By Nazifi Dawud
Fiery human rights lawyer, Femi Falana, has responded to DAILY NIGERIAN inquiry on the allegations of purchase of a property forfeited to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, by a former governor Bayelsa State, the late Diepreye Alamieyeseigha.
According to a message circulated on social media, EFCC had auctioned off one of Mr Alamieseigha’s choice properties in Abuja to Mr Falana at a “cheap rate”, hence the lawyer’s dogged support for the confirmation of Ibrahim Magu as substantive chairman of the commission.
The message also alleged that Mr Magu’s chief of staff, Ola Olukoyede, was “seconded” to the EFCC by Mr Falana, being a staff at the lawyer’s chamber.
Findings however showed that Mr Olukoyede was until his appointment as Mr Magu’s chief of staff, an aide to the vice president, Yemi Osinbajo.
When DAILY NIGERIAN sought Mr Falana’s response on Thursday, he asked our reporter to send him text message as he was in court.
“Good day sir, we kindly request your response to allegations that EFCC auctioned off DSP Alamieyeseigha’s house to you,” our reporter’s text message read.
In response, Mr Falana sought to know who was making the allegations, which our reporter replied that “it was widely circulated on the Internet”.
The lawyer then asked about the address of the house, which DAILY NIGERIAN replied that “location was not indicated in the message” and that he “may wish to answer YES or NO”.
More than four hours after the initial inquiry at 1:26pm, Mr Falana neither answered in the negative nor affirmative.
But in a statement by spokesman to the EFCC, Wilson Uwujaren, the commission defended the lawyer, saying all Mr Alamieyeseigha’s properties were handed over to Bayelsa State government.
Read EFCC’s Full Statement Below:
Our attention has been drawn to a malicious and misleading report trending on the social media platforms that Ola Olukoyede, Chief of Staff, CoS, to Ibrahim Magu, the Acting Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC was a staff “seconded” to the Commission from the Chambers of Femi Falana, SAN.
The report further alleged that Falana, SAN is a beneficiary of some of the properties recovered by the Commission from the late Diepreye Solomon Peter Alamieyeseigha, former Governor of Bayelsa State, hence the secondment of Olukoyede to the EFCC. The allegations are not only unfounded but evil, as all the properties recovered from the former governor have been returned to the state Bayelsa State government.
For the record, Olukoyede was not “seconded” to the EFCC by Falana and he has never worked in Femi Falana’s Chambers. He was head hunted based on his pedigree. Even if he had worked for Falana it may not have mattered as working for Falana is not a criminal offence in the nation’s statute.
It is also important to state that Falana, SAN is not a counsel to the EFCC and has never interfered in the operations of the agency.
The author of the mischievous and misleading information went ahead to give the telephone number of the CoS and asked members of the public to call and enquire if he was indeed a former staff of Femi Falana’s Chambers. He has therefore been bombarded with unsolicited calls by members of the public.
Whoever is behind this criminal act should desist forthwith as any attempt to further malign the reputation of Olukoyede and the EFCC would not go unchallenged.