Chris Steven, Abuja
Angry women and youths on Friday besieged the headquarters of the Economic and Financial Crimes commission, (EFCC) to demand the immediate probe and prosecution of the Ekiti state Governor, Ayodele Fayose over his involvement in the arms deal scandal.
Protesting under the banner of Patrotic Mothers Without Borders, they argued that though the Governor enjoys immunity,such, they said is not as sacred as human lives.
While calling on President Muhammadu Buhari to intensify the anti corruption campaign, the angry protesters said no Nigerian must be spared in the ongoing war.
Carrying various placards with inscriptions such as “Governor Fayose must go,” “He can’t continue to enjoy immunity”, “He should be treated like Sambo Dasuki” among others, the group said the EFCC should be up and doing.
The leader of the group, Nnnenna Jideofor said, that the reality is that people are unanimous in desiring that the anti-graft agencies must not lose the anti-graft war.
Her words” :This is why there are deep running concerns in the land that the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has been caged but we do not want to believe this. We do not want to accept that the EFCC is merely making a show of fighting corruption.
Several developments contributed to the spread of this impression among Nigerians but our strong belief is that EFCC’s inability to do anything about the Ekiti State Governor, Ayo Fayose, publicly known beyond every shadow of doubt to have been a key suspect in the theft of money meant for purchasing weapons to fight Boko Haram terrorists, is the leading cause.
The Ekiti state governor and his accomplices have blood on their hands in addition to stealing public funds. They took part in stealing the money meant for buying arms to fight Boko Haram.
The crippling of the military’s fighting capabilities as a result of this have made some women widows and children orphaned.
What Nigerians are saying is that the EFCC can lose its cases against others that took part in the theft of the arms money simply on account that Fayose is being treated as one who is above the law thereby providing his collaborator with the excuse that the Ekiti state governor cannot be walking free as a direct beneficiary while they get punished as partakers.
His collaborators, former Minister of State for Defence, Musiliu Obanikoro, Senator, Iyiola Omisore and others have returned some money. The gravity of this crime does not permit that we wait indefinitely for Fayose to leave office. He would have finished spending his share of the loot by then. Besides, this implies the EFCC would not have any exhibit on him again – he has all the time to destroy evidence and clean his track while terrorists continue to kill Nigerians because of his action.
The Ekiti State governor has now added criminality to brigandage as he diverting the state’s money to questionable NGOs and other shady groups to organise protests that favour his agenda in other states. This is not just unacceptable and immoral but also criminal as he has no right to disburse his state’s money to his cronies under the guise of NGOs or CSOs. Our belief is that more of this will happen if the EFCC does not immediately step in to put an end to this infraction.
Sometimes last year, the EFCC did the right thing when it froze Fayose’s account with Zenith bank even though some laughable court ruling later unfroze the account. God will visit judgement on corrupt judges that deliver ruling for a bribe but it is the task of the EFCC to fish them out for punishment.
“The EFCC must again help Nigerians to test the law by immediately whisking Fayose before a competent court after his arrest for being part of those that instigated the arms purchase scandal. We do not see how the immunity granted him by the constitution was meant to protect governors from criminal liability especially where the case of theft is involved.
“The world laugh at us as people who empower public office holders to steal. That the EFCC is now treating the matter as if Nigerian laws and constitution gave Ayo Fayose a blank cheque to steal and not be questioned is an insult to all decent Nigerians and torture to families that have lost loved ones to terror attacks that continued because there were no military gear to fight terrorists.
Many legal experts have endorsed the position that this man should be hauled before a court like the common criminal that he is. Because the kind of outrage he has committed was not envisaged by those who made the constitution. He can no longer hide behind the law.
To the lawmakers in Ekiti State House of Assembly, we are disappointed they have lost their souls to an overlord. They ignorantly go about boasting how no one can make them impeach Fayose, Their cups will soon overfill. We beg the EFCC to as a matter of urgency investigate how much these members have received either through Fayose or his proxies.
We must know what the compromise is. We demand how much of the funds meant for buying weapons found its way into their pockets and who paid them the bribes.
“EFCC owes us as mothers, it owes us as Nigerians to reassure us that its refusal to arrest Fayose up till this moment is not the reason why it has become a relic, a shadow of the anti-corruption agency that was once dreaded for its efficacy”
The spokesperson of the EFCC, Wilson Uwugiaren and a staff of the Commission, Umaru Mohammed who received the letter of petition on behalf of the acting Chairman of the EFCC, Ibrahim Magu promised to follow it up and ensure that justice is done.