An officer of the Nigerian Navy, Lt.-Cdr Olumide Adewale, has told the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission that he helped his former boss, Senator Musiliu Obanikoro, to transport money, which was flown to Akure and later handed over to Abiodun Agbele on the instructions of Governor Ayodele Fayose of Ekiti State.
Adewale, who was the Aide-de-Camp to Obanikoro when the latter was the Minister of State for Defence, said this on Wednesday when he was grilled by detectives of the EFCC.
According to the anti-graft agency, the money was part of the N4.7bn that was paid into Obanikoro’s sons’ company account, Sylvan McNamara, on the instructions of the embattled former National Security Adviser, Col. Sambo Dasuki (retd.).
Adewale, who was in charge of Obanikoro’s security for about a year, told the EFCC that everything he did was under the strict instructions of his boss.
He told investigators that on June 16, 2014, barely a week to the Ekiti State governorship election, he, alongside Obanikoro, departed the ex-minister’s Park View home in Ikoyi, Lagos, and headed for the Murtala Muhammed Airport, Ikeja, Lagos.
The naval officer told detectives that on getting to the airport, he met Obanikoro’s son, Gbolahan. He said Gbolahan and the former minister had a brief meeting after which a bullion van arrived at the private wing of the airport.
Adewale told the EFCC operatives that Gbolahan then directed some men at the airport to offload the money from the bullion van and load it unto the aircraft.
The entire activity was said to have been captured on CCTV.
A detective of the anti-graft agency quoted Adewale as saying, “The flight was delayed for about an hour. Later, a bullion van pulled into the hangar where the chartered flight was. Shortly after, Gbolahan ensured that some bags were offloaded unto the plane. I later boarded the flight with Obanikoro and his friend, Dr. Tunde Oshinowo (a PDP chieftain and a mutual friend of Obanikoro and Fayose).”
The EFCC detectives told one of our correspondents that on getting to the Akure airport, Obanikoro was welcomed by Mr. Abiodun Agbele, Fayose’s ally, who had since been arrested by the commission.
Adewale confirmed that Obanikoro was welcomed at the airport by a politician.
He told investigators that he did not know the name of the person but could recognise the person.
The naval man was further quoted as saying, “On arrival at Akure, the minister had a discussion with political friends. A bullion van was driven to the tarmac. The bags were offloaded unto the bullion van and the minister directed that we escort the van to a Zenith Bank branch in Akure.
“On arrival, the bags were offloaded by bank workers under the supervision of a civilian who had come to meet the minister at the Akure airport. I don’t know the man facially but I can recognise him.”
Meanwhile, Fayose has said the EFCC is on a wild goose chase in Ekiti State.
The governor stated that the anti-corruption commission had shifted attention to the finances of Ekiti State after what he claimed to be the failure of the commission to link him with the diversion of arms funds at the NSA’s office under Dasuki.
Fayose, who spoke on Orange FM station in Akure, Ondo State, on Thursday, said the EFCC had started harassing banks in Ekiti State, seeking for records of government finances, on allegations that the contractors gave him (governor) kickbacks.
“They are on vendetta mission. They said I collected money from Dasuki and I have told them that I did not collect a dime from Dasuki. I have N300m in my fixed deposit account in Zenith Bank and I declared it in my Asset Declaration Form.
“I have challenged them to publish the statement made to the EFCC by Dasuki where he said he gave Senator Musiliu Obanikoro money to give me or where Obanikoro himself said he gave me money.’’
Fayose called for proper restructuring of the country in line with the report of the 2014 National Conference.
“Nigeria has not been properly structured and that’s why we are facing all these problems. Remember it was those in power now that clamoured for restructuring when they were in opposition. Now that they have the federal powers and they are using the powers to oppress the people, they are against the restructuring of Nigeria,” he said.