aforesaid request/directive to security agencies to place our client of the security watch list and arrest him at sight even whilst he still enjoys immunity as governor forthwith.

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