Anambra govt slams EFCC for placing Obiano on watchlist

The government of Anambra state has slammed the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) for placing Wille Obiano, governor of the state on its watchlist.

Recall that the EFCC in a letter dated November 15 and addressed to the comptroller-general of the Nigerian Immigration Service (NIS), asked to be informed whenever Obiano is seen attempting to travel out of the country.

It is not yet clear why the anti-graft agency placed Obiano on a watchlist but sources said the Anambra governor is being investigated by the commission.

Obiano is expected to leave office as governor in March 2022 and hand over to Charles Soludo, governor-elect and former governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).

Reacting to the development, Don Adinuba, the state commissioner for information, in a statement on Thursday, said Obiano is currently out of the country and that he travelled through one of the country’s international airports without disguising himself.

Adinuba said the governor still has four months in office, adding that nobody in Nigeria can circumscribe his immunity.

The information commissioner said the controversy involving the governor is masterminded by those in high places who “unsuccessfully canvassed for emergency rule” in the state during the build-up to the governorship election.

He said the anti-graft agency should not allow itself to be used by “politicians who are mere birds of passage”, adding that the agency did not invite the governor for questioning or serve him a notice before going to the press.

“Everything that can be wrong with politically motivated statements like this one is obviously wrong with this statement. The EFCC knows full well that it is acting inelegantly in this instance, and so has tried as much as possible not to make an official public statement on the alleged placing of Chief Obiano on the watch list,” the statement reads.

“It furtively gave a section of the media the news report it wrote based on ostensibly its letter to the NIS on November 15.

“Governor Obiano is out of the country currently. And he travelled through one of the country’s international airports. He did not disguise himself, but rather left the country with his identity fully disclosed at the necessary immigration point.

“The EFCC sounded more inelegant when it claimed in the sponsored press report that it received intelligence reports that the governor plans to “flee” from Nigeria once he hands over power next March 17 to the newly elected Anambra State governor, Professor Charles Chukwuma Soludo.

“Chief Obiano has never left any persons in doubt that he will relocate to his base in the United States once he finishes his tenure.

“Governor Obiano has a whole four months to remain in office as the Anambra State chief executive. Nobody in Nigeria can circumscribe his constitutionally conferred immunity which shields him from both criminal and civil prosecution.

“The EFCC went too far to announce in November that it is observing him. We are not aware of any state governor who had up to four months to be in office and the EFCC went on to sponsor media reports that he was being investigated.”

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