(This page may contain affiliate links. Read my full disclosure.)
The office of the Inspector General of Police is said to have received not less than 102 petitions against the Governor of Ekiti State, Mr. Ayodele Fayose, investigations Punch Correspondent revealed this.
Most of the petitions were said to have been written by those alleged to have either been harassed, beaten or detained before, during, and after the last governorship election in the state.
It was gathered that the police is set to invite the governor’s loyalists who were either in the employment of the state or in other positions when they partook in the acts stated in the petitions.
A special police team, led by one CSP Ndah, was said to have led the investigating team that investigated some of the cases.
During the tenure of the last Inspector General of Police, Mr. Solomon Arase, the police was set to arrest some of the governor’s aides, but Fayose was said to have raised the alarm, alleging that the police were coming to raid the state and his personal house.
The majority of the petitions were said to have originated from the members of the All Progressives Congress in the state.
The chairman of the APC in the state, Mr. Jide Awe, one of our correspondents learnt, was said to have coordinated the writing of the petitions.
It was also gathered that the writers of the petitions were spread across the 16 local government areas of the state. Among those said to have written the petitions were one Dapo Kolawole from Ijero Local Government Area and Jide Ajayi from Irepodun Ifelodun Local Government Area, among others.
A highly-placed police source said that the time was ripe for the police to look at the petitions again following the conclusion of the army’s inquiry into roles played by its officers and men during the election.
“The police have over 102 petitions against the governor which we are investigating. Soon, we will start inviting the suspects for interrogation,” the senior police officer said.
He added, “We have the petitions already worked on by a senior police officer, who is retired now, but we are looking at them again so that it doesn’t look as if we are sweeping anything under the carpet.”
It was also gathered that divisional police officers who served in the state during the election and were used to illegally detain innocent voters had volunteered information to their superiors.
The state Publicity Secretary of the All Progressives Congress, Taiwo Olatunbosun, told SUNDAY PUNCH, that he was aware of the petitions. Olatubosun said the party had written another petition against the governor over attacks on its members by thugs loyal to the PDP.
He said, “In fact, we wrote another petition two days ago to the DSS and the police based on the attack on our members. Our properties at various times had been destroyed by PDP thugs. All these allegations, among others should be investigated.”
The state chairman of the Conference of Nigerian Political Parties, Mr. Tunji Ogunlola, also said he was aware of petitions against the governor bordering on intimidation and harassment of the opposition by some of his aides.
He said apart from the police, he was aware of petitions by the APC to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission over the claims of the governor on monthly wages of workers in the state.
He said, “It is true there are countless allegations against him. He should defend all the allegations against him in the petitions.”
The state chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party, Mr. Gboyega Oguntuase, however, said no true son of Ekiti would write a petition against a performing governor.
He said if truly there were petitions against the governor, it could only come from “his enemies in the APC.”
The governor’s Chief Press Secretary, Mr. Idowu Adelusi, declined to make any comment when called on phone by one of our correspondents on Saturday evening.
Adelusi said he would only react if he was aware of the petitions.
“I am not reacting. I am not saying anything because I have not seen anything at all. I am educated and by the virtue of my training you have to see what you are reacting to,” Adelusi said.
It will be recalled that the APC in February this year for the third time petitioned the Minister of Justice and Attorney General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami (SAN), asking him to prosecute all indicted people in the June 21 Ekiti governorship election rigging scandal.
The party had written two petitions dated February 13, 2015 and November 23, 2015 on the same subject matter.
The party in another petition asked the then Inspector General of Police, Solomon Arase, to prosecute Fayose; former Ekiti State Mopol Commander, Gabriel Selekere; and an Assistant Inspector General of Police, Bala Nasarawa for the alleged criminal manipulation of the governorship election.
Meanwhile, the EFCCC which had launched a search for Fayose’s houses is set to approach the court to seize the buildings.
The properties are those Fayose was said to have allegedly acquired after he became governor on October 16, 2014.
Already, it was gathered that the investigators had identified six of the properties with purchasing papers that were skilfully prepared to deceive security agencies.
Our correspondent gathered that the purchasing papers were yet to be changed, but that those who sold the properties had confided in the EFCC who the real owner of the houses was.
The investigators are working on the theory that the governor might have used his detained bosom friend, Abiodun Agbele, as a front among others.
A source in the EFCC said, “We are closing in on the governor. Immunity does not stop us from investigating any sitting governor or president. And we have no apology to offer for doing our duty.”
Two of the governor’s friends were reportedly interrogated on the properties. They included one Abbey, who was said to have been brought to Abuja from Lagos on Friday.
He was said to have been confronted with the evidence on the various lodgements he allegedly made to banks in the name of the governor.
Another friend of the governor known as Fatai, was said to have allegedly aided the governor in securing his deposits in the bank. He was also said to be “in the know of how the properties were bought.”
It was gathered that the houses would be temporarily seized until the proxies whose names appear on the papers of some of the houses were “able to convince investigators whether the source of the funds used in purchasing the houses were clean.”
The commission was said to have relied on reports given to it by former and current associates of the governor.
Chief among the whistleblowers, one of our correspondents learnt, is a former Secretary of the Peoples Democratic Party in the state, Dr. Tope Aluko.
Aluko told our correspondent that it was true he was invited by the anti-graft agency, adding that the allegations he made against the governor concerning the funding of his campaign were true.
In a prepared statement he gave to our correspondent, Aluko said, “Ayo Fayose was sworn in on October 16, 2015. By January 30, 2015, he made a cash deposit of N145m into De-Private account.
“On on April 18, 2015, he paid cash of N70m to the same account. The N300m deposit paid into account no 9013074033 in April in cash by Abey in Fayose’s name can’t be from the Zenith Bank, but from the Office of the National Security Adviser/Dasuki for presidential damaging and presidential election.
“These funds were used to purchase choice properties in Abuja, Lagos and Dubai through other banks in Ekiti which the EFCC is now working on.
“Ayo Fayose is not ignorant of Money Laundering Act, although he’s relying on his immunity. He should know that any cash payment above N9m for corporate and N5m for individuals is an offence and should be reported to the EFCC.
“The ones discovered or uncovered by the EFCC are different from that of the N2.1bn, $2m and $35m from this same source.”
EFCC gets court order to hold Agbele
Meanwhile, a Lagos State Magistrate’s court has granted the EFCC permission to continue to detain Agbele.
It was learnt that the court granted the EFCC a remand order to hold the suspect for two weeks as investigations into the N4.7bn allegedly transferred from the account of the Office of the National Security Adviser continued.
The remand order is, however, renewable after two weeks, which implies that the commission can still detain Agbele for over two weeks depending on the outcome of investigations.
Agbele, it was learnt, allegedly helped Fayose to handle over N1.219bn during the Ekiti State governorship election in 2014.
The money was said to have been part of the N4.7bn that was allegedly siphoned from the imprest account of the Office of the National Security Adviser and deposited into the bank account of a company belonging to the sons of a former Minister of State for Defence, Musiliu Obanikoro.
The EFCC had alleged that Obanikoro conveyed about N1.219bn on an aircraft and handed it over to Agbele for onward delivery to Zenith Bank.
Agbele was said to have collected the money on behalf of Fayose and paid the money into the account of Fayose who was the governorship candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party at the time.
In his reaction, Fayose admitted that Agbele was a trusted friend who paid money into his account. He, however, maintained that the money came from the management of Zenith Bank and private donations.