The Ekiti State Commissioner for Finance, Toyin Ojo, and the Accountant General, Yemisi Owolabi, were on Thursday welcomed to Ekiti at a reception organised by the state government in Ado-Ekiti after their release from detention by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC.
While relieving their experiences, they said that the commission could not charge them to court because the petition written against them lacked substance.
The officials were arrested about two weeks ago on the allegation of misappropriation of the bailout funds advanced to Ekiti State.
Their arrest is viewed by some Ekiti residents as an act of vendetta and a ploy to embarrass the governor, Ayo Fayose, as it was done the same day he declared his presidential ambition in Abuja.
Mr. Ojo said the EFCC officials begged them to leave the detention when it was obvious that they had committed no offence that warranted their incarceration.
He said he and Mr. Owolabi initially refused to sign a document for their discharge.
“We yielded after much pleadings from top EFCC staff,” he said.
He hinted that the arrest followed a petition written by a former labour leader, who he did not name, accusing the government of mismanaging the Paris Club and other bailouts to the state.
Mr. Ojo said the petition was written to tarnish the image of the government of Mr. Fayose.
The reception was well attended by civil servants and labour leaders, who were earlier granted the pleasure of working half day to be part of the reception for the two officials released by the EFCC.
“I want to thank our governor and Ekiti people, particularly workers for their prayers,” Mr. Ojo said.
“The EFCC found it difficult to prosecute us because they lacked evidence.
“Fayose by his conduct boxed EFCC to a corner, because you needed not fear when you committed no crime. By our arrests, it was clear that EFCC has become an instrument of oppression.
“Some states took more than the bailout taken by Ekiti but nothing was done. What is their interest in Ekiti?
“They asked us to sign so that we can leave the detention but we refused. They started begging us before we left.”
Mr. Fayose, after criticising the EFCC for its actions, promised to buy cars for the released officials for their loyalty to the state.
He also said he would restructure the EFCC when he becomes President of Nigeria in 2019.
“I will never go and beg EFCC, it will rather beg me. I won’t negotiate anything because I am not afraid of them. There was a subsisting court that barred them from arresting any official of this state, but they breached the law,” said Mr. Fayose.
“By the grace of God, I will restructure the EFCC when I become the president of this nation. I will reorganise EFCC and make it look responsible. They detained me in 2008, but I won them in court, because the most high God was on my side.
“They said the NNPC Group Managing Director awarded $25 billion contracts illegally, the EFCC did nothing. Even the presidency has been the one defending him now. What is their interest in Ekiti? Whose interest is EFCC protecting?”