About 18 days after the governorship election in Anambra State where the All Progressive Grand Alliance (APGA) candidate, Prof Charles Soludo, emerged governor-elect, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has placed the out-going governor, Chief Willie Obiano, on a watch list.
This is coming ahead of the inauguration of a new government on March 16, 2022 in Anambra State when Obiano is expected to handover to his successor.
In a letter to the Comptroller General of the Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS) dated November 15, 2021 and cited by LEADERSHIP, the EFCC requested the NIS to place the governor on watch list and inform it anytime he is travelling out of the country from any of the international airports and other points of entry and exit.
Sitting governors in Nigeria have immunity from criminal prosecution while in Office.
The EFCC spokesperson could not speak on the issue, but LEADERSHIP gathered that the governor would have to answer questions on fund mismanagement while in office.
While it was not clear why the anti-graft agency placed the governor on watch list, sources said the move is an indication that the agency may have been discreetly investigating the governor and possibly have intelligence that he plans to escape after handing over power to his successor, Prof Soludo.
But the Anambra State government last night described reports suggesting the placement of the state governor on EFCC’s watch list as doubtful.
The state commissioner for Information and Public Enlightenment, Don Adinuba, told LEADERSHIP that the governor still has about four months to the March 17, 2022 date he is constitutionally mandated to handover power, and as such he is still enjoying immunity as a serving governor as provided under the constitution.
Adinuba stated that Governor Obiano who travelled out of the country about 12 days ago passed through the protocol of the Nigerian Immigration Service without any hitches.
Speaking with LEADERSHIP in a telephone interview, the commissioner said, “I seriously doubt the credibility of that report. The governor has been out of the country since the past 12 days, and he passed through the Immigration Service checks without having any problem.
“Again, Governor Obiano, a sitting governor, has immunity and he still has up to four months from now till March 17 next year when he will hand over as Governor of Anambra State. And it is not a normal practice that a sitting governor will be put on a watch list by the EFCC while still in office.
“So, I doubt the credibility of that report. That is all I can say for now because as I speak to you, I am driving, and it is already night. I can’t even write anything now because I am driving”.