Thursday 20 October 2016

Musiliu Obanikoro Might Spend The Weekend In EFCC Custody, Despite Turning Himself In

Musiliu Obanikoro, a former Minister of State for Defence, who submitted himself to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission on Monday morning, has yet to be released, Premium Times learnt late Thursday.

Sources close to him said no deal had been reached as of Thursday evening, a pointer he could spend the weekend in custody.

Mr. Obanikoro flew into Nigeria on Monday morning and reported at the EFCC office in Abuja a few hours later.

The politician faces allegations that he defrauded Nigeria up to N4.7 billion in a racket he allegedly perpetrated with his sons, Jide and Gbolahan.

Sources close to the former minister told Premium Times he had “given useful information to his interrogators”.

Mr. Obanikoro had also “clarified the role he played in the Ekiti and Osun elections during which he helped the candidates coordinate money from Abuja”, the source said. “But it seems they just want him to cool off there for a while.”

Governor Ayo Fayose of Ekiti State had distanced himself from the alleged confessions made by Mr. Obanikoro.

But Premium Times gathered that unlike Mr. Fayose, Iyiola Omisore, the candidate of PDP in the 2014 elections in Osun, had admitted receiving money through Mr. Obanikoro.

Mr. Omisore, our source said, handed the amount he received back to the government over the past three months.

Mr. Obanikoro left for the U.S. shortly after his party lost the 2015 elections.

The EFCC is accusing him of using his sons, Gbolahan and Jide, to take out government contracts worth about N4.7 billion. The contracts were never executed, the commission said.

Mr. Obanikoro has also been implicated in the Ekiti elections scandal where soldiers allegedly connived with the then PDP candidate, Mr. Fayose, to manipulate the elections. Gov. Fayose later won that election.

Mr. Obanikoro, who was Minister of State for Defence at the time, denied any wrongdoing.

The former senator had initially vowed not to return to the country, alleging persecution by the Muhammadu Buhari-led APC government.

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