The senator representing Osun West Senatorial District, Adelere Oriolowo, has threatened legal action against Governor Ademola Adeleke, for alleged defamation.
This is over an allegation by the Asset Recovery Committee set up by the government that Mr Orilowo converted five machines belonging to Osun State Agricultural Development Programme to personal use.
The committee also accused former governor Gboyega Oyetola, his wife, Kafayat and some officials who served under the former governor of taking away government vehicles valued at N3.2 billion after their time in office.
Olawale Rasheed, the spokesperson of Governor Adeleke, had also urged those concerned to return the vehicles or face the law.
Senator Oriolowo, at a press conference on Tuesday said the allegations against him were false.
The lawmaker who is a member of the All Progressives Congress (APC) gave the state government seven days to retract the allegations.
He also demanded a compensation of N500 million for alleged damage to his reputation.
“I have thus instructed my lawyers to write to the State Government demanding a letter of apology within seven (7) days and to also pay the sum of Five Hundred Million Naira (N500,000,000) as compensation for the unquantifiable damage done to my name and integrity,” he said.
“My lawyer’s letter has since been received by the Government on the 30th December, 2022 and it is my hope that this Government will retrace its steps, retract the publication and apologize to me. Failure in which, I will use all legal means available to me to get justice.”
Mr Oriolowo said the allegations had caused more damage to his reputation, noting that many people have called him as regards the issue.
“Since the publication, many well- meaning people within and outside the shores of Nigeria have continuously reached out to me for clarification and solidarity.”
When the allegations were made earlier, PREMIUM TIMES called and sent messages to Mr Oriolowo for his response but he did not respond.
The lawmaker said that vehicles they accused him of taking away are in the possession of the Ministry of Rural Development.
“The said equipment which belongs to the then OSSADEP was in existence when I left the agency 15 years ago. To the best of my knowledge, some of them were transferred to the Ministry of Rural Development to assist the government. A simple due diligence or investigation by the committee would have unravelled the salient fact that the equipment is still property of the Osun State Government.”
Reacting to the threat, Mr Rasheed said the reports that indicted the senator wascfrom a report from the government agencies
“The first thing we have to realise is that the committee secured all the reports from those agencies under oath , the committee got those details from OSSADEP and ORAM with the oath administered on their representative by the commissioner for oath, so the committee did not manufacture the report that was given to the public,” he said.
“The second thing to note is that OSSADEP reported that those machines were moved in 2014 and in the inventory submitted by the OSSADEP indicated that those machines were listed against Oriolowo ‘s name, remember this was submitted by OSSADEP on oath,” he added.
“Between the two agencies, OSSADEP in their own inventory record showed that the Senator was in possession of those machines. ORAM on the other hand said it has no record, no inventory of those machines . The committee subsequently submitted an interim report where it has the committee to return the machines based on submission on oath by OSSADEP and ORAM, the bottom line is that those machines belonging to the people of Osun State are missing, the committee’s mandate is to track and recover missing assets so it is the words of the senator versus the submission of OSSADEP.”
Mr Rasheed noted that the committee was not witch-hunting the senator but only after recovering the missing vehicles.
“The public should take note that the report is an interim report which also gives room for additional information from those affected, such additional information will now reflect fully, I mean the final report. The committee is not on witch-hunt, it is only after the missing vehicles.”
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