Tunde Ayeni Neither Poisoned Nor Dead—EFCC

Contrary to reports in some sections of the media, former Chairman of the defunct Skye Bank Plc, Mr Tunde Ayeni, was not poisoned while in the custody of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).

The agency made this clarification after a newspaper reported on Saturday that the former banker was lying critically ill in the hospital and was feared dead.

The story emanated from a press release issued on Friday, February 8, in Abuja by the spokesman of the Coalition of United Political Parties (CUPP), Mr Ikenga Ugochinyere, who claimed that “a credible source” revealed to him that Mr Ayeni was currently undergoing treatment “in an undisclosed medical facility after he was poisoned in the detention cell of the EFCC.”

While reacting to this, the EFCC said upon arrest and conveyance to the commission, Mr Ayeni was neither offered food nor drink by its operatives.

“There was also nothing consumable: food, drink or water that was brought to him within the brief period he was with his interrogators. When he complained of illness and opted to see a doctor, which he was promptly obliged,” the anti-graft agency said.

“We also wish to state that so far, there has not been any report of any dire health condition on Mr Ayeni and it’s likely there would not be. The public may wish to know that the Commission in the course of its duties has become conversant with all manners of theatrics from some suspects who would elect not to cooperate.

“It is also our desire to inform the CUPP that as a commission, we follow due process, and that we are a law-abiding entity and as such, will not keep Ayeni longer than required by law. We also give our word that he will have his day in court as and when due.

“It is important at this point that we restate that the commission under the leadership of its Acting Chairman, Ibrahim Magu is well insulated from going-ons in the political space and that our mandate is well cut out for us by constitution.

“We therefore wish to clarify that Ayeni as former Chairman of the failed Skye Bank has allegations of corruption to thrash out with us. It was strictly for this purpose that he became our guest.

“Any other consideration outside this is unknown to us. Again, much as we find the claim of being handed a list of 45 opposition figures ‘to invite, arrest, detain and restrain before the opening of polls on February 16,’ as contained in the CUPP release utterly nonsensical, we note that it is a grave disservice to the country at this material time for anyone to seek to aggravate the heat in political space with a reckless rumour such as this from the CUPP.

“We therefore, urge the public not to be swayed by the rumour but treat it with the disregard it thoroughly deserves,” the statement said.

Dipo Olowookere is a journalist based in Nigeria that has passion for reporting business news stories. At his leisure time, he watches football and supports 3SC of Ibadan.

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