- Bishop Matthew Hassan Kukah, the head of the Sokoto Diocese of the Catholic Church, visited the EFCC facility in Abuja on Monday, October 31
- He met with the trio of Reuben Abati, a former presidential spokesperson, and former ministers Femi Fani-Kayode and Musiliu Obanikoro
- But Fani-Kayode has revealed that what the EFCC said concerning the visit by Kukah was not what truly transpired
What the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) told Nigerians about the visit to its Abuja facility by Bishop Matthew Kukah, the Catholic Bishop of the Sokoto Diocese, on Monday, October 31, may be a lie afterall.
Kukah reportedly met with former minister Femi Fani-Kayode; Reuben Abati, a former spokesperson for former President Goodluck Jonathan; and Musiliu Obanikoro, a former minister of state for Defence under Jonathan. The three Nigerians are being held for alleged corruption.
According to the statement by the EFCC, Kukah commended the anti-graft agency for taking good care of the trio and for making the facility habitable. He also reportedly prayed for the inmates and said he met them cheerful.
But Fani-Kayode has said the statement by the EFCC is riddled with lies.
Speaking through his aide, Jude Ndukwe, on Tuesday, October 1, the former minister confirmed that Kukah was actually at the detention facility on a visit to the trio.
"On his arrival there, he met them at the clinic and afterwards had some private moments with them away from the prying eyes of journalists.
"Bishop Kukah spoke inspirational words of encouragement to the trio wherein he encouraged them to be strong and see this as a trying period for them. He prayed for them before departing.
"It was therefore very shocking to us to read that the commission’s spokesman, Wilson Uwujaren, released a press statement wherein he alluded a lot of things supposedly said by the Catholic cleric and wove disheartening lies around them.
"Even if we decide to agree that Kukah said the clinic and detention area of the commission was ‘clean and orderly’, we reject the notion that Kukah said the trio was ‘cheerful’.
"This was obviously added to make a caricature of the seriousness of the condition of the detainees. What is there in EFCC for anyone to be cheerful about especially when someone is being illegally detained," the statement by Fani-Kayode spokesperson said, adding that the statement was part of the EFCC’s 'deliberate and wicked manipulation' of the media against the trio.
According to Ndukwe, the three were at the clinic undergoing some medical attention and could not have been cheerful.
"Also, that some of EFCC’s facilities were reportedly said to be ‘clean and orderly’ does not give them the liberty to illegally detain Nigerians for as long as they wish.
"Even if EFCC converts a five-star hotel to its facility, it can never be good enough to illegally keep citizens on account of their political leanings," the statement made available to Legit.ng added, stressing that Fani-Kayode was been held illegally by the anti-graft agency.
The statement insisted that:
1. His re-arrest at the premises of the Federal High Court, Ikoyi, Lagos on the 21st of October was done without a warrant.
2. The arrest was done after the presiding judge on the day’s matter had advised that it would be unwise to re-arrest a man who had honoured their invitations, had been on bail from both EFCC and the courts, has never been declared wanted and had appeared in court of his own accord.
3. He has been held for close to two weeks without even their usual questionable detention order which they used in holding him earlier for 67 days.
Ndukwe said rather than feed Nigerians with a new mundane ‘clean and orderly’ campaign at the expense of more serious issues bordering on illegal incarceration of citizens based on their opinions on national matters, Uwujaren and his paymasters should tell Nigerians why they have allowed themselves to toe the path of "this administration’s vindictiveness, vengeance, vendetta and persecutions rather than diligent prosecutions according to our laws.
"Until then, visits of people like Bishop Kukah would remain a constant reminder to them that power is transient and that light can never overcome darkness."