Crimes/Tragedy

Anambra monarchs ‘disappointed’ by viral video of Obiano in EFCC custody

Former Governor of Anambra State, Willie Obiano

The Anambra State Traditional Rulers Council (ANSTRC) has slammed the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) over the “ill-treatment” of a former governor of Anambra State, Willie Obiano, in its facility.

The group was reacting to a viral video footage showing the ex-governor in the custody of the EFCC dressed in shorts and a white shirt.

The spokesperson for the former governor, James Eze, has confirmed that the footage in circulation is authentic.

Mr Eze said the footage does not portray his principal in “a good light”.

The Chairman of traditional rulers council and Obi of Onitsha, Nnaemeka Achebe, in a statement on Sunday, said the traditional rulers in the state were “utterly shocked and disappointed that someone of the status of a former state governor would be treated in a such distasteful and reprehensible manner by an agency of the federal government.”

The group said it was equally disturbed that the video clip found its way out of the “highly secure environment” of the EFCC to social media.

It alleged that the clip was released with the intent to cause “maximum embarrassment” to the former governor and the people of Anambra State.

“Without prejudice to the responsibility of the EFCC to carry out its statutory duties, such treatment of Chief Obiano is absolutely dehumanising and would not bring any value to whatever investigation being conducted by the EFCC,” the group said.

“We also appeal to President Muhammadu Buhari and the Federal Attorney General, Abubakar Malami to call the EFCC to order, regarding the appalling condition that Chief Willie Obiano is being subjected to,” the group said.

Background

Mr Obiano was apprehended at Murtala Muhammad International Airport in Lagos at about 8.30 p.m. on Thursday as he was preparing to board a flight to Houston, United States.

EFCC transferred him on Friday to Abuja, from its Lagos zonal office, where he had passed the first night after his arrest.

The Punch newspaper reported that the former governor was quizzed over alleged misappropriation of public funds, including N5 billion Sure-P and N37 billion security votes.

“Obiano was arrested for alleged misappropriation of public funds, including, N5billion Sure-P and N37billion security vote which was withdrawn in cash.

“Part of the funds was also allegedly diverted to finance political activities in the state,” the Punch quoted the EFCC’s spokesperson, Wilson Uwujaren, as saying.

PREMIUM TIMES reported in November last year reported that the EFCC had in a letter to the Comptroller General of the Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS) dated November 15, 2021, requested the Service to place the governor on a watchlist and inform it anytime he is travelling out of the country from any of the international airports and other points of entry and exit.

EFCC said on Monday that Mr Obiano was still in their custody because he was yet to meet the bail conditions granted him. (PREMIUM TIMES)

=============