By Philomina Attah
Abuja, Jan. 10, 2020
The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has urged the public to disregard an online publication which speculated that the Commission had arraigned former Vice President Atiku Abubakar over alleged fraud of N75.3 billion.
In a statement on Friday in Abuja by the Commission’s Acting spokesperson, Mr. Tony Orilade, EFCC dismissed the report of Atiku’s alleged arraignment before Justice Mojisola Dada of the Special Offences Court, Ikeja, Lagos, as fake.
“The attention of the commission has been drawn to an online report which claimed that the commission on Thursday, January 9, 2020, arraigned former Vice President Atiku Abubakar.
“We wish to state categorically that nothing of such took place.
“The Commission also wishes to state that no statement or press release emanated from the spokesperson of the Commission, Mr. Wilson Uwujaren, to that effect as claimed in the report.
“Nor was there any involvement of any sort from the Commission’s prosecutor, Joy Amahian, in the imaginary arraignment.
“The story remains the author’s imagination of fake news.
“The Commission, therefore, urges the general public to disregard the fake news as handiwork of mischief makers,” the statement read in part.
Meanwhile, the EFCC has said that Senator Shehu Sani, who is being detained by the commission for alleged extortion, has a case to answer.
The commission made this known on Friday in a statement by Orilade, which debunked insinuations that that the anti-graft agency was persecuting the former lawmaker.
It stated that Sani had a case to answer and that those defending him were driven by ignorance of the alleged offence.
The EFCC’s statement came after a civil society organisation, Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP), reportedly demanded immediate release of Sani from the commission’s custody.
Reports quoted the Executive Director of SERAP, Mr Adetokunbo Mumuni, of accusing the EFCC of violating both national and international laws with the ex-lawmaker’s detention.
“The EFCC has taken note of insinuations and phantom claims that it is `persecuting’ Senator Sani, because he is a known critic of the President Muhammadu Buhari administration.
“The commission wishes to state that Senator Sani is currently facing criminal investigation, and being detained by the EFCC in very conducive environment, based on a valid court order.
“Invariably, claims in some quarters of the breach of his fundamental human rights, are merely in the imagination of the purveyors of such claims.
“Let it be stated clearly that Senator Sani has questions to answer as regards the alleged involvement in name-dropping.
“Particularly that he obtained $25,000 from Alhaji Sani Dauda, the ASD Motors boss, in order to help shield him from investigations being carried out by the EFCC,” it stated.
Sani, who represented Kaduna Central Senatorial District at the Senate on the People’s Redemption Party (PRP) platform between 2015 and 2019, is a strong critic of the Buhari administration.
The former lawmaker had also reportedly alleged that the Federal Government was trying to silence him using the EFCC.
“For certain people to brazenly come out to defend a suspect, who is being probed for a serious offence as the one committed by Sani shows that they are not really conversant with his offence.
“It is unfortunate that certain people are ready to do anything to support evil for pecuniary gains. This is quite unfortunate,” the EFCC said.