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Soludo assures of Obiano’s release as cleric, Umeh, group condemn detention

By Osiberoha Osibe (Awka), Silver Nwokoro (Lagos) and Sodiq Omolaoye (Abuja)
22 March 2022   |   4:09 am
Anambra State Governor, Prof. Chukwuma Soludo, has hinted that his predecessor, Willie Obiano, who is currently being detained by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), will soon be released.

Soludo

• Group decries EFCC inhuman treatment of ex-gov
• Arrest has no political undertones, says anti-graft agency

Anambra State Governor, Prof. Chukwuma Soludo, has hinted that his predecessor, Willie Obiano, who is currently being detained by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), will soon be released.

Soludo, who stated this during a thanksgiving service at the St. Theresa’s Catholic Church, Isuofia, his home town, said: “Obiano is a good man and he did his best for Anambra State. He will be released soon.”

Former Governor Willie Obiano was arrested by the EFCC shortly after leaving office on Thursday, March 17, 2022 at the Murtala Mohammed International Airport (MMIA) in Lagos, as he was about to travel to the United States of America (USA).

He was, thereafter, taken to EFCC’s detention facility in Abuja, where he was given stringent bail conditions, including provision of two top public servants who must own landed property in Abuja as sureties.

Condemning Obiano’s arrest and detention, a cleric, Emmanuel Obimma, attributed Obiano’s ordeal to ethnic coloration, adding: “The Fulani cabal was at work in collaboration with some Igbo leaders.”

Obimma, who is Overseer of Adoration Ministry in Ike, Idemili South Council, expressed concern that some prominent Igbo persons were excited over Obiano’s ordeal, rather than solidarise with him, insisting that Obiano’s ordeal is an act of witch-hunting.

He argued that the immediate past governor of Anambra State could not have been arrested and detained for misappropriation of public funds, as, according to him, there were several looters in the country, who have been indicted, but have never been arrested and detained.

ALSO, former representative of Anambra Central Senatorial District, Victor Umeh, urged the EFCC to release Obiano after taking his statement.

Umeh, who is former National Chairman of the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA), stated this while speaking at the 80th birthday of Prof. Uzodimma Nwala, maintaining that Obiano performed well as governor.

“Obiano’s arrest is not new in Nigeria. When most governors leave office, EFCC swoops on them. He must be given the right of fair hearing. We don’t know why they arrested him.

“One thing I keep telling people is that former governor Obiano did well with Anambra money. He used our money well to the displeasure of opposition elements and they don’t want to accept that fact,” he stated.”

BESIDES, the Anambra State Traditional Rulers Council (ANSTRC) has condemned the inhuman treatment of Obiano in EFCC’s custody where Obiano was sighted with a red short and white T-shirt.

In a statement issued by the Obi of Onitsha and chairman of the council, HRM Nnaemeka Achebe, the group expressed disappointment that the EFCC should someone of Obiano’s status in such a distasteful and reprehensive manner.

ANSTRC, therefore, urged President Muhammadu Buhari and the Attorney General of Federation (AGF) and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami to call EFCC to order regarding the condition Obiano is being subjected to.

MEANWHILE, in its reaction yesterday in Abuja, the EFCC said Obiano’s arrest and detention have no political undertones, as it is being speculated in some quarters.

Speaking with journalists in Abuja on the sidelines of fifth Annual General Assembly (AGA) of the Network of Anti-Corruption Institutions in West Africa (NACIWA), chairman of the commission, said Obiano had yet to perfect the conditions the EFCC stipulated for his release on bail.

Chairman of the commission, Abdulrasheed Bawa, insisted that his arrest has nothing to do with politics, insisting that the EFCC was a professional organisation.