Governor Ayodele Fayose of Ekiti State has demanded a written apology from 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.
Governor Fayose said in a letter to the commission by his lawyer, Mr Obafemi Adewale, also demanded N20 billion as damages, saying the EFCC had violated his rights and privileges as a sitting governor conferred with constitutional immunity against any criminal proceedings.
Fayose also demanded that the written apology should “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.”
The letter stated 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.”
The letter was dated September 3, 2018, and has been received at the Abuja office of the EFCC.
The letter read: “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.
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 invade investigation. Hence, you are kindly requested to watch-list and arrest him.’
“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 the Punch Newspaper of 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.
“A written apology to our Client published to all Security Agencies in Nigeria and in 3 National Newspapers and the Social Media for the flagrant mischievous and deliberate attempt to breach his constitutional rights and malign him in the eyes of right thinking members of the society.
“Payment of the sum of N20bn as damages to our Client for the flagrant, deliberate, pre-meditated and reckless libel and unprovoked attack on his character and reputation and breach of his constitutional right/immunity as an incumbent Governor.
“Take notice 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.”