Former governor of Delta State, Chief James Onanefe Ibori, has refuted what he called curious claims by Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, on Wednesday 14 April 2010 that it invited him by â€œproxyâ€ to answer certain questions in its office.
He said â€œthere was never a time that any invitation was passed on to me through third parties, so I stand on my earlier grounds that the claim that EFCC ever invited me until I received a letter delivered to my Lagos house on Tuesday, is a wicked lie.
“This is because no government agency worth its salt would even contemplate inviting anyone for questioning through messages allegedly given to third parties.â€
Ibori said in a press statement signed by his Media Assistant, Mr. Tony Eluemunor, that all the claims of invitation by proxy do not detract from the fact that there are well-known procedures of inviting someone for questioning.
He said that such procedures were not followed in this case when the announcement that he had been declared wanted was made by 10am on Tuesday but did not get any letter of invitation until 4:22 pm, over an hour after he had issued a statement denying that EFCC ever contacted him.
Chief Ibori said it was obvious that the letter was rushed in as a face-saving measure, adding that no letter was also delivered to his Abuja home as claimed by the EFCC.
According to the former Delta State governor, â€œthis is another lie that EFCC has to find another lie to explain away.â€
He also asked the agency to remember that various news organisations openly quoted its spokesman, Mr. Femi Babafemi, to the effect that the agency had never declared Ibori wanted, and had never denied making such statements.
â€œAll such publications were made within the past three weeks; the exact time frame the agency now claims it had been on a search for Ibori.
â€œMost of all, Ibori would want Nigerians to note that even in the letter that was rushed to him at 4:22 pm on Tuesday, the agency asked him to report to their office on the 17 April, 2010, a date still very much in the future, yet EFCCâ€™s latest statement asked him to come out of hiding.
â€œNot even EFCC has contradicted this fact. That is the utmost proof that the rush to declare him wanted was for EFCC to serve the political purposes of its masters as they get desperate, as Nigeria goes into an election year.
â€œOwing to this, Ibori maintained that it should be obvious to the public now that what he is going through is not criminal prosecution but political persecution, and that the age of impunity has returned to Nigeria by a cabal in power,â€ Eluemunor said.