Nigerians are reacting to the alleged report that a former Lagos State Governor, and current Minister of Works, Mr Tunde Fashola was secretly interrogated by the Economic And Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) in 2020.
The alleged secret interrogation was said to be over corrupt practices tied to his questionable asset declaration and an ongoing probe of Babatunde Fowler, the disgraced former chairman of the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS).
The alleged case which is yet to be confirmed by the anti-graft agency, was first reported by the Peoples Gazette on Tuesday 16th March 2021.
The allegations levelled against Mr Fashola, when the Peoples Gazette broke the news on Tuesday, have Nigerians weighing in on the issue, and the talk of the 2023 elections.
In their report on Tuesday, Peoples Gazette reported that their EFCC inside sources who are detectives, told them that, Babatunde Fashola, a top-tier member of President Muhammadu Buhari’s cabinet, has been interrogated by the EFCC over corrupt practices tied to his questionable asset declaration and an ongoing probe of Babatunde Fowler, the disgraced former chairman of the FIRS.
The report went further to state that officials familiar with the works minister’s ordeal told the News outlet that he was called in for questioning after detectives were tipped off about his involvement in Mr. Fowler’s loot during his days as the head of Lagos Inland Revenue Service and most recently at the FIRS.
Mr. Fashola strongly denied all charges of corruption as presented to him by the EFCC, urging officials to ensure a thorough investigation of the matter before dragging his name into it, officials said.
There was no immediate indication that Mr Tunde Fashola, whose career in politics has flourished for two decades without the perception of greed and graft, will be arraigned for corruption anytime soon, officials said. But flagging him as a potential target for charges underscores raging concerns over what appeared to be a deliberate targeting of South-West politicians ahead of 2023 presidential election battle.
The detectives provide information on the condition of anonymity for want of authorisation to discuss an ongoing investigation, with the Gazette.
Mr Fashola’s visit to the EFCC towards the end of 2020 has been kept entirely secret until now. Even then, little has been uncovered about the overall nature of the investigation, and specifics of what the works minister was accused of are still fuzzy, the report said.
But the mere summoning of a top administration official who handles a key ministerial position prompted suspicion amongst anti-graft officials that a cabal of other appointees and associates of the president may be seeking the former Lagos governor’s rapid fall from grace in order to delist him from 2023 presidential equation of the ruling APC, the report added.
Nigerians took to their different social media handles on Tuesday, to register their reactions, and here are some of those:
@MooAkee: If Fashola is found to be suspicious, let him be grilled and if he is found to be corrupt let him be tried. Not media trial.I don’t support corruption in any form. I hope opposition will not be shouting “wizard hunt” if EFCC invites them for questioning.
@OluwaseunP: As much as I’m happy about this. It’s sad that the EFCC has become a tool for a cabal in Government to attack their perceived political ‘opponents’. Fashola aka Inspector Gadget might really have a case to answer. But it’s disgraceful how politicised the EFCC is now.
@novieverest: Malami: I only recommended Bawa. Me: Bawa is doing the job Malami recommended him from level 10 to head the EFCC for. Team work. It won’t lead to anything though, just to prevent Bola Tinubu from nurturing the thought to run for President. Tunde Fashola is a good start.
…see more reactions of Twitter…