The Global News reports that the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has on Wednesday, brought charges against Mr. Olu Agunloye, the former Minister of Power and Steel, before Justice Donatus Okorowo of the Federal High Court, pertaining to allegations of fraud.
Agunloye entered a plea of not guilty to the charges presented in court. The Judge subsequently ordered his remand in Kuje Correctional Center until the bail hearing is conducted.
In December 2023, the EFCC declared Agunloye wanted on charges of forgery and corruption. The Commission shared a communique on various platforms, including its website, featuring the former minister’s image and requesting the public to provide information leading to his arrest.
Following the EFCC’s alert, Agunloye was promptly apprehended and detained.
Agunloye, who served in President Olusegun Obasanjo’s government from 1999 to 2003, was being questioned in connection with the Mambilla project.
Meanwhile, the Nobel Laureate, Professor Wole Soyinka, has offered his perspective on the matter, raised questions about the actions taken by the EFCC.
In his statement titled – “In pursuit of justice, productivity, under the rule of law,” Soyinka argued that the practice of citizen detention at the whim of either religious blackmail or secular arrogation demands curtailment at source, most especially when exercised in defiance of the law, and the pronouncements of its agencies.
“The immediate provocation for these reflections is the ongoing predicament of a former Minister of Power, Dr. Olu Agunloye, currently detained by the EFCC, in total contempt of sense and justice, or indeed, basic humane considerations. We shall not go into the merit or demerits of the charges raised against him over a 16-year-old project that bears the name Mambilla. –that is the business of the law courts,” Soyinka wrote.
“Our concern at this moment is however only partially on the basis of individual fundamental human rights. Most fortuitously, the detention of any former public servant under circumstances such as Agunloye also provokes the question: how is public interest – such as the pursuit of justice – served by such an arbitrary exercise of power?’’