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EFCC Arraigns, Remands Former Minister Of Power And Steel, Olu Agunloye | Citizen NewsNG

ByCitizen NewsNG

Jan 10, 2024

 

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has arraigned the former Minister of Power and Steel, Mr Olu Agunloye, before Justice Donatus Okorowo of the Federal High court, over allegations of fraud.

Mr Agunloye was brought before the court on Wednesday where he pleaded not guilty to the charges read against him.

The Judge ordered that he be remanded in Kuje Correctional center, pending when the bail would be granted.

The EFCC in December 2023, declared Agunloye wanted on an alleged case of forgery and corruption. In a communique shared by the Commission on X and its website, the former minister’s image was displayed with a message urging the public to provide information that could lead to his arrest.

Shortly after the EFCC’s alert, Agunloye was apprehended and detained.

Digging deeper into the case, it was discovered that the minister who served under President Olusegun Obasanjo’s government (1999-2003), was being quizzed in connection with the Mambilla project.

Obasanjo had accused him of fraudulently awarding the contract for the project without the Federal Executive Council (FEC) approval. But Agunloye denied the accusations and claimed the former president was distorting facts.

Rights, and the pursuit of Justice
Agunloye’s travails generated a lot of reactions from Nigerians. Nobel Laureate Wole Soyinka while weighing-in on the matter, questioned the EFCC’s action.

In his statement titled – “In pursuit of justice, productivity, under the rule of law,” Soyinka argued that the practice of citizen detention at the whim of either religious blackmail or secular arrogation demands curtailment at source, most especially when exercised in defiance of the law, and the pronouncements of its agencies.

“The immediate provocation for these reflections is the ongoing predicament of a former Minister of Power, Dr. Olu Agunloye, currently detained by the EFCC, in total contempt of sense and justice, or indeed, basic humane considerations. We shall not go into the merit or demerits of the charges raised against him over a 16-year-old project that bears the name Mambilla. –that is the business of the law courts,” Soyinka wrote.

“Our concern at this moment is however only partially on the basis of individual fundamental human rights. Most fortuitously, the detention of any former public servant under circumstances such as Agunloye also provokes the question: how is public interest – such as the pursuit of justice – served by such an arbitrary exercise of power?’’

 

By Emmanuella Ekele

 

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