Friday, June 24, 2016

Protest over looting of Ekiti, groups urge Fayose to resign

Ado Ekiti, the Ekiti State capital, erupted in protest on Friday as many interest groups storm the streets to condemn the alleged looting of the state treasury by Governor Ayo Fayose.

They declared their support for the anti-corruption crusade of President Muhammadu Buhari and called on the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) to bring Fayose and all those who participated in the alleged looting of Ekiti to justice.

The protest which was organized by a non-governmental organization, Be The Change Organization (BCO) also saw labour unions, Conference of Nigeria Political Parties (CNPP), artisans, market women, youth organizations and student bodies participating.

The placard-carrying protesters who had gathered at Fajuyi Roundabout earlier in the day commenced their march at about 8.50 am and moved towards, Okesa, Ojumose before terminating the rally at Okeyinmi Roundabout in the heart of the town

The demonstrators expressed outrage at the alleged diversion of funds meant for the purchase of arms to fight insurgency in the Northeast to sponsor Fayose’s governorship campaign.

Some of their placards read: “Support Anti-Corruption Crusade, Probe Executive Looting in Ekiti”, “We Don’t Want a Criminal as our Governor in Ekiti”, “Fayose Stole N750 million from Ado-Ifaki Road Account,” Grids Associates, Fayose’s Conduit Pipe”, “Fayose’s Wife is a Fake Prophetess, where is Ekiti’s N100 million”, “What Happened to Ekiti Airport Fund”, “Fayose Must Go”, “Access Bank is Aiding Fraud in Ekiti”, Fayose is a Disgrace to Ekiti People”, among others.

They distributed leaflets to traders, commercial drivers, pedestrians and bystanders detailing how the state treasury is being allegedly looted and the personalities and corporate organizations believed to be involved.

The protesters got a security cover from officers and men of the Ekiti State Police Command who ensured that the demonstration was not hijacked by hoodlums.

Executive Director of BCO, Mrs. Omotunde Fajuyi, said Ekiti people are embarrassed by the latest revelation of Fayose’s link with N4.7 billion arms cash adding that all Nigerians must support any move to recover the peoples commonwealth from looters.

She said Ekiti people are people of honour and integrity but expressed dismay that Fayose’s conduct in power has brought shame and odium on all Ekitis both at home and abroad.

Mrs. Fajuyi said: “We support President Buhari’s anti-corruption crusade, we have come out to protest looting of our money, corruption in government and scandals digging this government in Ekiti.

“Workers are dying at home, we want Fayose to explain what he has done with allocations he had so far collected because he had received more than N50 billion as allocation since he came to power.

“Fayose claims to be a Christian, he must come out clean and give account to the people of Ekiti State and he must submit himself and all his aides and associates to anti-corruption agencies for investigation ”

A youth leader, Adeoye Aribasoye, challenged Fayose to explain what he did with ecological funds and N9.6 billion bailout funds he received from the Federal Government.

Aribasoye said: “We have a governor who is richer than the state, a governor who has over N4 billion in his account he is the only one who can exp,a in what he has done with all the funds he had received from federal authorities.

“He must explain the N2.4 billion ecological funds because we don’t know what has happened to the money, he must answer for the revelations of Ekitigate.

“Pupils and students of public schools have been out home for over four weeks due to the strike embarked upon by civil servants and teachers.”

The court-validated Chairman of Trade Union Congress (TUC), Kolawole Olaiya, urged the EFCC to probe the whereabouts of the N9.6 billion bailout money released for the payment of workers, pensioners and past political office holders.

He lamented the suffering of civil servants in the state who are owed six month arrears of salaries noting that this has crippled the economy of the state.

Olaiya said: “Corruption is responsible for the inability of Ekiti State government to pay workers’ salaries for six months. With the present revelation that several billions of Naira has been discovered in the sitting governor’s account, it is a confirmation that the governor is corrupt.

“Ekiti workers still believe that the N9.6 billion bailout is kept somewhere and we urge the EFCC to institute a probe into this fact so that workers can receive their six months salary arrears and secure their future.

“Government is created for welfare and security of the people and Governor Fayose has done nothing to improve the people and secure their today and their future. Enough of these lies, Ekitk people must be liberated.

“Today in Ekiti State, public primary and secondary school students, including those in private schools are now paying taxes. This must stop. It is at variance with the 1999 Nigerian Constitution, imposition of obnoxious taxes in Ekiti State must stop.

“We want Ekiti State workers to note that Fayose is nobody’s friend; that is teachers, civil servants, public servants, local government workers, artisans, driver unions etc must note that Fayose is not your friend.

“Workers are dying for non-pay,net of salaries for six months including pensioners. Do you want trend to continue? Fayose must be brought to book not minding Section 308 immunity.

“It is criminal not to pay workers and pensioners for six months. It is also criminal for s governor to be corrupt. The federal government sent N9.6 billion to Ekiti State as bailout, how was the bailout expended and who are the beneficiaries? What amounts to our IGR is not known to the people.”

Speaking on behalf of artisans, Idowu Ayegbe said: “We regret all the burden the governor has imposed on us in Ekiti in form of levies and taxes on our pupils. We are not happy with what the governor is doing including his attacks on the President.”

The state CNPP spokesman, Ayo Adelabu demanded Fayose’s resignation from office in the face of new evidence of alleged corruption calling on the management of Zenith Bank to come out and explain their role in the alleged funding of his campaign.

Adelabu added: “We are calling on Fayose tore sign from office over his failure to live up to expectation he should come out and defend himself in the N4.7 billion arms deal scandal and we also challenge him to explain to Ekiti people how he had spent six months allocation without payment of workers which has grounded the workforce.

“The CNPP warns Fayose to stop abusing Mr. President who has been enjoying the full support of the majority of Ekiti people.

“The CNPP strongly condemns Ekiti State legislators who have turned themselves to political slaves in the hand of Fayose. The governor should also come out and explain the N2.3 billion loan he took from bank.

“The CNPP advises Governor Fayose to immediately stop the flyover bridge project and caution his political thugs against the attack of innocent people in the state.”

Meanwhile, an interest group, Ekiti Redemption Group (ERG), has called on Fayose to pay all the six month arrears of workers’ salaries or face a legal action and “unending protests”.

The group gave Fayose a seven-day ultimatum to pay all arrears of salaries and pensions failure of which the administration will be dragged to court to explain how treasury is being managed.

ERG National Coordinator, Morakinyo Ogele, in a statement on Friday said Fayose’s campaign was anchored on stomach infrastructure but expressed surprise that his administration has unleashed hunger, hardship and untimely death on people through poverty and financial recklessness.

Ogele said: “It is unbelievable that Fayose is concentrating on useless projects like a flyover while civil servants are dying as a result of not having money to take care of themselves and their families.

“It is amazing that government is owing civil servants six months salaries, Fayose has thrown the welfare of the people away and prefer useless projects criticizing Federal Government and wasting millions of Naira on advertisements.

“There is no doubt that Ekiti State government is confused and chasing anti-people programmes. A responsible government should see to the welfare of the people and where government is irresponsible, such a government should be thrown out.

“It is high time we told Fayose  to resign immediately. Ekiti State government is hereby out on notice to pay all the arrears of civil servants within seven days otherwise I will not hesitate to mobilize the people for a mass action and protest and at the same time drag the government to court.”

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