The chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Abdulrasheed Bawa, has said the details of the ongoing investigations of the immediate-past governor of Anambra State, Willie Obiano, will not be disclosed to the public.
Mr Bawa said this in Abuja while fielding questions from reporters at the 5th Annual General Assembly of the Network of National Anti-corruption institutions in West Africa (NACIWA).
Asked to update the public on the details of the ongoing investigations of the former governor, Mr Bawa said the commission could not give such information when it is being accused of conducting media trial.
“I don’t know what update you want me to give, because you have been accusing us of media trials, and you want me to say we are doing this and that. No, we (EFCC) would not do that. We would continue to do our investigation professionally as we have been doing,” he said.
Mr Bawa also dismissed the claim that the former governor’s arrest was politically-motivated.
The All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA), an opposition party, has criticised Mr Obiano’s detention by the EFCC, calling it a “politically motivated witch-hunt.”
Mr Bawa also said the commission had granted an administrative bail to Mr Obiano but the ex-governor had yet to meet the bail conditions.
“He (Mr Obiano) has been granted bail. And we are waiting for him to fulfil his bail condition he has been cooperating with us and everything is going on well.
In an interview with PREMIUM TIMES on Sunday, Mr Obiano’s spokesperson, James Eze, accused the anti-graft authority of persecuting Mr Obiano, adding that an accused person is presumed innocent until convicted.
Although details of the allegations against Mr Obiano are still sketchy, media reports have said the governor of Anambra State for two terms is being quizzed by EFCC detectives over alleged misappropriation of public funds, including N5 billion Sure-P and N37 billion security vote which was withdrawn in cash.
Part of the money is also said to have been diverted to fund political activities in the state.
“Obiano was arrested for alleged misappropriation of public funds, including, N5bn Sure-P and N37billion security vote which was withdrawn in cash. Part of the funds was also allegedly diverted to finance political activities in the state,” EFCC’s spokesperson, Mr Uwujaren, was quoted as telling Punch.
Recall that the commission had since last year placed the former governor on its watch list.
PREMIUM TIMES reported in November last year that the EFCC had in a letter to the Comptroller General of the Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS) dated November 15, 2021, requested the Service to place the governor on a watchlist and inform it anytime he is travelling out of the country from any of the international airports and other points of entry and exit.
Mr Obiano was arrested at the Murtala Muhammad International Airport in Lagos at about 8.30 p.m. on Thursday.
Sources at the commission, who asked not to be named because they were not authorised to speak to the press on the matter, said Mr Obiano was arrested as he was preparing to board a flight to Houston, Texas, United States.
On Friday, he was transferred to Abuja for further questioning by the EFCC’s Lagos Zonal office, where he was first detained.
As of Monday morning, Mr Obiano had spent his fourth night in the custody of the EFCC.
A 12-second clip that has gone viral across social media platforms, had shown Mr Obiano, who was dressed in shorts and a white shirt, drinking water from a bottle in a closed room presumed to be in EFCC custody.
The video has since elicited a wide range of opinions with many Nigerians denouncing it, and demanding an investigation of the perpetrators who leaked the clip.
Spokesperson for Mr Obiano, Mr Eze, described the video footage, showing his principal in his “underpants” in detention, as a witch hunt.
He also called for an immediate investigation of “the awful treatment of a perceived offender.” he said people should be treated with dignity.
“Here is a man who did not resist arrest and you are disposing of him in his underpants, that is an assault of the dignity of Nigerians, not Obiano alone.
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