Legal icon Femi Falana has resigned his membership of the editorial board of ThisDay newspaper, he said in a press statement today, dismissing a story about him in the publication last Sunday.
The newspaper had alleged that Mr. Falana influenced the appointment of Ola Olukeyede, the Chief of Staff to Ibrahim Magu, the Acting Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, to that position.
Mr. Falana said the forces of corruption who are using the newspaper to fight back in a desperate bid to blackmail him alleged that Mr. Olukoyede had been a lawyer in his office and that the anti-graft body had given him one of the properties forfeited to the federal government by ex-governor DSP Alamiyeseigha.
“In the first place, Mr. Olukoyede has never worked in my law firm,” Falana said. “I met him for the first time about two years ago. Having not known him or worked with him closely I could not have recommended him for any position of responsibility either in the EFCC or in another public office. The second allegation is equally a figment of the fecund imagination of the fictitious writers in Thisday newspaper.”
He noted that although the address of the property allegedly given to him by the EFCC was not stated in the story, it is public knowledge that all the funds and other assets forfeited by the late governor were handed to the Bayelsa State government sometime in 2010 by the then management of the EFCC.
“Based on my belief in public accountability, I have never said that the properties recovered by the EFCC should not be investigated,” Falana said.
He urged members of the public to “disregard the dubious report of the reactionary elements who are hell bent on diverting the attention of Nigerians from the mega-looting of our commonwealth by a coterie of plutocrats.”