... “I Was Not In Kuje To Visit Emefiele”
By Our Correspondent with additional report courtesy of Politics Nigeria
THE Ooni of Ife, Oba Adeyeye Enitan Ogunwusi Ojaja II, on Tuesday visited the embattled former governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) in Kuje Prison, Abuja.
The monarch joined the list of influential Nigerians seeking the release of the former apex bank chief, who is behind bars for his inability to meet his N300 million bail condition.
The Ooni was at the prison twice to visit Emefiele, Politics Nigeria gathered. The first time was in the early afternoon. He left after and returned four hours later to continue with his discussions with him. The monarch had very lengthy meetings with Emefiele.
Emefiele was last month arraigned on a six-count charge bordering on procurement fraud by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC). He was accused of using his position to confer a corrupt advantage on Sa’adatu Yaro, a staff member of CBN, by awarding a contract for the procurement of 43 vehicles worth N1.2 billion between 2018 and 2020.
Prior to his arrest and arraignment by the EFCC, Emefiele had been in the custody of the Department of State Security (DSS) for over four months. However, when the DSS released him, he got rearrested by the EFCC.
Emefiele had pleaded not guilty to the amended charges and was later granted bail in the sum of N300 million as well as two sureties in like sum, both of which must have certificates of occupancy and titles of properties within the Maitama district in Abuja.
He was also mandated to deposit all his travel documents with the Registrar of the Court with a warning to remain within the Abuja Municipal Council.
The former CBN governor was unable to meet the bail conditions and is remanded in Kuje Correctional Facility until 2024.
Meanwhile, Oba Adeyeye Ogunwusi has denied reports that he was at Kuje prison to visit embattled Mr Emefiele.
Speaking on behalf of the monarch on Wednesday, his spokesperson, Moses Olafare, said Oba Ogunwusi was at the correctional facility at the instance of a Non-Governmental Organisation, owned by one of his wives, Queen Temitope, Hopes Alive Initiative (HAI), which is on advocacy for the correction centre.
He said the programme, which was organised in partnership with Kuje correctional authority, centred around giving hope to inmates on reintegration into society after completing their terms, and the Ooni was part of it, in commemoration of his eighth anniversary.
“The intent of those spreading the news was to blackmail the monarch. There is nothing hidden about the event. In any case, the king never met Emefiale because it was an official event organised by the NGO in conjunction with the Kuje Correction Centre.
“The programme centres around giving hope to the inmates that, after serving out their terms, they still have hope to reintegrate back into the society. The Arole Ooni was invited to chair the event in commemoration of his eighth anniversary on the throne.
“What is exclusive about a public programme where different public figures spoke and representatives of the inmate also spoke? How then did the Ooni manage to meet Emefiele?
“We must be careful with how people spread falsehoods about people. The video of the event is available to the public. I am not even sure Emefiele attended the programme because he is only in detention and not an inmate yet, so why link the programme to Emefiele? It is simply to achieve blackmail, he added.