A member of the Senate, Dino Melaye, has defended his decision to accompany Toyin Saraki, wife of the Senate President, Bukola Saraki, to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission.
He said the numerous attacks he has received compelled him to respond.
Mrs. Saraki was summoned by the EFCC on allegation of fraud when her husband served as governor of Kwara State.
The EFCC said state funds were funnelled into accounts she controlled through her nongovernmental organisation.
Some senators, led by Mr. Melaye, had earlier questioned the EFCC’s summons, suggesting it could be politically motivated and linked to the controversy over Mr. Saraki’s emergence as senate president.
The Kogi senator, who himself founded an anti-corruption organisation before going to the senate, sparked a firestorm on Tuesday when he accompanied Mrs. Saraki, alongside other senators and members of the House of Representatives, to the EFCC’s office in Abuja.
In his reaction Friday, Mr. Melaye said he took the right decision in support of a “friend and sister”, and that he also visited the EFCC as a private investigator to understand the “extent of culpability” of Mrs. Saraki.
In the statement entitled “Stand up for what you believe in regardless of the popularity or acceptance of your belief”, Mr. Melaye said he has made sacrifices to the extent of escaping assassinations and that he would not compromise on corruption.
“I was arrested 14 times in one year by the administration of ex-President Goodluck Jonathan because I desired a country where my grandchildren (that I may never know) will dwell in a nation where life is already structured for them. I cannot throw away my sacrifice of being beaten and my clothes torn on the floor of the House of Representatives because of fighting against corruption. I have come too far to compromise my stand on corruption and corrupt persons.
“I make bold here to challenge anybody who will controvert the truth that I have never done any government contract, either at the Local Government, State or Federal levels. It is not criminal to do so, but he who must come to equity must come with clean hands. I have made sacrifices to the extent of escaping assassinations. Will my fellow citizens forget all these too quickly on the altar of loyalty to friends, family and loved ones? My loyalty to friends is not only when the going is good. I will be there even when the roads are rough.
“The invitation of Mrs. Toyin Saraki by the EFCC, however, is not a criminal indictment. I will not abandon my friend because of mere EFCC invitation. I also went there as a private investigator and an anti-corruption crusader to find out the extent of culpability of my sister and friend since she was not told the content of the petition against her before her appearance before the EFCC.
“My definition for friendship is he or she who walks in when others are working out. If my father is invited by the EFCC, I will go there; if a prima face case is established against him, I will shout for his prosecution. So my great people, I have no regret following my friend and sister to the EFCC. If you are my friend, you are my friend. I cannot control what my friends will do, but they remain my friends. I am not fighting corruption out of passion only, but because it is the Godly thing to do.
“Finally, Winston Churchill said, “I may not believe in what you have to say, but I will defend to death, your right to say it.” No change of values, in the next few months ahead, Nigerians will those who want President Muhammadu Buhari to succeed. I promise to be with the people at all times, within the constitutional milieu. I thank you for taking your time. Be a change agent! God bless you and bless Nigeria.”
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