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Presidency faults Fayose linking Aisha Buhari to William Jefferson’s bribery scandal


Aisha Buhari

Aisha Buhari

• President’s wife threatens legal action
• Lawyers, rights activist, group disagree on freezing of Ekiti gov’s account by EFCC

The Presidency has dismissed as laughable the attempt by Governor Ayodele Fayose of Ekiti State to link President Buhari’s wife, Aisha, to United States (U.S.) Congressman, William Jefferson’s bribery scandal for which the American lawmaker was convicted in 2009.

In a statement yesterday, Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu, said ordinarily the Presidency would have ignored Fayose because he is a man “childishly obsessed with the desire to grab the headlines and insulting people at will because of his incurably boorish instincts.”

He, however, said that the Presidency chose to respond on this occasion for the sake of innocent Nigerians who might be misled by Fayose’s “shameless and blatant distortion of facts.

According to Shehu, Aisha had no direct, indirect or the remotest connection with William Jefferson’s corruption scandal in the U.S.

He, therefore, challenged Fayose to tell Nigerians if the so-called Aisha “whose pictures he proudly, but ignorantly shared, was the same Aisha married to President Muhammadu Buhari, or if the Aisha of his idle imagination had any relationship by blood or any relationship in whatever form with President Buhari’s wife.”

Shehu also asked Fayose to produce evidence from the records of investigation and subsequent trial of Jefferson to prove that Buhari’s wife, Aisha, was in anyway linked to that scandal.

In another development, as reactions continue to trail the recent freezing of the personal account of Ekiti State Governor, Mr. Ayodele Fayose by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), a constitutional lawyer and former National Secretary, Labour Party (LP), Dr. Kayode Ajulo, has described it as illegal.

Noting that as a sitting governor, Fayose enjoys immunity till the determination of his office as governor of a state in Nigeria, Ajulo stressed that by the provision of Section 308 (1) (a) of the Constitution, no suit can be instituted against Fayose and/or any Nigerian governor in any court in Nigeria.

“It is the law that to freeze an account, there must be an order of court for the attachment of the bank account.

“It is also trite that for the court to make such order, there must be papers (court process) filed in court and signed by the Judge.

“Therefore, no process of court can be issued, signed or served against Ayodele Fayose in his personal capacity, whereas the bank account in question is his personal account as such in his personal name.”

Besides, two Ilorin-based Senior Advocates of Nigeria (SANs), John Olusola Bayesheia and Abeny Mohammed, yesterday expressed divergent views over the freezing of personal account of Governor Ayodele Fayose of Ekiti State by the EFCC.

In separate interview with The Guardian in Ilorin, while Bayesheia said the EFCC action could be right if a case of diversion of public funds into a private account had been established against the governor by the anti-graft agency, Mohammed, who said he was yet to access the facts of the EFCC action as at the time of the chat, however faulted the body as no account could have been frozen without a court order to that effect.

Bayesheia, while underscoring the import of the immunity granted the governor while serving in office, said the clause should not foreclose the fact that the governor could be investigated, but not to be tried or arrested.

According to him: “The agency (EFCC) must have its reasons for its action on Fayose’s account.
Don’t forget that the era of impunity is over in Nigeria. Besides, his immunity as a governor does not cover him if there is a reason to suggest that he’s diverted public funds into his private account or of that of anybody. The immunity means that he can’t be arrested or prosecuted but can be investigated.”

According to Mohammed: “I am yet to grasp the rationale for the EFCC’s action against Governor Fayose. But if I may comment on the surface level, I want to fault the action of the body.

“Firstly, there must have been a court order before such an account could be frozen. Besides, it looks unprecedented as no court seems to have issued anything of sort against any serving governor of a state.

“Secondly, he must first have been accused of some wrongdoings and given room to adjust failure of which could have led to the EFCC’s action against him. So, it is humiliating and shocking that such thing is happening under a supposedly democracy. He was treated like a common criminal. It was an extreme measure and therefore should be condemned. But I pray we are not moving towards another dangerous situation in Nigeria.”

Meanwhile, a renowned human rights activist and Executive Chairman, Centre for Human Rights and Social Justice (CHRSJ), Mr. Adeniyi Alimi Sulaiman, has warned the President and Commander-in-Chief, Gen. Muhammadu Buhari, against returning the country to the era of despotic military rule of 1984-1985 where the government was the almighty.

Sulaiman also said that the anti-graft agency lacked power and right to freeze any sitting governor’s bank account, saying that Section 308 of the amended 1999 Constitution has covered the sitting President/Vice President and Governor/Deputy- Governor from criminal offences.

Reacting to the development , Centre for Human Rights and Social Justice(CHRSJ), in a statement issued by it’s Directorate of Media and Research, which was made available to newsmen yesterday, said that EFCC had gone beyond its boundary on this matter.

CHRSJ chief Comrade Adeniyi Alimi Sulaiman who described the action of the EFCC as “illegal, anathema, abomination, unconstitutional, undemocratic, evil, ungodly, satanic and crime against God and humanity,” stressed that many governors, including Fayose, were not saints as all of them have soiled their hands with public funds in one way or the other.

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  • KennBest

    If Fayose has any case against Buhari’s wife, let him file a case at the courts. It’s been proven that Nigeria’s money found its way into Fayose’s Zenith Bank account. So, EFCC has every right to freeze the account and return our money. If Fayose can legitimately lay claim to the money, let him come out and tell Nigerians what his trade is, that earns him a profit of N1.2 billion in just one account.

    • Dauda

      Let Aisha go to court or the US to clear her name. Fayose is whistle blower. He has finished his job, what is left is for your goddess to clear her name of the scandal. I do not want to believe that you are fantastically corrupt like Buhari and Aisha.

      • Daniel Dalon

        Aisha is not running for election nor is she a sitting politician with immunity, she doesn’t need to clear her name for any reason. And how can she take Fayose to court when he has immunity?

        • wagbayii

          Mr dauda…let’s think things through before engaging a public place, one of our major problem in this country is our thought process, we don’t usually attack the issue we get emotionally bias and then it clouds our judgments.

          • Dauda

            As it was in the administration of immediate past govt. We thought it through when OBJ ganged up with opposition to tell all sort of lies, write all sort of letters and launched all sort of books all because Jonathan refused to be his puppet. I think we are reasoning now, and not merely thinking. Reasoning comes with truth, thinking was flawed with lies

          • wagbayii

            @Dauda I can’t do more than to agree with you, however we need to be factual.there are processes for everything including a banking transaction, u will get the foot of transaction ones its bn consumated. What am saying in essence is, Efcc got a transaction in the cause of the investigation that a particular amount was transfered into ‘zenith’ who owns this account? Was there really a transfer of tax payers money ?our collective patrimony yes or No?
            What I see is just fayose fighting dirty in philosophy its its called tu quoque (what about you)let him address the issue.

          • Alamina

            That man called Dauda does not sound like one who knows what being factual means. He is comfortable to operate within the rumour mills. Exactly what small minded people do.

          • Alamina

            Just back up your wild allegations with proof. Say what OBJ said that he later could not come out to prove when required. That time OBJ was installing an unknown Goodluck Jonathan as VP and then president you didn’t think he was his puppet. So you think your thought process is sound for questioning OBJ’s choice of candidate? And who are u to just sit in ur shallow minded world and declare as lies things OBJ had said. Do u even know where Aso rock is located? Have u attended any meeting where any issue at that level was ever discussed? Have u ever received any document containing any of those subject matters? So what pedigree do u have to say what constitutes a lie? Please just keep quiet and operate at ur ignorant level and stop talking without facts like Fayose

      • Alamina

        Nigeria deserves credible information and credible criticism. We don’t want mediocrity and talking for cheap popularity. At Fayose’s supposed level, he should learn how to verify whatever information he wants to ‘blow in his whistle’ or else keep quiet. There are lots of people with similar names and surnames so first instinct for a responsible person should be to patiently be sure of the identity before dragging your enemy’s name into it. That’s the kind of civilised nation we should all be supporting not ‘tout-like’ attitude.

        • Dauda

          Keep your greed and idol worshiping out the case and allow Aisha to go to the US and say she was not the Aisha Buhari mentioned. She went to twitter to deny, but suddenly realized the US are watching and she deleted the message. The US also has that as evidence already

          • Alamina

            The US have not said it’s Aisha, the president’s wife. They know whom they r talking about. So she has no business going to the US for any wild goose chase. Fayose who has been called a liar is the man on whom the burden of proof lies to make us know he hasn’t lied. That document has been there since the Jefferson conviction and many informed Nigerians are well aware of a certain Aisha Buhari being named in that document. No one had attempted to change the identity of the woman to the president’s wife, not even the US. It’s Fayose who did. That’s Fayose’s cross to carry or else I have yet another legitimate proof in this that he hasn’t got credibility. And u think you don’t stay in your house to know what the US is noticing or not noticing? You think the US is as uninformed as a bunch of you guys here?

        • Dauda

          You now stay in your house and determine which information is credible

          • Alamina

            Yes, just as ur loquacious master, Fayose, just stays in his house and says what he’s unable to prove. All I need is for his claims to be substantiated now that his credibility has been questioned by those who have said he lied about d identity of Aisha Buhari. The onus is on him to make us believe he still has credibility by disproving those who have called him a liar. Let him not just go quiet on this issue now.

          • Alamina

            The US have never been in doubt about which Aisha they referred to in their report. Tose who know better have provided proof regarding the identity of the Aisha Buhari so named in the report. That is how you present fact and that is how you make your information credible. The onus now lies in Fayose to prove it’s the president’s wife if we must not tag him an incredible informant

    • samelia

      Why d selective prosecution of the opposition? Why are APC faithfuls not liable to investigation? Are Amaechi, Fashola, Tinubu, …etc, all immune to being probed? The fight against corruption should not be targetted only at d opposition. Just the way the blind can not lead d blind, d corrupt CANNOT fight corruption. Selective probing on its own is corruption at the highest level. It’s been over a year since Buhari’s govt. assummed power, yet he has not delivered on any of his promises but all his govt. does is to blame PDP. Leadership is all about accepting responsibilities to deliver. In this present govt., food items have become very expensive, power supply has become far worse than epileptic and many Nigerians are losing their jobs. If this govt. can not give Nigerians the basics like food, low- cost housing, power supply, quality health care, jobs, quality education, good roads, infrastructural development and general improvement of the economy, amongst others, then it has no business being in power.

    • Emmyholly

      If you’re saying it’s right for EFCC to freeze the account of a Governor in Nigeria without been prosecuted (which is impossible) then come to Osun state where the Governor behaves like a wild animal. Nigerians please be wise✌️

      • KennBest

        You have not made any sense.