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My family suffered a great deal during 12-year legal battle – Ex- Lagos Assembly Speaker

Former speaker of the Lagos State House of Assembly, Rt. Hon. Adeyemi Ikuforiji, who was, on Monday, discharged and acquitted over a corruption case has…

Former speaker of the Lagos State House of Assembly, Rt. Hon. Adeyemi Ikuforiji, who was, on Monday, discharged and acquitted over a corruption case has reminisced on his ordeal with the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), saying it was an harrowing experience for him.

The Federal High Court had on Monday acquitted Ikuforiji of money laundering charges filed against him over 12 and half years ago by the EFCC.

The judge, Mohammed Liman, also acquitted the former speaker’s then-Personal Assistant and co-defendant, Oyebode Atoyebi, of all 54 charges.

Speaking with newsmen on the case, Ikuforiji, a chieftain of the All Progressives Congress (APC), said it was a difficult phase of his life, adding his family suffered a great deal for it.

While he accepted the 12-year prosecution which went to the Supreme Court and returned to the Federal High Court, as the will of God, the former Speaker insisted the allegation of embezzling N7bn was wrongful and he suffered unnecessarily for it.

He recalled that the money laundering case was filed against him over a petition from a faceless group alleging that he embezzled N7bn of the Assembly’s running cost.

According to him, the petition sent to the EFCC had no address of the petitioner or the telephone number of the person who made the allegation.

“A faceless petitioner wrote a petition to the EFCC, alleging that the House of Assembly arm-twisted the governor to pay N500m on a monthly basis as running cost and that in 14 months I embezzled N7bn.

“They didn’t say the money collected wasn’t used for what it was meant for or that we did not buy water, clean the environment or pay members,” he said.

He expressed relief that he was finally discharged and acquitted, saying, “It is a long story for over 12 and half years. I am now a very happy man. My joy knows no bounds in the last 48 hours. I am extremely grateful to God. It was a harrowing experience that I had to go through this for 12 years. I accept whatever Allah has decreed.”

Ikuforiji said he was proud to have led the most progressive and peaceful legislative arm in the country for 10 years, adding there was never a time when there was a rowdy session in the House.

“People came from far and near to ask how we were doing it, leading the most progressive house, establishing how the parliament should be and make progressive laws that the House even had to come and copy what we were doing,” he added.

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