Return Ladoja’s loot; speed up Alao-Akala’s prosecution, Oyo tells EFCC

Governor Abiola Ajimobi of Oyo state

A seeming pact between the governor and one of his predecessor’s in Oyo, South-West Nigeria, has collapsed.

The Oyo State Government on Tuesday asked the Economic Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, to return the property seized from a former governor, Rashidi Ladoja, to the state.

The State Executive Council rose from a meeting, early Tuesday, to make the call even as it tasked the commission to hasten action in the prosecution of Adebayo Alao-Akala, the immediate past governor of the state.

Prior to Tuesday’s statement, the Oyo State Governor, Abiola Ajimobi, gave indications that he had an agreement with Mr. Ladoja; ceding positions in his government to the latter’s aides and associates.

Taiwo Otegbeye, the Oyo State Commissioner for Information, who conveyed the decision of the council to the press on Tuesday, said the government had urged the anti-graft agency to speed up the prosecution of the two former governors and their cronies over their indictment in the misappropriation of state funds.

“While commending the EFCC for its giant strides in investigating, arresting and prosecuting the two former governors for offences relating to misappropriation and conversion of the state funds and resources, the government noted that the trials of the former governors were yet to commence,” Mr. Otegbeye said in a statement.

Following the discovery that Mr. Ladoja had illegally enriched himself with the proceeds from sales of shares bought on behalf of the state by his government, the EFCC had seized some items believed to have been purchased with the funds.

The government said on Tuesday that the money and property recovered worth over N700 million, still remains with the anti-graft agency.

The government pledged its support and cooperation to the EFCC as it seeks to bring the two former governors of the state to justice adding that it needs the recovered money and other items to executive projects that will better the lot of the people of the state.

The timing of the call seemed odd as Governor Ajimobi had always given the impression that he was in accord with Mr. Ladoja on sharing of positions in government. Part of the arrangement saw the emergence of Babatunde Olaniyan of the Accord Party, Mr. Ladoja’s party, as Deputy Speaker of the Oyo State House of Assembly.

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