Obiano is willing to answer any EFCC probe if called upon.
The Anambra State government has criticised the decision of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) to put Governor Willie Obiano on a travel watchlist.
The anti-graft agency wrote the Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS) in a letter dated November 15, 2021 asking that it be notified whenever the governor travels abroad.
The letter leaked to the media this week, fueling speculation that the governor is possibly being investigated for corruption, especially with his tenure set to expire alongside his immunity from prosecution.
Anambra’s Commissioner for Information and Public Enlightenment, Don Adinuba, accused the EFCC of a media witch-hunt in a statement on Thursday, November 25.
The official said the agency leaked the letter to the media to deliberately soil Obiano’s reputation by suggesting he’s a flight risk.
He noted that the governor has never previously been notified of any investigation by the EFCC and should not be treated like a criminal.
“It is, indeed strange that the EFCC is making a show that it is investigating a high public officer. Anti-corruption agencies, like intelligence services, conduct their investigations discreetly, and not on pages of newspapers. Media trial has never benefitted the EFCC,” the commissioner said.
Obiano’s immunity from prosecution expires when he hands over to governor-elect, Charles Soludo, in March 2022, eight years after he was first sworn into office.
Adinuba suggested in Thursday’s statement those unhappy with the November 6 election won by Soludo, Obiano’s ally, are the sponsors of the smear campaign against him.
“The EFCC should not allow itself to be used by politicians who are mere birds of passage,” he said.
The official announced that the governor, who plans to relocate to the United States after his tenure, is willing to answer any EFCC probe if called upon.
The anti-graft agency has not responded to the allegations yet, or clarified why it’s placed Obiano on a watchlist.
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