Sierra Leone Telegraph: 13 September 2020:
A university professor from Nigeria, who has lived and worked in Sierra Leone for several years, last year became the subject of gross abuse of human rights and injustice in the hands of the Sierra Leone Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC), after he was arrested and locked up behind bars for allegedly falsifying his qualifications. (Photo above – ACC chief, left – with president Bio).
It is a case that could have ended in human tragedy, despite all appeals by the arrested professor Emmanuel Femi Gbenga Ajayi, pleading to the ACC that they got their facts wrong.
After months of investigation – wasting public resources on a fraud case that never was – and at a cost of thousands of dollars to the tax payer, not to speak of professor Emmanuel Femi Gbenga Ajayi’s lost earnings, he has been found innocent by the ACC, and vindicated. His qualifications are all in order.
Professor Emmanuel Femi Gbenga Ajayi, has been exonerated by the ACC after he was victimized, arrested, detained, and humiliated by the Anti-Corruption Commission.
But sadly, the professor has been left mentally broken, with his university career and reputation in tatters, while corrupt officials in high places in the government and parliament are protected from investigation and arrest by the ACC.
Speaking at a press conference two days ago, Professor Emmanuel Femi Gbenga Ajayi said: “No expression could possibly encapsulate what I went through, I nearly went mad! I lost appetite, could not sleep nor answer the call of nature properly. Imagine waking up in the morning with nothing to do, for 231 days while I was under investigation by ACC? My ordeal is rather imagined, than experienced.
“The way ACC handled my case, to say the least, is very unfair. If I were a Sierra Leonean, would they have done that? And upon all the reputational damages done to me, there is no remorse and no apology.”
This is the statement released by Professor Emmanuel Femi Gbenga Ajayi last Wednesday 9th September 2020, telling his tragic story in his own words:
“I was invited for an interview scheduled for 18th July 2019 at 10 am by ACC, over anonymous allegations of forged results and impersonation, amongst other unprintable fabrications of lies, to “pull me down” (PhD).
“On arrival the interview started. All sorts of questions were posed to me by six officials, all my results were thoroughly examined, ditto my previous appointments, my publications, and copies of all my results were deposited.
“The interview turned to stressful interrogation and at about 4:30 pm, I was thoroughly fagged out and I pleaded that, I should be allowed to go home, and that if my attention is needed, I shall return. I was rudely told that I cannot until I meet with the ACC Commissioner. I was taken to his office and tersely, he told me that I was under arrest! ACC threw me into police cell, like a common criminal. I nearly fainted when the gates of CID HQs, closed behind me.
“What started like a drama, became an event that lasted for 231 days of humiliation, arrest and detention.
“On 18th July Sept 2019, the two certificates which were originally queried, arrived from Nigeria that I indeed earned them genuinely; but ACC did not believe the authenticity of the results, a development which prompted ACC to dispatch officials to Nigeria; thereat, six institutions spread across the vast country were visited and seven of my results that I obtained from Nigeria, were personally confirmed by ACC officials, as genuine.
“ACC officials came back from Nigeria in October 2019, and another round of investigations aimed at nailing me commenced, but I thank God for seeing me through the ordeal.
“I suffered so much that, despite my overflowing armory of grammatical expressions, I have not been able to find the right words, to express my feelings. You can imagine a bubbling person with such a very high academic profile, reduced to nothing by ACC.
“No expression could possibly encapsulate what I went through, I nearly went mad! I lost appetite, could not sleep nor answer the call of nature properly. Imagine waking up in the morning with nothing to do, for 231 days while I was under investigation by ACC? My ordeal is rather imagined, than experienced.
“The way ACC handled my case, to say the least, is very unfair. If I were a Sierra Leonean, would they have done that? And upon all the reputational damages done to me, there is no remorse and no apology.
“How do you make such hullabaloo over anonymous allegations? ACC should not have investigated those spurious allegations, better still, they could do so underground and if found guilty, then the press can be invited. My case went viral, all known medium of communications, to wit, Radio, TV, Newspapers and the Internet carried my news as a criminal, and that accounts for why I have not been able to get another appointment whether in SL or elsewhere in the world.
“Can you imagine that I was living in an incomplete house?; in my culture as a Yoruba man, only the lunatics live in incomplete houses; my gratitude in that respect, goes to those who housed me, they are Sierra Leonean UK based Mr. Lawal and USA based Ms Zainab Kebbie.
“I was able to survive the trauma by the special grace of God and people who stood by me. First, is the Nigerian Ambassador to SL, Dr. Ibrahim Habiss Ugbada, the HOC Sona Charles, President of Nigeria in Diaspora Engr. Abiodun Oyebola, Sec Gen Bala Tijani, Dr. Mrs Fela Adeyemi, Chief Mrs. Kemi Lawal, Engr Ola Ogunfehintimi, and Sierra Leonean Mr. Horace Kpakra, Mrs. Regina Kamara, Godfrey Sandi and above all, the Human Right Group Native Consortium headed by Edmond Abu that have been there right through till date.
“My profound gratitude also goes to Prof Mallam O. Sankoh the current Ag Vice Chancellor Njala University, for his intervention and support, and all my colleague lecturers and students, who in diverse ways empathize with me through those dark days of my life!!!
“As human beings, we are cannot do without hurting one another. All through my ordeal, I took solace in Late Nelson Mandela’s exemplary life and words on the marble, which neither rain nor shine, could obliterate.
“Regarding his words while stepping into freedom after 27 years of solitary confinement at Roben Island… He said, if I do not forgive the injustices done to me, I would for as long as I live, still be in prison.
“On above note, I sincerely aver that I have forgiven all the injustices meted to me. Am no longer bitter. If God were not with me…see Psalm 124
“Please quote me “Life is an experience…full of ups and downs… if everything is rosy and smooth, the propensity of self-celebration would be hyper; when you pass through storm, you cannot be same again. I think I am a better person now, having gone through storms, in the last fifteen months.
“Am profusely thankful to God and the people He used, to see me through. I fervently pray that what happened to me, shall not be your portion in Jesus name Ammmmeeeeennnnnn!!!”
Signed: Prof. EFG Ajayi, BSc (Hons), MBA, MA, M. Intl Law, LL B, LL M, PhD, BL, FIIU.
You can watch the press conference below: