1. Gentlemen of the Press, it has become imperative to interact with you in order to bring you to speed with the state of affairs in the Confluence State and to also speak to the world about the media trial, blackmail and reckless intimidation of Kogi State Government officials, their families and associates by the leadership of an agency that has derailed from its primary aim of fighting corruption to becoming the political tool in the hands of brutal minds in the pursuit of evil causes.
2. The current display of desperation of Mr. Abdulrasheed Bawa, the Chairman of the EFCC to paint the Kogi State Government and its officials in the colours of corruption at all costs is not unexpected. Having failed to make Nigerians believe that a 20 Billion Naira Bailout Loan was placed in a phantom fixed deposit account with Sterling Bank Plc, he kissed the dusts of defeat when Sterling Bank unequivocally DENIED UNDER OATH that Kogi State owned such an account or such funds. Mr. Bawa then rushed to a willing collaborator and a co-hater of the justice system, the Central Bank of Nigeria, which claimed that it has received the “missing” funds from Sterling Bank. The CBN has since November 2021 till date provided no clarification to the Kogi State Government whose funds it allegedly received from Sterling Bank, even after three reminders. The EFCC did a tactical retreat by failing to file a Defence or joining issues after being thoroughly embarrassed by the avalanche of facts presented by the Kogi State Government to Court in respect of a pending suit. We will not give in to any intimidation or threats by the convicted Abdulrasheed Bawa using the EFCC and taxpayers resources at it https://youtu.be/qjienhqxyji
3. As a Government with utmost respect for the rule of law, we see the EFCC Chairman as a Convict. He has been convicted by a High Court, a court of competent jurisdiction, and that conviction is yet to be set aside or vacated by the Court or a higher Court. Regardless of any appeal filed, the conviction and jail term imposed by the Court stands until set aside. This is the position of the law! No matter how his godfathers in the justice administration of the nation cover him, that toga remains and he must be arrested and be made to join others in the correctional centre to be purged of contempt. If Bawa continues to walk free after conviction by a competent court of jurisdiction, it spells doom for our justice administration in the country. We cannot have one law for Bawa and another for the rest of us. That is why Bawa could refer to a free citizen as been at large. Someone who was not invited for questioning; someone who was not informed of having committed any offence; someone who is not a convict like Bawa. If Bawa is not at large, the honourable thing to do is to turn himself in and stop avoiding justice.
4. In our bid to fight corruption, we cannot wish away laws and rules which govern the administration of Criminal Justice System. We cannot ignore or take away the rights of people who by the greatest law of the land are presumed innocent until proven otherwise. We cannot leave the fight against corruption in the hands of a political hired-gun whose interest is to fight perceived opponents of his paymasters. We cannot leave the fight in the hands of people who breach human rights at will and whose human rights credentials are questionable. Bawa may cry his eyes out that “people under investigation are instigating the populace against him” but the fact remains that he has been found out to be a chronic liar, a vindictive tormentor of the innocent and a hater of justice. These are enough to make people protest!!!
5. What will he tell Kogites who he earlier told their monies were placed in a fixed deposit account and some dissipated only for them to find out through the same Bank said to be holding the alleged funds that no such funds belong to their State. How does he explain the monumental infrastructural developments by way of the best hospitals in Nigeria with best equipment, excellent roads, flyover, schools and other infrastructural facilities around the State in the face of the picture of doom and gloom and wanton pilfering of public funds he has painted to Kogites and Nigerians? He has shown that he is not fighting corruption but individuals who do not align to the antics of his godfathers and paymasters.
6. The recent despairing attempt to embarrass and intimidate some Kogi State Government officials and persons related to the Governor is nothing but the classic naked dance of a hen whose anus has been unfurled by the wind of truth. While we might not dwell on the matter like the EFCC is doing right now because of our own respect for the Judiciary, we make bold to say that monies belonging to the State Government are not missing. Like the “missing” or ‘fixed’ 20 billion Naira Bailout Loan, the recent attempt is a political tool to silence the Governor and distract him from the task of garnering support for the election of the APC Presidential Candidate, Sen. Bola Ahmed Tinubu.
7. The recent press conference by some “very rich” “CSOs”, recklessly delivering the lines of their highly placed power-drunk sponsors in Abuja that could afford live telecast on many TV stations simultaneously, has further shown how some people in high places feel the rule of law does not matter. The reason the Kogi State Government went to court to challenge the Naira Redesign Policy, especially the date the old naira will cease to be legal tender, was borne out of the need to defend the survival and the economic rights of Nigerians. The hardship experienced by Nigerians from all walks of life who could not and still cannot access the new naira notes is horrible. Nigerians do not deserve such extreme hardship. As a Government of the people, the Kogi State Government teamed up with the Government of Kaduna and Zamfara States and proceeded to the Supreme Court which in the interim restrained the CBN from enforcing the deadline for the validity of the naira notes as legal tender. The CBN, like its collaborator-in-chief, the EFCC, ignored and disobeyed the ruling therefore undermining the authority of the apex court of the land.
8. At the same press briefing, the Governors that went to court were tagged to have “shifted allegiance from the President to someone who is yet to become President”, with severe attacks on the Governor of Kogi State and the haste at using the media to convict and condemn him when no law court has found him guilty. It is therefore clear that certain elements are truly victimizing Governors known to be vociferously supporting the candidacy of Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu. Bawa and Emefiele are clearly destroying the integrity of Mr. President. We make bold to say that no amount of intimidation will stop the Governor from supporting and mobilizing support for the candidature of Bola Ahmed Tinubu as the next President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
9. We are not unaware of a high-level conspiracy to gag more voices on the side of the party in power. But we shall continue to fight injustice and discrimination across the country. Bawa and Emefiele cannot stop the political victory ahead. Who doesn’t know whose interest the “CSOs” were serving? Where did the CSOs get funds to pay multiple TV stations for live coverage? Why did they devote so much of their time to speak about Kogi and condemn officials of the State even before the decision of the Court? What evidence has the CSO about the allegations of corrupt practices that the EFCC is flying about? We know the interest they are serving and Nigerians now know better.
10. We call on the President to call Bawa and Emefiele to order before they throw this country into a huge crisis with their disdain for the rule of law. As a Government, Kogi State will continue to resort to constitutionally provided mechanisms in resolving disagreements. We shall never encourage violence. Now that Nigerians know why they are after Governor Yahaya Bello, we must toe the line of the rule of law to avert crisis.
11. We call on Nigerians to remain steadfast in the build up to the February 25, 2023 polls. Nigerians will only triumph if we refuse to allow the current confusion and provocation to dampen our spirit for continued progressive leadership. We must show the EFCC, the CBN and their collaborators that the collective resolve of our people is bigger than their antics.
12. Thank you all and God bless.