The Deputy Chairman of the House of Representatives Committee on Human Rights, Rotimi Makinde, has described the continued prosecution of a former Minister of Aviation, Femi Fani-Kayode as “political persecution of the most vicious and cruel kind.”
Mr. Fani-Kayode, who served in the administration of former President Olusegun Obasanjo, is being prosecuted by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, for allegedly laundering N230 million through his aides, wife and daughter between 2006 and 2007 while in office.
However, Mr. Makinde, in a statement on Wednesday condemned the prosecution of the minister, saying it is not only laughable but full of inconsistencies. “The case against former aviation minister, Chief Femi Fani-Kayode by the EFCC is really laughable and full of many inconsistencies. He was alleged of laundering N230 million through his aides, wife, and daughter; between 2006 and 2007 when he was a minister.
“This is nothing but political persecution of the most vicious and cruel kind. The case has been on for five years, in my opinion he has done nothing wrong, and his innocence will soon be established,” he said. The lawmaker, who represents the Ife Federal Constituency of Osun State on the platform of the Action Congress of Nigeria, ACN, recalled that at a time EFCC accused the former minister of involvement in the misappropriation of N19 billion Aviation Intervention fund but was later dropped, only for the current charges to be slammed on him.
He stated, “At a time EFCC accused him of involvement in the misappropriation of N19 billion Aviation Intervention Fund, the charges were later dropped due to lack of evidence. The current charges largely concern cash lodgments made into his private bank account between August 2006 and March 2007.
“I understand he was first arraigned before a Federal High Court in Lagos, on the same charges, in December 23, 2008; during the late Umar Yar’Adua govt. after Ramat Mohammed, the trial judge, was transferred out of Lagos Division; the case was re-assigned to Binta Nyako, last year, before the latter was transferred out of Lagos and now Justice Rita Ofili-Ajumogobia is in charge.
“Today (June 25) the judge was simply correct to have disqualified the prosecutor who was described to lack the authority of the Attorney General of the Federation to prosecute the case. I think this judge should have gone ahead to strike out the case for lacking merit, however the innocent will soon be exonerated
“Even as I understand the factor of prejudice/subjudice in law, I am also not uninformed about my rights to express my opinion within the limit of the law, suffice to say all these shenanigans and show of judicial recklessness must stop in the interest of our democracy, government must stop this cruelty and attempt to silence the opposition especially when their excesses and incompetence are exposed. If truly they have anything against Fani-Kayode by now the case would have been laid to rest. Five years? It’s a shame on this government”.