April 23, 2024

Halt further persecution, witch-hunt of Emefiele, Agbor stakeholders appeal to Tinubu

EFCC files amended charges against Emefiele; ex-CBN boss gets travel permission

By Mike Ebonugwo

A pressure group, the Agbor Stakeholders Forum, ASF, has again raised the alarm over what it describes as the relentless persecution and witch-hunt of detained former Central Bank of Nigeria governor, Mr Godwin Emefiele, saying the development is “the greatest political witch-hunt in Nigeria’s history” as “ no other CBN governor has been so probed in the history of Nigeria”.

A statement by Kanene Kachikwu on behalf of the group said that the latest scheme by government “to break our brother and probably jail him for purely political reason, is the surreptitious contracting of the world’s number one accounting firm,  Deloitte Consulting, to audit the forex transactions of the CBN during Emefiele’s time.” It added that acting on the prompting of government,  “Deloitte has  come up with yet another binge of allegations” to nail the former CBN governor as several other investigations carried out before now to achieve this purpose failed.

The group appealed “to President Bola Tinubu to have a change of heart and let our brother go. He has gone through a lot already having lost his tenured job and having suffered humiliation and incarceration for months, we urge Mr President to apply the graces of his good offices and free our brother. Having won the crown, we appeal to him to grant our brother reprieve in the spirit of reconciliation and national healing.

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The forum then went to state thus: “Recall that since June 2023, immediately after the inauguration of President Tinubu,  Emefiele has been subjected to intense probes and scrutinies without let, till date.

The first grilling of Emefiele was by the Department of State Service, DSS.

DSS had plucked our brother from his Lagos home on June 10, 2023. They had detained him in Abuja and literally turned him upside-down.

“The DSS had initially accused him of financing terror. They kept him in their custody for about four months. They visited all his property everywhere in Nigeria and ransacked them all.  At the end of the day,  they found only a little ‘toy’ gun. They didn’t get an iota of evidence to prosecute him on the accusation of funding terror or gun-running.

“The DSS dragged Emefiele to court several times on some trumped up charges but not one charge could stand up before the court.

“The DSS shamefacedly handed Emefiele to brother agency,  the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC. The EFCC that was supposed to investigate Emefiele in the first place also dredged up all sorts of unfounded allegations of financial malfeasance, including procurement offences. But none could stand the test of basic legality.”

Continuing the group submitted thus: “As we have noted several times before in the last one year, our brother was headhunted for the job  of the Central Bank of Nigeria governor in 2014. He was plucked from the pinnacle of one of the biggest and best banks in Africa. Emefiele rose through the ranks to become the MD/CEO of that bank. He remains a major shareholder in the bank and therefore, was probably the richest CBN governor ever to be appointed. We therefore state categorically that Mr Emefiele was not in the CBN to look for money or to make money.

“On the contrary, his driving force was and remains the need to mobilize idle long-term funds for the rapid development of Nigeria.”