Governor Ayodele Fayose of Ekiti State has said that it will be a violation of the immunity he is enjoying as governor if he report at the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) for interrogation before he leaves office on October 16.
“As a responsible citizen of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, who currently enjoys immunity under Section 308 of the Constitution, it would amount to a breach of the Constitution which I swore to uphold if I appear in your office on any date earlier than 16th October 2018. If done otherwise, it will set a wrong precedent for the Constitutional Institution that I represent.
In a letter to the EFCC complaining over the Commission’s move to keep him on watch list, Governor Fayose insisted: “without prejudice to Section 308 of the Constitution, I will be willing to answer questions from your team of investigators should they be willing to meet me in my office in Ado Ekiti on the 20th September 2018.”
He described EFCC directive to the Customs and other agencies, directing them to put him on a watch-list and arrest him if he attempted to leave Nigeria before the expiration of his tenure as having raised serious questions about the impartiality, independence or neutrality of the commission.
He reminded the EFCC that “in 2007, precisely on the 19th day of December, I willingly presented myself for investigation at your Lagos office,” adding that “There is therefore nothing new or strange in my letter of 10th September 2018, which has been received and treated in bad faith and taste. I thought I was assisting due and fair process of law.”
In his letter to EFCC, dated September 14, 2018 Fayose said: “I carefully chose that date (October 16, 2018) being the next day after the expiration of my tenure upon which the immunity I enjoy will lapse to avoid any form of insinuation and was in good faith.
“While drafting my response to your letter of 14th September 2018, my attention was drawn to your widely-publicized letter of September 12, 2018, directing the Comptroller General, Nigeria Customs Service and similar agencies, to watch-list and arrest me on an imagination that I might leave Nigeria to escape investigation.
“It has finally put in context, your Commission’s hurriedly deleted on-line statement via EFCC Nigeria @OfficialEFCC a day after the Ekiti governorship election that: “The parri is over; the clock of immunity turn apart, and the staff broken. Ekiti Integrated Poultry Project/Biological Concepts Limited N1.3bn fraud case file dusted off the shelves. See you soon.”
“Your Commission by its actions, no doubt has presumed my ‘quilt’ even prior to the commencement of “investigation”.
“This raises serious question about the impartiality, independence or neutrality of the Commission in the matter. I feel harassed, intimidated and embarrassed by the imputation of crime and the innuendos of criminality underlining your correspondence which has been maliciously circulated widely. This in all implies a case of persecution rather than prosecution.
“While I have handed a copy of your letter to my Solicitors for a careful study and advice, let me state here for the records, that there is nothing about me or my antecedents, as a long standing public figure to justify the Commission’s action. I have never been a coward or criminal.
“Notwithstanding, the demonstrated hate and prejudice, I reaffirm my willingness to make myself available to answer questions within my knowledge on the day you may indicate after expiration of my term of office on the 15th October 2018.
“If for any good reason, your investigation cannot await the date suggested in my earlier letter, without prejudice to Section 308 of the Constitution, I will be willing to answer questions from your team of investigators should they be willing to meet me in my office in Ado Ekiti on the 20th September 2018 indicated in yours.
“Save as above, I will appreciate any date convenient to you after 15th October 2018, otherwise, expect me on the 16th October 2018 at 1pm as earlier stated.”