Chinedu Asadu in On the GoThe Nation
Ayodele Fayose, governor of Ekiti state, has slammed a N20 billion suit against the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) for placing him on watch list.
The governor filed the suit at a federal high court in Abuja, following the commission’s refusal to withdraw the notice placing him on watch list.
The EFCC had in September written to the Nigerian customs service, asking it to place the outgoing governor on its watch list and prevent him from leaving the country.
The customs subsequently granted the request and circulated the EFCC directive to its area and zonal commands, directing that Fayose’s movement should be monitored.
In reaction, Fayose, through his lawyer — Obafemi Adewale — gave the EFCC 72 hours to withdraw the notice and also publish a written apology to him in the media, a request that was not granted.
In the suit filed on Friday last week, the governor argued that the EFCC’s action breached his constitutional immunity from arrest as governor and also exposed him to public ridicule.
He asked the court to mandate the anti-graft agency to pay him N20 billion as general damages for what he called “flagrant, deliberate, pre-meditated and reckless libel and unprovoked attack” on his character and reputation.
He also demanded that the EFCC should tender a written apology, which should be circulated to all security agencies and published in the media.
The governor also sought the court to declare that the EFCC notice placing him on watch list portrayed him as a “criminal, a fugitive and a run-away from the law”.
He said the notice contradicts section 308 of the 1999 constitution which confers a sitting governor with immunity against arrest and prosecution.
TheCable had reported that the governor, who is due to hand over on October 16, is being investigated by the agency alongside his wife, for alleged fraud.
It was learnt the anti-graft agency may charge the governor, his wife, and members of his cabinets with money laundering and abuse of office, upon leaving office.