Reacting to the alleged watchlist placed on Willie Obiano by the Economic and Financial Crime Commission (EFCC), the Anambra State government has condemned the act and said the EFCC should have allow him to complete his tenure first before climbing down on him.
The anti-graft agency had earlier written a letter to the Comptroller General of the Nigeria Immigration Service requesting the immigration to place Governor Willie Obiano on a watchlist and inform them anytime he is travelling out of the country from any of the international airports, as well as other points of entry and exit in the country.
In reaction to this, Anambra State Commissioner for Information and Public Enlightenment, Don Adinuba said the governor has four months left to remain in office and the commission went too far by publicly announcing that it is investigating Governor Willie Obiano.
“Governor Willie Obiano has a whole four months to remain in office as Anambra State chief executive. Nobody in Nigeria can circumscribe his constitutionally conferred immunity which shields him from both criminal and civil prosecution.
“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,” Don Adinuba said in a press statement signed on Thursday.
Attached is the full statement and I read; Nigerians were dismayed that the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) went a new low on Wednesday, November 24, 2021, when it sponsored media reports claiming that it has placed Governor Willie Obiano of Anambra State on its watch list.
The EFCC provided no details of how Governor Obiano has been placed on its watch list, but made a reference to a letter it purportedly wrote on November 15, 2021, to the Comptroller General of the Nigeria Immigration Service asking it to inform the anti-graft agency anytime the governor is travelling out of the country.
Governor Willie 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 in March 2022 to the newly elected Anambra State governor, Professor Charles Soludo. Willie Obiano has never left any persons in doubt that he will relocate to his base in the United States of America once he finishes his tenure.
Governor Obiano has a whole four months to remain in office as the Anambra State chief executive. Nobody in Nigeria can circumscribe his constitutionally conferred immunity which shields him from both criminal and civil prosecution.
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 complete his tenure in office and the EFCC went on to sponsor media reports that he was being investigated.
It is, indeed strange that the EFCC is making a show that it is investigating a high public officer. Anti-corruption agencies, like intelligence services, conduct their investigations secretly, and not on pages of newspapers. Media trial has never benefitted the EFCC.
The whole nation knows those behind all the present histrionics about Willie Obiano. They are those who didn’t want the November 6, 2021 election to hold. They are those in high places who unsuccessfully canvassed for emergency rule in Anambra state supposedly on security grounds.
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 EFCC should not allow itself to be used by politicians who are mere birds of passage. Its ongoing Anambra drama is in bad taste. It did not serve Governor Obiano any notice. Nor did it invite him to answer questions about his service record. It just went to the press to announce jagons.
Yet, the governor is willing to answer any questions about his years in office but they haven’t meet with him one on one. After all, he has received a prestigious award from the United Nations Development Programme for social service integrity. God bless Anambra State, the Light of the Nation. Signed, Don Adinuba, Commissioner for Information & Public Enlightenment,” the statement concluded.