GARBA Shehu, one of President Muhammadu Buhari’s spokespersons, announced on Saturday that the President has placed 50 “high profile” Nigerians on a travel watch-list pending the determination of the corruption cases against them.
But even though the names of the persons on the list were not disclosed, chances are that the Governor of Ekiti State, Ayodele Fayose, may be among the affected citizens.
In a statement on Saturday, Shehu said that Buhari has ordered the Attorney General of the Federation (AGF), Abubakar Malami, to carry out “in full force” the Executive Order 6, in which the President directed the Nigeria Immigration Service and other security agencies to restrict some 50 high profile citizens from leaving the county pending the determination of their cases.
“It is instructive to note that EO6 (Executive Order 6) was specifically directed to relevant law enforcement agencies to ensure that all assets within a minimum value of N50 million or equivalent, subject to investigation or litigation are protected from dissipation by employing all available lawful means, pending the final determination of any corruption-related matter,” Shehu’s statement also read.
He explained that the directive is in line with Buhari’s anti-corruption campaign which is in accordance with the 1999 constitution (as amended) and the general rule of law.
“This administration will uphold the rule of law in all its actions and the right of citizens would be protected as guaranteed by the Constitution,” the statement read further.
Fayose, whose tenure as Governor of Ekiti State will expire on October 16, was placed on a criminal watch-list by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC). The commission wrote to the Nigeria Customs Service on September 12, describing Fayose as posing a flight risk and may leave the country via land borders, airports or even seaports.
According to EFCC’s Acting Chairman, Ibrahim Magu, Fayose is under probe for conspiracy, abuse of office, official corruption, theft and money laundering.
But in a statement, Fayose said he was not afraid of facing investigation, adding that he had nothing to hide. He also described his being placed on a watch-list as “political” and “petty”.
Days later, however, Fayose took the matter to court, asking for N20 billion in damages against the EFCC for “flagrant, deliberate, premeditated and reckless libel and unprovoked attack on his character and reputation and the breach of his constitutional right/immunity as an incumbent Governor”.
Other prominent Nigerians who are currently facing corruption charges and whose name may be included in the travel ban include: Former Chief of Air Staff, Adeola Amosu, former Chief of Defence Staff, Alex Badeh, Chairman of DAAR Communications Plc, Raymond Dokpesi, former Governor of Adamawa State, Murtala Nyako, among others.