Twelve days after the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) arrested Ekiti State’s Commissioner for Finance, Toyin Ojo, and Accountant-General, Yemisi Owolabi, the commission Wednesday confirmed the release of both officials.
The officials were arrested by operatives of the anti-corruption agency in Ado Ekiti, the Ekiti State capital, on September 28, same day that Governor Ayodele Fayose officially declared his intention to contest the 2019 presidential election, raising widespread speculations and direct accusations of political motivation.
Fayose had swiftly reacted to the arrest, describing it as a calculated attempt by President Muhammadu Buhari’s men to scuttle his presidential ambition owing to their recognition of the enormous threat he posed to the president’s 2019 hopes.
As the detention of the officials lingered, there were growing calls for their release, with concerns expressed about possible abuse of power.
On Monday, Ekiti State’s Commissioner for Information, Lanre Ogunsuyi, who briefed journalists on after the state executive council meeting, said the detention of two officials was an “abuse of power” and “a witch-hunt.”
He also stated that the arrest was a violation of a subsisting ruling of a court of competent jurisdiction restraining the anti-graft body from inviting or arresting officials of the state.
Confirming the news of the release of the officials, a statement made available to newsmen by Governor Fayose’s aide, Lere Olayinka, said the Governor had declared Thursday a half-working day for civil servants in order to give the released state executives a heroic welcome.
Governor Fayose described their release as “another victory over the EFCC and its APC collaborators”. The statement also said that “Governor Fayose will be at Fajuyi, Ado Ekiti at 10 am” to commence the welcome.
The statement read thus, “ Today, God gave Ekiti State and its people another victory over the EFCC and its APC collaborators as the State Commissioner for Finance, Chief Toyin Ojo and Accountant General, Mrs Yemisi Owolabi were released after spending 14 days in EFCC detention for doing nothing.
“In celebration of this victory over agents of tyranny, all public servants in Ekiti State are enjoined to converge on Fajuyi, Ado Ekiti by 10 am tomorrow, Thursday, October 12, 2017 to welcome the Commissioner for Finance and the Accountant General back to the State.
“Consequently, Ekiti State Governor, Mr Ayodele Fayose has directed that public servants in Ekiti State should work for half day tomorrow so as to enable them to join the governor to give heroic welcome to the Commissioner for Finance and Accountant General.
“Governor Fayose will be at Fajuyi, Ado Ekiti at 10 am. All lovers of justice should join the governor to welcome our commissioner for Finance and Accountant General back to the State.”
Recall that following the arrest, the EFCC had said the officials were arrested for their refusal to honour previous invitations over alleged misuse of bailout funds.
“Ekiti state commissioner for finance and the account general are currently in the custody of the EFCC. They were picked up today following their refusal to honour previous invitations for interrogation in relation to pending investigation on the misuse of bailout funds by the Ayodele Fayose administration”, the commission’s statement had said.
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