An angry Governor Ayodele Fayose has warned the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) against “persecuting” him and his friends.
He was reacting to the detention of Precious, wife of former Minister of Aviation, Femi Fani-Kayode, in a bank in Ado-Ekiti on Monday.
The woman had gone to a branch of Access Bank with her baby around 3pm but discovered she was being delayed by officials of the bank.
Sensing that she was not being promptly attended to, she inquired from officials what the problem was and was told she was being detained on the instructions of the EFCC.
She was thereafter prevented from leaving the banking hall.
It took the intervention of Fayose, who led scores of supporters to the bank around 7pm to secure her release.
“They can’t try that nonsense in my state. If they try it, there will be a showdown. They are over-stepping their boundary. This is a country that operates a constitution. What kind of molestation is this, taking away the rights of Nigerians because you are investigating?
“Must they terrorise people because they are in opposition? I have demanded an apology from the bank. If it fails to do that, I’m done with them. This is lawlessness,” Fayose declared.
Speaking after the incident, Mrs. Fani-Kayode lamented that she was badly treated by the officials while her baby was denied food.
“I’m not a politician and that account had been dormant for about five years. I only activated it last month in Port Harcourt,” she began.
“I decided to go to Access Bank to make some withdrawals when I was detained on the instructions of the EFCC.
“They told me the account had been frozen and they were asked by the EFCC to arrest me on the spot.
“I have been operating the account since 2005 when I was a student in the university. They had earlier frozen my two bank accounts which they have not opened till today and I have been waiting for them to invite me, but up till today, they have not.
“The balance in the account is just N200,000; so, I don’t know what their interest is. I’m a private person. I have not received any political fund; so, why are they trying to starve my family?
“That account has nothing to do with politics. This is dehumanising. I had to call the governor to inform him of the development.”
Reacting, Fani-Kayode, a chieftain of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), told the government to leave his family members alone and face him.
“This government is sick and cowardly and so is the EFCC. If you have a problem with me, face me and leave my family alone,” he declared.
Fani-Kayode said his wife and kid were “illegally detained, brutalised and put under arrest on the orders of the EFCC at a bank in Ado Ekiti today”.
Challenging the Federal Government, he said, “If Buhari wants to deal with me, why doesn’t he face me like a man instead of trying to harm and hurt my eight-month-old son and wife.
He added that he would sue the bank and the EFCC for the “illegal and wicked action.”
The EFCC, however, denied detaining Fani-Kayode’s wife and son.
In a statement by its spokesman, Wilson Uwujaren, on Monday, the anti-graft agency said the ex-minister’s wife attempted to withdraw money from an account which the agency had frozen.
“Contrary to the spin about the purported arrest of mother and child, a certain Chikwendu Sonia today attempted to withdraw money from an Access Bank account that had been placed on ‘Post No Debit’ Category, following the discovery of illicit cash flows into the account.
“She was intercepted by the bank while the commission was notified, but because it was late, the EFCC advised that the suspect be taken to the police station for processing and release on bail.
“They were arranging to take the suspect to the police station when Governor Ayo Fayose stormed the bank with thugs and his personal security and forcefully secured the release of the suspect, with claims that the EFCC had no power to detain anybody in his state. He also vowed to close down the branch of the bank.
“The said account, which had a balance of N2,307,712.82, was flagged following investigation into the PDP Joint Trust Fund when the commission traced N1.1bn to the Zenith Bank account of Fani-Kayode.
“It was discovered that the account had two biometric identification numbers, one for Fani-Kayode and the other (with BVN 2205597283) for Sonia Chikwendu. The same BVN is linked to two other accounts in Diamond Bank and 15 accounts in Guaranty Trust Bank,” the EFCC said.