Victor Ogunje in Ado Ekiti
Following a Federal High Court judgment ordering the Economic and Financial Crimes Ekiti State Commission (EFCC) to unfreeze Governor, Ayodele Fayose’s account, the governor yesterday stormed the a new generation bank to make withdrawals.
The governor, who arrived the bank at about 1.21p.m. in company of his Chief of Staff, Mr. Dipo Anisulowo; the Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice, Mr. Owoseeni Ajayi, and his security aides, withdrew a sum of N5 million via counter-cheque.
Justice Taiwo Taiwo had last Tuesday handed down the directive which expressly compelled the unfreezing of these accounts on the strength that the governor, according to Section 308 of the 1999 Constitution, enjoys immunity.
Fayose didn’t give the management of the bank any notice before the surprise visit, but it was reliably gathered that he had on Wednesday given them a copy of the court judgment.
Many of the customers who were at the bank for business transactions, were stopped for two hours the governor was in the bank.
There was a wild drama in the bank between a bank’s security and the governor’s Chief Security Officer (CSO) over the former’s stand that the CSO would not be allowed entry, which nearly degenerated into an exchange of fisticuffs.
When he emerged from the banking hall, Fayose praised the bank for complying with the court’s directive. Fayose disclosed that he has two accounts with the bank with one containing N82 million and the other with a staggering sum of N300 million.
He, however, upbraided the EFCC and the federal government for what he called impunity, saying his travail in the hands of the anti-graft agency confirmed that the reign of impunity was gradually creeping into the country’s body polity.
Fayose said: “I came to the bank to collect money after serving them with the court order. I have said I won’t leave the bank until I am paid, because this is my money and nobody can deprive me access to it.
“I want to thank Nigerians and the bank and those who believed in my cause for standing by me. This court victory goes to show that
this impunity must stop. It shows that Nigerians must not be oppressed.”
At exactly 3:20p.m. after two hours, the governor left the bank with cash of N5 million, saying: “I came to the bank after serving them with the court order and I made up my mind that I won’t leave the bank until my money is given to me.
“And the bank has done the needful by giving me part of the money confirming that they have obeyed the court order. I want to thank Nigerians and my supporters for believing in our cause that Nigerians should not be oppressed. The rascality of EFCC must stop.
“And I want to thank the EFCC for obeying the court order. They placed order on two accounts, one has N82 million, the other has N300
million. I have collected N5 million now. I’m not closing the accounts but if they attack my accounts again, I will make trouble with them, big trouble. If EFCC is appealing the court jugdment that is their funeral. As a sitting governor, my immunity is absolute just like that of the president.
“They should tell the EFCC to shut up. There is no authority other than the authority of the constitution of this country, which I enjoy.
“Rubbishing the office of the governor is as the same as rubbishing that of the president because after the president, governors are the next.
“It is their time now, another people’s time will come tomorrow. There is no place for dictatorship in Nigeria.”
Fayose’s two accounts with the bank were on June 20 frozen on the orders of the EFCC through an ex-parte order received from Justice Mohammed Idris of the Federal High Court, Lagos, on the allegation that the money therein were ‘proceeds of crime.’
Fayose had on June 28 challenged the seizure of the accounts in court through an affidavit sworn to by his lawyer, Bimpe Olatemiju, who prayed the court to order an unfreezing of the governor’s accounts as the EFCC’s action negates the provisions of section 308 of the 1999 Constitution amended.