By Chidi Nkwopara
OWERRI – Angry reactions have started trailing the stories credited to the Head, Public Affairs, of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Mr. Femi Babafemi, over the armed robbery attack suffered by operatives of the Commission at Isiala Mbano, Imo State.
One of the EFCC operatives was reported dead, while four others sustained varying degrees of injuries in the armed robbery attack and â€œare currently receiving treatmentâ€ in an undisclosed hospital.
Reacting to reports in some national dailies (not Vanguard), the member representing Owerri North local council area of Imo State, Nze Ray Emeana, described the attack and the unfortunate mentioning of Chief Herbert Chikweâ€™s name in the stories as â€œmost unfortunateâ€.
He recalled that a former national chairman of the ruling Peoplesâ€™ Democratic Party (PDP) was attacked by armed robbers along the Enugu-Port Harcourt expressway, stressing that those he visited were never linked to the dastardly act till date.
â€œWe would like to know if it was only Chief Herbert Chikwe that was in court on the fateful day. We would like to know why EFCC singled out a man for mentioning in the press. We would like to know if this is the first time armed robbers struck at Isiala Mbano and if Chikwe masterminded the past robberiesâ€, Emeana fumed.
According to the lawmaker, â€œanybody who read the published stories would quickly jump into a conclusion that the man mentioned was the mastermind of the dastardly act and this is sad to extremeâ€.
Answering another question, the lawmaker said that the death of the EFCC operative and wounding of others is condemnable but quickly added that armed robbery is not a new thing in Nigeria.
He appealed to Imo State Police Command to properly investigate the robbery incident, as well as the story credited to the EFCC image maker with a view to ascertaining the culpability or otherwise of Chief Herbert Chikwe in the veiled allegation as published in some dailies (not Vanguard).
When contacted also, Chief Herbert Chikwe, obviously furious, queried: â€œWhy should anybody mention my name in this incident? My case was not the only case the EFCC attended to on Friday. They also came to court for another company and they are just calling my name. We all finished in court by 1pm on Friday and they got attacked sometime in the evening according to reports and they are calling my nameâ€.
He described the story as â€œa malicious fabrication just designed to malign my person, much the same way their N40m allegations were fabricatedâ€, pleading that â€œthey should please leave my name and that of my wife out of their business as an innocent man fears no accusationâ€.