The People’s Democratic Party, PDP, has condemned the arrest and detention of Precious Chikwendu, wife of Femi Fani-Kayode, a former aviation minister and chieftain of the party, by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC.
Ms. Chikwendu was on Monday, October 17, 2016 arrested with her 8-month-old son, Aragon, by agents of the EFCC at Access Bank in Ado Ekiti, the capital of Ekiti.
In an e-mailed statement to The Trent on Tuesday, signed by Dayo Adeyeye, the PDP said that this action against Fani-Kayode’s family “represents a new low” in the Muhammadu Buhari-led government’s resolve to harass and persecute real and perceived enemies of the regime “under the guise of an anti-corruption crusade”.
The party said it was only the timely intervention of Ekiti governor, Ayodele Fayose, that brought the detention to an end.
“It is reprehensible for the government to attack members of the families of its perceived enemies, especially wives and children, for any reason whatsoever,” the statement said.
“In addition to freezing Chief Fani-Kayode’s accounts, the federal government has ordered the freezing of accounts of his wife, Precious Chikwendu, several of which were opened and operated long before their marriage. These accounts have been frozen for no reason other than her marriage to Chief Fani-Kayode.
“The Buhari administration cannot, and must not be allowed to continue the violation of the constitutional rights and freedom of the Nigerian people. This sort of tyranny must not be allowed to continue unchecked,” Adeyeye said.
The party said that it has advised the Fani-Kayodes to seek redress in court.
In response to the outrage over the action by the anti-graft commission, the EFCC issued a statement claiming that the account was flagged and frozen by the agency because it has N2.4 million which the commission claimed was part of a money laundering case against the Ms. Chikwendu’s husband.
The EFCC denied arresting Ms. Chikwendu and also alleged that her special bank identification number was used on 17 accounts in GTBank.
In a swift reaction, Chikwendu has refuted the claims of the EFCC with evidence. She said that the account had N295,000 and never had a balance of more than N500,000 at any time.
Also, she refuted the claim by the EFCC that she was not arrested by the agency. She said three agents of the commission were at the bank with the intention of whisking her away to Abuja.
“Neither is it true that the EFCC were not at the bank in Ado Ekiti to arrest her because three of their operatives were actually there manning the bank door with their identity cards pinned to their jackets. They were backed by five fully armed policemen in uniform,” the e-mailed statement said.
“They made it clear to Precious Chikwendu that they had been ordered to bring her to Abuja by road that same evening and that if she could not leave her son in the bank with the manager he would have to come for the ride too.
“Had it not been for the intervention of Governor Fayose that is exactly what would have happened and only God knows what they would have been subjected to on the way,” she revealed.
“The assertion by one Wilson Uwajeren who is supposed to be the spokesman of the EFCC that Precious Chikwendu’s Access Bank account was used to launder Jonathan campaign funds or funds from the NSA’s office and that approximately 2.4 million naira balance was found in the said account at the time of her arrest is a lie from the pit of hell,” an e-mailed statement by her assistant, Chinenye Okechukwu, revealed.