Abiodun Nejo, Ado Ekiti

The police in Ekiti State on Wednesday arraigned Lere Olayinka, media aide to former Governor Ayodele Fayose, before an Ado Ekiti Chief Magistrate’s Court for alleged abuse of office, stealing and fraud during the last Peoples Democratic Party administration in the state.

The police prosecutor, Inspector Johnson Okunade, told the court that the defendant committed the offence between 2014 and 2018 at Broadcasting Service of Ekiti State at Ilokun in Ado-Ekiti.

Okunade alleged that “the defendant, who was the spokesman of the former Governor of Ekiti State, as a public officer, abused his office when he failed to remit the commercial revenue which accrued to the BSES totalling N13.5m to the coffers of Ekiti State Government.”

He also alleged that “the defendant, being the director-general of BSES, abused his office when he authorised travelling allowance totalling N7m in his name for journeys not embarked on.”

Okunade also alleged that “the defendant also stole N13.5m belonging to the BSES for his own personal use.

The prosecutor noted that the alleged offences contravened sections 104, 390(5) and 419 of the Criminal Code, Laws of Ekiti State, 2012.

Okunade, however, asked the court for adjournment to enable him to study the case file and present his witnesses.

The defendant pleaded not guilty to the charges.

Counsel for the defendant, Mr Kolapo Kolade, a former Attorney General of Ekiti State, urged the court to grant his client bail, with a promise that he would not jump bail.

The chief magistrate, Adesoji Adegboye, granted bail to the defendant in the sum of N1m with two sureties in like sum.

Adegboye, who adjourned the case until April 27 for hearing, said that “one of the sureties must be a community leader, while the second must produce a proof of landed ownership.”

However, in his reaction, Olayinka described his detention by the police and arraignment for alleged fraud as the usual political persecution that would neither intimidate nor silence him.

The former governor’s media aide said in a statement that it was funny that the same way he was persecuted, arrested, detained and tried for sedition in 2012 during the first tenure of Dr Kayode Fayemi was the way he was being persecuted now.

He said, “I was invited by the police and I willingly honoured the invitation because I have nothing to hide. It is, however, funny that after the police had agreed to grant me administrative bail yesterday and I was ready to meet the bail conditions, the state government put pressure on the police, seeking the invocation of ‘Form K’ to allow for my detention for two months.

“Whatever they planned to achieve with this, I can say it boldly that they have failed and I will never be harassed to submission. I am used to their tactics and like it happened eight years ago, tyranny will be defeated again.

“I thank Nigerians who showed concern and I assure them that I won’t succumb to tyranny. As for those who rejoiced over my detention with the belief that the perfected plan to have me remanded in prison custody indefinitely will succeed, especially those in the camp of Senator Biodun Olujimi in the PDP in Ekiti State, now that your joy has been short-lived, what else?”

Copyright PUNCH.