The Ekiti State Governor, Ayodele Fayose, has challenged the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, to charge the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, National Publicity Secretary, Olisa Metuh, to court if the commission has evidence of fraud against him.
"The EFCC appears to be operating a system in which an accused person is first arrested, detained endlessly while the anti-corruption agency goes about looking for evidence," the governor said.
Mr. Fayose, who maintained his support for a genuine fight against corruption, challenged the EFCC to also act on petitions submitted to it against All Progressives Congress chieftains and President Buhari's election sponsors.
Speaking through his Special Assistant on Public Communications and New Media, Lere Olayinka, on Friday, Mr. Fayose cautioned that nothing untoward must happen to Mr. Metuh, adding that the APC's desperation to decimate and silence the opposition has dragged the Buhari-led government in the mud of lawlessness.
The governor said, "In saner climes, you don't arrest people for alleged fraud and start to look for evidence to prosecute them.
Rather, before you arrest anyone for fraud, anti-corruption agencies must have established a prima facie case and arresting the suspect will only be to enable for his or her arraignment in court.
"However, what we are witnessing in Nigeria today is a situation whereby the EFCC will arrest PDP leaders, humiliate them by subjecting them to media trial, detain them for weeks in the process of trying to force them to make statements during which the commission will be looking for evidence.
"For instance, in the case of Metuh, we are being told that the EFCC is insisting that he must write statements and one begins to wonder if it has now become mandatory for an accused to write statements in law enforcement agent's custody. Shouldn't the EFCC have simply charged Metuh to court based on its own evidence? Or is Metuh's statement the evidence the EFCC requires to prosecute him?
"The international community, especially the United Nations (UN), African Union (AU), European Union (EU) and others are put on notice on this condemnable act of arresting and detaining opposition leaders by agents of the Buhari-led government before fishing for evidence."
While challenging the President Buhari to extend his anti-corruption crusade to those who sponsored his election, Governor Fayose said any anti-corruption effort that targets only members of the opposition and those with axe to grind with the government of the day can never succeed.
"If President Buhari did not wait for any petition to move against PDP chieftains, asking people to come forward with allegations of corruption against APC chieftains, especially those who sponsored President Buhari's election is clearly hypocritical.
"Most importantly, that the EFCC Acting Chairman, Ibrahim Magu even said the commission do not have any petition against APC chieftains when indeed there are loads of petitions against ministers serving in Buhari's government and other notable APC chieftains goes to show the hypocrisy of the fight against corruption.
"It is even more hypocritical and anti-democratic for the President to have turned himself to the accuser, prosecutor and judge, carrying on as if those he accused of corruption have already been convicted," the governor said.