Ayodele Fayose, Governor of Ekiti State, has slammed a N20 billion suit on the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) for placing him on a watchlist.
EFCC had requested that the Nigeria Customs Service place the Governor on a watchlist following allegations of fraud.
But, in a statement by his Special Assistant on Public Communications and New Media, Lere Olayinka, Fayose said the EFCC action not only breached his constitutional immunity as a serving Governor but also exposed him to public ridicule.
A letter by Fayose's counsel, Obafemi Adewale, dated September 3, 2018, had given EFCC 72 hours to withdraw the request/directive to security agencies to place him on security watchlist and publish a written apology to all security agencies in Nigeria, three national newspapers and the social media.
However, the Governor has now filed a suit in an Abuja court following the failure of the commission to concede to his demands.
The statement, which was published on Tuesday, read: “It should be recalled that EFCC had tweeted on July 16, 2018 through its official twitter handle @officialEFCC concerning Governor Fayose that 'The parri is over, the cloak of immunity is torn apart and the staff broken, Ekiti Integrated Poultry/Biological Concepts Limited N1.3bn fraud case file dusted off the shelves. See you soon'.
“In the suit, Governor Fayose is seeking among other things; an order of the Court mandating the EFCC to pay the sum of N20 billion as general damages to the for what he called 'flagrant, deliberate, pre-meditated and reckless libel and unprovoked attack on his character and reputation and the breach of his constitutional right/immunity as an incumbent Governor'.
“He demanded that the EFCC should tender a written apology, which should be circulated to all security agencies in Nigeria and same should be published in at least three widely read national newspapers and through the social media.
“The Governor is also seeking a declaration that the statements contained in the EFCC letter dated September 12, 2018, and addressed to all security agencies in Nigeria portrayed him as a criminal, a fugitive and a run-away from the law, and that the statements are not true, are malicious, are not fair statements."
He wants the court to further declare: 'That the EFCC letter placing him on watch-list and directing his arrest on sight even while a sitting Governor is unconstitutional as same offends the clear provision of Section 308 of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (as amended) which clothes the him with immunity against arrest and prosecution as an incumbent Governor.
“That the tweet by the Defendant (EFCC) through its official twitter handle, which was widely circulated through social media and published on Punch Newspaper (online) of 16th July, 2018, with the particulars wordings pleaded in the Statement of Claim filed along with this Writ is not true, is malicious, is not a fair statement and presents the Plaintiff as a fraudster thereby ridiculing him and reducing him in the eyes of reasonable and right-thinking members of the society.”