Minister of State, Labour and Employment, Festus Keyamo, has written a letter to the editor of online publication, Sahara Reporters, in reaction to an article published on the platform which claimed he was contracted some time ago by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) to prosecute former Akwa Ibom State governor, Godswill Akpabio.
The article was published on Thursday with the caption “Femi Adesina: Our bootlickers are so clever by half.”
The writer claimed that Mr Keyamo was on a hot seat when he served as Minister of State, Niger Delta Affairs last year under Akpabio, the minister of Niger Delta Affairs.
However, in the letter to the publication dated May 22, Keyamo described the argument as “factual inaccuracy”.
He wrote: “In the said article, there was a clear factual inaccuracy when the writer wrote as follows:
“’Adesina is on the hot seat facing same public mess as Festus Keyamo who had to work as a junior minister under Godswill Akpabio, the same ex-governor he led the EFCC prosecutions against earlier when he used to pretend as an activist lawyer.’
“Nothing can be farther from the truth. I decided to keep a dignified silence in the first few weeks after my assumption of office as Minister of State, Ministry of Niger-Delta Affairs last year when some mischievous and/or ill-informed individuals kept spreading the narrative in the social media that I once prosecuted Senator Godswill Akpabio on behalf for the EFCC.
“I kept mute because I do not always bother myself to respond to all factually inaccurate issues concerning me that are raised from sources that are not credible news outlets. If I do, I would always be distracted from my work as a public officer.
“It was only when The Guardian newspaper later swallowed that narrative hook, line and sinker without the slightest effort at fact-checking last year that I wrote to the newspaper correcting them. However, out of embarrassment, they decided not to make my response as prominent as the original article – a popular trick adopted by most news outlets that are too ashamed to boldly admit their errors. Now, Saharareporters has made the same mistake.
“Even without searching on Google the cases I have prosecuted, a simple telephone call as a journalist/writer to the spokesperson of the EFCC would have duly informed you that at no time was I ever engaged by the EFCC to prosecute Senator Godswill Akpabio and I never did. All the stories about that have been nothing but social media nonsense.
“As far as I can recollect, at no time was Senator Godswill Akpabio charged or arraigned by the EFCC in any court of law for any offence. So how come I was engaged to prosecute a non-existent Charge?
“Kindly retract that portion of your article. As for the other assertion that I used to ‘pretend as an activist lawyer’, I have chosen to ignore that as it is not fact, but opinion.
“Finally, I hope you will make this correction as prominent as you made the said article.”