The Kogi State Government has given a 48-hour ultimatum to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) to apologise and retract the statement that it has returned N19.3 billion bail-out funds allegedly “hidden” by the state to the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) or face legal action.
The ultimatum to retract came following a statement by EFCC and posted on its Facebook Account on November 19, 2021.
Speaking at a press briefing in Lagos on Sunday, the Commissioner for Information, Kingsley Fanwo, who gave the ultimatum, said the fifth columnist and progenitors of the allegation against the state government were jittery of Governors Yahaya Bello rising profile ahead of 2023 Presidential election.
He said the whole saga was “a hatchet job conceived by politicians and implemented by an irresponsible EFCC under the leadership of Abdulrasheed Bawa” to tarnish the rising political image of Governor Yahaya Bello, bring him to disrepute and lower him in the estimation of right-thinking members of the society by portraying him as a corrupt governor/person.
“Nigerians know that all banking transactions including those done online are done based on instructions given by the customers. We had in the past challenged and we hereby again challenge the EFCC to produce the account mandate, account package, and the phone number and BVN of those who allegedly opened and operated the ‘Kogi State salary bailout fixed deposit account No. 0073572696’ on behalf of the Kogi State government.
“The EFCC should tell Nigerians who was drawing the interest from the said fixed deposit account and where same was being paid by the bank.
“Rather than answer the above posed questions truthfully and faithfully as a responsible organization, the EFCC descended into the realm of lies, not only to Nigerians but to the Court. The EFCC lied on oath that the mandate form which was duly signed and clearly endorsed with our bailout accounts 1 and 2 shared the same account mandate with the ‘Kogi State Salary bailout fixed deposit account No. 0073572696’ even though the document they attached to their affidavit in support of that deposition in Court did not support the lie.
“Nigerians would then see that it is the agency set up to fight corruption that is now engaging in corrupt practices and tactics, lying on oath and coercing witnesses to support their lies, and engaging in an unconscionable and elaborate attempt to misinform Nigerians all in a bid to satisfy paymasters and political allies and godfathers who are clearly using the EFCC to fight a political war ahead of the 2023 general elections.
“I want to assure you that after 48 hours from today, if they refuse to retract their ill-fated, false, politically motivated, irresponsible press statement, we will drag them to court,” the commissioner said.
Fanwo alleged that some of the governors interested in the 2023 presidential race are using the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) to discredit Governor Yahaya Bello.
“This is the height of irresponsibility by an agency charged with the responsibility of fighting corruption in our country.
“Certain individuals, especially governors with interest in 2023, have hired some agencies to discredit our governor before 2023. They attempted to use the NFIU, ICPC, Code of Conduct. They have finally settled for EFCC, which has all along acted as hired guns for these individuals to discredit and vilify Bello.”