‘Placing Obiano on watchlist, politically-motivated’, Anambra Government tells EFCC

[From CHINEDU NWAFOR, Abakaliki]

Anambra Government has condemned what it described as a ‘politically-motivated’ stand of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) against the Governor of the State, Chief Willie Obiano.

Governor Willie Obiano of Anambra State

The anti-graft agency had in a leaked letter dated November 15, 2021, to the Nigerian Immigration Service asking it to inform the Commission anytime the Governor is travelling out of the country.

In a statement signed by the Commissioner for Information and Public Enlightenment, C. Don Adinuba, the government said the directive of the EFCC said everything was wrong with the stands of the anti-graft agency on Obiano.

The government faulted the EFCC, saying it provided no details of how Governor Obiano has been placed on its watch list, but merely made a reference to a letter it purportedly wrote on November 15, 2021, to the Comptroller General of the Nigeria Immigration Service.

According to the state government, those behind the present histrionics about Obiano are those that did want the November 6, 2021, governorship election to hold, those who wanted emergency rule in Anambra State.

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The government said: “Everything that can be wrong with politically motivated statements like this one is obviously wrong with this statement.

“The EFCC knows full well that it is acting inelegantly in this instance, and so has tried as much as possible not to make an official public statement on the alleged placing of Chief Obiano on the watch list. It furtively gave a section of the media the news report it wrote based on ostensibly its letter to the NIS on November 15.

“Governor Obiano is out of the country currently. And he travelled through one of the country’s international airports. He did not disguise himself, but rather left the country with his identity fully disclosed at the necessary immigration point.

“The EFCC sounded more inelegant when it claimed in the sponsored press report that it received intelligence reports that the governor plans to “flee” from Nigeria once he hands over power next March 17 to the newly elected Anambra State governor, Professor Charles Chukwuma Soludo. Chief Obiano has never left any persons in doubt that he will relocate to his base in the United States once he finishes his tenure”.

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It further noted that Governor Obiano had a whole four months to remain in office, saying that “nobody in Nigeria can circumscribe his constitutionally conferred immunity which shields him from both criminal and civil prosecution, lamenting: the EFCC went too far to announce in November that it is observing him. We are not aware of any state governor who had up to four months to be in office and the EFCC went on to sponsor media reports that he was being investigated”.

According to it, the EFCC got it all wrong by announcing its investigation on Obiano on rooftop as anti corruption agencies are known to engage in discrete investigations.

“The whole nation knows those behind all the present histrionics about Obiano. They are those who didn’t want the November 6 election to hold. They are those in high places who unsuccessfully canvassed for emergency rule in Anambra supposedly on security grounds.

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“They are those who masterminded the Birnin Kudu High Court charade in Jigawa State over the APGA leadership and, more importantly, the authentic APGA candidate in the November gubernatorial election in Anambra State. They are those responsible for the sacrilege of a customary court in Abuja issuing criminal summons to Professor Soludo, a former Central Bank of Nigeria governor.

“These people are still fighting the gubernatorial battle on behalf of their badly defeated friends and political associates in the Anambra vote. They will fail badly, as they have done in the recent past,” the government added.

It statement further admonish the Anti-graft agency not allow to itself to be used by politicians who it described as “mere birds of passage as the  ongoing Anambra drama is in bad taste.”

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