Obanikoro Addresses $2.1bn Arms Deal Allegation, Welcomes Extradition Process

Following the raid by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) on the Ikoyi, Lagos, residence of former Minister of State for Defence, Senator Musiliu Obanikoro, last Tuesday, the former minister has dismissed the allegations of his involvement in the $2.1 billion arms deal, adding that they were based solely on rumours.

Obanikoro who had earlier responded to the raid by the commission, during which his cars and valuables were carted away by the agency, through his media aide Jonathan Eze, however decided to address the incident himself.

In a series of posts on his Facebook page yesterday, he said the raid by the EFCC was based purely on rumours of his supposed involvement in the $2.1 billion arms deal and the National Security Adviser’s imprest account.
He said: “Suggestions of an EFCC investigation have dwelt solely in the realm of rumour, over which I have sued several media organisations.

“The rumour before was that of the $2.7 billion (sic) arms issue, now they say it is NSA imprest account. Let them make the documents public.

“EFCC has never officially made public any investigation of my record in government at any time before this illegal invasion of my house.”

While stressing that the rumours of a plan to extradite him from the United States were lies, he however said he would welcome an extradition process, as it would expose government’s shenanigans.

“Rumours of extradition are also lies. False allegations cannot stand up to any decent legal inquiry in a civilised system such as in the US.

“The allegations are lies, not backed by fact or evidence but a burning desire to obliterate the opposition and keep Nigerians distracted.

“The illegal invasion of my house and @realFFK (Femi Fani Kayode) and several others in detention, gives me no confidence in government’s willingness to do justice,” Obanikoro stated.

He added: “I welcome an extradition process as it will expose the shenanigans going on with their fraudulently fictitious fight against ‘corruption’.

“Since EFCC opted to make this a media trial/circus, let them make public any document linking me or any of my children to any financial scam.”
“I cannot submit myself to such a glaring witch hunt, injustice and charade; but I will fight it legally with God and a clear conscience on my side.”

Condemning the raid on his home during the Ramadam fast, he said: “To put one’s family and dependents through such trauma of illegal invasion, in this holy month of Ramadan is an unfair reward for service.

“I put close to two decades into public service, in opposition and in government, all with an unblemished record and a clear conscience.

“The aim of government is to distract the people from their woes. Such tactics have been tried before, in Nigeria and elsewhere, they failed.

“If hounding Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) members will solve Nigeria’s economic woes then we welcome it. This is a rather woeful attempt to distract from those woes.

“If the harassment of PDP members will help government to deliver good governance, many of us would submit ourselves willingly to martyrdom.

“But unfortunately, harassing PDP leaders is not in any way equal to the delivery of good governance, no matter who applauds such illegality.

“The illegal invasion without EFCC invitation, notice of investigation or a court order is also a mockery of the intelligence of Nigerians.

“The illegal invasion and raid is a mockery of justice, an expression of disdain towards the judicial system and a terribly bad precedence
“Such invasion and raid of my house without prior invitation from EFCC to me or any court order towards this, signals a return to despotism.

“Furthermore, no court ordered a raid on my house or seizure of my belongings. Any such move is illegal and will be fought against legally.

“Let me reiterate clearly; I have never received any invitation from EFCC over any issue up till date. This invasion therefore is premature.

“In 16 years of democracy, we thought we had conquered despotism for good in Nigeria but in one year, this government has brought it back.

“The invasion and raid of my residence yesterday (Tuesday) by agents of the state is a sad throwback to a tyrannical past that is better forgotten.”

While addressing Nigerians, he said: “Nigerians must remain steadfast in condemning the nepotism like ethnic divisions and economic illiteracy that have characterised this government.
“Pursuing Obanikoro, hounding (Alison) Madueke, detaining FFK and (Sambo) Dasuki will not distract the people from the failure of government to deliver on its own promises.

“This is a government determined to outdo the abysmal and ignominious economic records of December 31, 1983 to August 27, 1985 that ended in shame.

“This is a government that promotes ethnic divisions, distracts from issues, political persecution and official gangsterism from high places.

“I also remain unshaken in my belief that truth will prevail over falsehood, as ever before, no matter how exciting the falsehood may sound.

“I remain confident in my ultimate vindication and urge EFCC to make public any investigation so far conducted without any invitation to me.

“I commit myself, my family, my allies, and my friends into the hands of the Almighty God to whom all of us will give account one day.”

Credit: Thisday

$2.1bn Arms Deal: Another Newspaper Refunds N9m

The Board of Directors of Blueprint Newspapers has refunded the N9m compensation paid to newspaper owners whose copies were seized by security agents during the administration of ex-President Goodluck Jonathan.

The company’s Executive Director,Operations, Salisu Umar, who explained this in a statement issued on Tuesday in Abuja, said a GTB bank draft of N9m, had been paid to the Newspapers Proprietors Association of Nigeria.

He said, “The infraction on the rights of some newspapers by some agents of the Federal Government was widely reported in 2014. Specifically, the said agents seized numerous copies of the affected newspapers, including Blueprint. And in line with the dictates of the rule of law, the Newspapers Proprietors Association of Nigeria and the affected members chose to head to court for redress.

“In its wisdom however, the Federal Government led by the then President Goodluck Jonathan, after a peace parley with the NPAN leadership, agreed to an out-of-court settlement, consequent upon which the affected media organisations, including Blueprint  Newspaper, got N9m each. This decision, to any reasonable mind is very much in order as it simply demonstrated that the Federal Government rightfully admitted its wrongdoing.

“However, in view of the unfolding developments surrounding the arms deal investigation, which supposedly revealed that the restitution was paid from fund set aside for arms deal, the Board of Directors, has refunded same (N9m) via a GTB bank draft No. 04378726, drawn in NPAN’s name, dated February 1, 2016, and forwarded to NPAN Secretariat.

“In the least, this will certainly put to rest some misgivings that have been on over the compensation paid to media owners. May we also add here that more than any other thing, the Board considers this a great sacrifice if that would only uphold the integrity of the media as a member of the Fourth Estate of the Realm and the true watchdog of the society.

“Finally, we shall continue to abide by NPAN’s decision on this and any other matter bordering on its members’ interest.”

Credit: Punch

$2.1bn Arms Deal: Falana Drags Dasuki, Others To ICC

A Senior Advocate of Nigeria, Mr. Femi Falana, has asked the International Criminal Court to investigate the allegation of diversion of the $2.1bn arms funds by a former National Security Adviser, Col. Sambo Dasuki (retd.), and some military and public officials.

Falana also called on the ICC to bring to justice those who diverted the funds meant for the empowerment of the country’s security forces.

In a petition dated January 19, 2016, and sent to the Prosecutor of the ICC, Fatou Bensouda, Falana asked the ICC to invite the Federal Government to provide written or oral testimonies at the seat of the court on the stolen funds.

He alleged that the sum of $322m and £5.5m from the money stolen and stashed abroad by the late Gen. Sani Abacha, allegedly transferred to Dasuki by a former Finance Minister, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, to prosecute the war on terror, had been illegally diverted.

He said it was unfortunate that part of the stolen funds was used to fund the re-election campaign of former President Goodluck Jonathan in the 2015 general elections.

Falana maintained that those who engaged in the criminal diversion of the security funds should be held liable for the death of about 25,000 people, who were killed by the Boko Haram sect and the over 2,000,000 people, who were displaced by the terrorists.

According to him, the Federal Government needs to fulfil its obligations by cooperating with the ICC to arrest suspected perpetrators of the stolen funds and provide other support to the ICC.

Credit: Punch

$2.1bn Arms Scandal: EFCC To Arrest, Prosecute Bureau De Change Operators

Mr Ibrahim Magu, Acting Chairman, economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has vowed to arrest and prosecute Bureau De Change operators involved in the ongoing 2.1-billion-dollar arms deal probe.

In a statement in Abuja, EFCC spokesman Wilson Uwujaren said Magu stated this when a delegation of Bureau De Change operators visited his office .
“Information reaching me through my operatives during investigations necessitated the need to talk to you.

“Some of your operators are fond of carrying huge amounts of money out of the country, since they can no longer withdraw more than 300 dollars using the ATM.

“There are fraudulent involvements of Bureau De Change operators in the arms deal scandal,” the statement quoted Magu as saying.

The statement said that reports available to the commission showed that some of the operators withdrew as much as N500 million in two, three, four tranches in this arms deal scam.

“I am greatly disturbed and I think there will be need for proper documentation of your activities.

“This will enable your group to checkmate anyone who is involved in any fraudulent activity,” the statement added.

Credit: Leadership