The Centre for Anti-Corruption and Open Leadership (CACOL), an advocacy group against corruption in Nigeria, has cautioned against the use of police intimidation to cover up allegation of diversion of local government allocation from the Federation Account in Ogun State.
CACOL in a statement by the Chairman, Debo Adeniran, declared that the seemingly unending drama in Ogun State over ‘impeached’ Chairman of Ijebu East Local Government, Hon. Wale Adedayo’s allegation of diversion of statutory Federal allocations to Local Government Areas by Governor Dapo Abiodun calls for diligent intervention of the Anti-Corruption Agencies ( ACAs) in the country, especially, in order to rail in executive financial recklessness, and stop the state from degenerating into state of lawlessness, impunity and anarchy that may encourage citizens to have confidence in resorting to self-help.
CACOL declared: “We are alarmed by the use of State Security Institutions to harass the Chairman, Wale Adedayo, whom we gathered has again been arrested by the Police on the strength of petition by Governor Dapo Abiodun.
“It is our expectations that the Police are aware that Adedayo is a Whistle Blower in this case, who should be protected by security agencies.
“Also, his inalienable rights under constitutional democracy which include that he cannot be lawfully detained by the Police for more than 24 hours, should be fully respected.”
The group recalled that the Executive Chairman of Ijebu East Local Government Area Council, Hon. Wale Adedayo, on 28, August 2023, wrote a petition to Chief Olusegun Osoba and the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), wherein he accused Governor Dapo Abiodun of diverting Local Government Council funds in Ogun State.
CACOL noted that the funds allegedly diverted from the Federation Account Allocation Committee (FAAC) by the State Government covers all statutory allocations from 2021, running into multi billion Naira.
CACOL decried that subsequently, the whistle blowing Chairman, Adedayo, was unceremoniously impeached in suspicious circumstances. “The State Government deployed state machinery of coercion to arrest and detain the Council Chairman, Adedayo, and as well intimidate the Councillors to carry out the impeachment processes,” CACOL protested.
On September 2, 2023, Wale Adedayo was arrested by the Department of Security Services (DSS) on the account of a spurious petition by the State Government, but he was later released after four days in detention, paving the way for the purported impeachment.
As this may still be subject of litigation processes, we refrain from further comments on the impeachment.
CACOL further narrated that on Monday September 25, 2023, the Governor orchestrated another arrest of Hon. Wale Adedayo by Officers of the Ogun State Police Command.
“It is widely reported that Adedayo was detained on account of a petition by Prince Dapo Abiodun. In the said petition, the Governor accused Adedayo of defamation of his person, denigration of the Office of the Governor and, public incitement to destabilise peace and order in the State.
“As an anti-corruption watchdog, we call on all well-meaning leaders and citizens of the Gateway State to take critical interest in this case. The State is in dire strait, with huge social infrastructural stagnancy and collapse.
“The scarce allocations to the grassroots tiers of government must therefore percolates to the local communities for the dividends of democracy to be felt by common citizens. The issues contained in the Allegations of Hon. Wale Adedayo, are not treasonable, felonious and should not create security apprehension.
“They are purely issues of dire necessity to tackle corruption as a hindrance on our social, human development index.
“We strongly call on the Ogun State Government to stop chasing after shadows but should squarely explain to the public and anti-corruption agencies, how the statutory allocations to the Local Councils were disbursed. We do not need to remind anyone that immunity does not protect the Governor from being investigated.
“We, unequivocally call on the Anti-Corruption Agencies, ACAs – Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offenses Commission (ICPC), to swing into action, track the FAAC allocations and determine where the funds went to.
“Even if the Governor is immune, this does not cover investigations, and his Commissioners, Aides, Managers of JAAC can be invited, apprehended, and prosecuted, if found culpable of diverting PUBLIC FUNDS!
“We are prepared to assemble conscientious citizens, legal activists, civil society communities to invoke the “Freedom of Information Act” to demand accounts of the disbursement of FAAC Local Government Council Funds for the period in question in Ogun State.
“As the Governor claimed that he has disbursed the Funds to the Local Government Councils and the Chairman claimed the Funds are diverted, never got to the Councils, the Anti-Corruption Agencies can effectively track these funds.
“The relative peace of the Gateway State should not be disrupted on the account of this simple issue of corruption and diversion of public funds. If our institutions are not cosmetics parades, we are confident that these funds can be tracked and coughed out if cornered into private hands,” CACOL declared.
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