• Soyinka raises concern over Agunloye’s safety in custody

    Soyinka raises concern over agunloyes safety in custody - nigeria newspapers online
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    Nobel Laureate, Prof. Wole Soyinka, has expressed concern over the safety of former Minister of Power and Steel, Mr Olu Agunloye, who was remanded in Kuje Correctional Centre on Wednesday.

    Agunloye appeared in court and pleaded not guilty to corruption charges brought against him by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission.

    The presiding judge, Justice Donatus Okorowo, of the Federal High Court, ordered him to be remanded in Kuje pending when bail will be granted.

    In a statement on Wednesday, Soyinka suggested that there are forces who may be working to accord Agunloye the same fate as late former Minister of Justice, Bola Ige, who was assassinated in his bedroom in 2001.

    He said, ““I wish to alert the nation, and the government that there exists a justifiable, high-level concern for his safety.

    “His predecessor in office, the late Chief Bola Ige, was murdered in his bedroom by professional assassin even while his police protection detail took time off, all at the same time, to a nearby eatery.

    “Till today, those mystery killers have yet to be identified, arrested, and tried.”

    The Nobel Laureate recalled working closely with Agunloye to try and uncover Ige’s killers, both within and outside routine police work.

    “It would therefore amount to unpardonable complacency to propose that there are no forces sufficiently desperate to accord him the same fate as Bola Ige. That goal is made easier by the abrupt decision to remand him in prison,” he added.

    Soyinka called for an independent, non-partisan commission to publicly probe the decades-long Mambilla power project scandal that has crippled Nigeria’s energy needs.

    “Let it be understood that if anything happens to this pivotal witness while in custody, the inference will be heard loud, clear, and unambiguous,” he warned.

    Agunloye, who served under former President Olusegun Obasanjo between 1999 and 2003, was declared wanted by the EFCC in December 2023 over allegations of forgery and corruption in relation to the Mambilla project.

    Agunloye’s image was presented with a statement requesting the public to offer information that could lead to his arrest in a message shared by the commission on X and its website.

    Obasanjo had accused Agunloye of fraudulently awarding the Mambilla contract without Federal Executive Council’s approval, but the former minister denied the claims.

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