A former Minister of State for Defence, Musiliu Obanikoro, will pass the night at the Economic and Financial Crimes headquarters in Abuja, his counsel told PREMIUM TIMES Monday night.
James Onoja, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria and lead counsel to Mr. Obanikoro, said the former minister will likely be grilled overnight by detectives after he arrived the commission’s office earlier on Monday.
“He submitted himself to them upon returning to the country this morning,” Mr. Onoja said in a telephone interview. “Unfortunately, he won’t be out again today.”
Mr. Onoja said his client has written a statement and informed investigators all that he believed transpired.
“He told them all he knew in his statement, so we hope he’ll be released tomorrow.”
He, however, added that “If he’s not released, then we’ll have to do the needful. At least we have the courts and this is still a country that should be governed by the rule of law.”
Mr. Obanikoro arrived the country in the early hours of Monday, saying he returned home to clear himself of corruption allegations.
He has been having a running battle with the anti-graft agency for several months on charges bordering on financial crimes.
He left for the U.S. shortly after his party lost the 2015 elections and ceased being a minister.
The EFCC accused him of using his sons, Gbolahan and Jide, to take out government contracts worth about N4.7 billion that were never executed.
Mr. Obanikoro has also been implicated in the Ekiti elections scandal where soldiers allegedly connived with the then PDP candidate, Ayo Fayose, to manipulate the elections. Mr. Fayose later won the election against the incumbent governor and APC candidate, Kayode Fayemi. Mr. Obanikoro was minister of state for defence then but has denied any wrongdoing, It is not immediately clear if would answer questions about that allegation too.
The former senator had initially vowed not to return to the country alleging persecution by the Muhammadu Buhari-led APC government as a means to discredit him.
Wilson Uwujaren, the EFCC spokesman, could not immediately give updates of Mr. Obanikoro’s case to PREMIUM TIMES Monday night.
“I have been away from the office for many hours,” Mr. Uwujaren said.