The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has released popular Instagram celebrity, Pascal Okechukwu, also known as Cubana Chief Priest, after four nights in custody.
He hinted at his release in an Instagram post with a picture of him donning an academic gown Monday evening.
The post was his first after he shared a video clip capturing a moment he was among other spectators in the gallery of the Moshood Abiola National Stadium, Abuja, during the FIFA World Cup qualifying match between Nigeria and Ghana on March 29.
PREMIUM TIMES reported that he was arrested on March 30.
His usually active Instagram page slipped into a lull after his arrest and he was even unable to return birthday wishes posted by fans on his timeline during the period, until Monday evening.
In his Monday’s post tagging EFCC’s official handle in the post, Mr Okechukwu thanked his fans for standing by him.
“@officialefcc Tested Ok, Thank You family, I will never forget. “What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger, make Una resend all my birthday wishes,” his post read.
PREMIUM TIMES had reported on Sunday how the EFCC operatives arrested Mr Okechukwu at the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport in Abuja on Wednesday.
According to sources, who asked not to be named because they did not have permission to speak publicly on the matter, Mr Okechukwu was arrested at the airport while trying to board a flight to Owerri, the Imo State capital.
“We have a popular Instagram socialite in our custody in Abuja. He is known as Cubana Chief Priest. He was arrested on Wednesday, in Abuja on his way to Owerri,” one of the sources said.
He was last seen in public when he was caught by the camera at the Moshood Abiola National Stadium, Abuja, during a FIFA World Cup qualifier match between Ghana and Nigeria last Tuesday.
Multiple sources familiar with the matter had informed this newspaper that Mr Okechukwu was arrested by a team EFCC operatives after being trailed and monitored at the National Stadium in Abuja.
“Our officers, led by an investigator in charge of the matter, had sent a team to the national stadium in Abuja where he was alongside his friends. His activities were carefully monitored.
“We received information after the football match that Mr Cubana Chief Priest would be flying out of the FCT. We picked him up from there at the airport,” one of the sources said.
Sources disclosed to our reporter that investigators had requested the commission to obtain a warrant to keep Mr Okechuwkwu in detention beyond 48 hours.
When contacted, the spokesperson for the EFCC, Wilson Uwujaren, declined to speak on the matter.
He asked for more time, before reacting to the release. Mr Wilson is yet to respond as of press time.
Although allegations against the socialite were sketchy as of press time, a source disclosed to our reporter that Mr Okechukwu was being interrogated by operatives of the commission over alleged money laundering and tax evasion.
His arrest came months after his associate and longtime friend, Obinna Iyiegbu, popularly known as Obi Cubana, was arrested by EFCC operatives over a case of alleged money laundering and tax fraud.
Messrs Okechukwu and Iyiegbu, both socialites, made headlines in July last year when they gathered with friends in Oba village in Anambra State, Nigeria’s South-east, for the burial of Mr Iyiegbu’s late mother.
Obi Cubana’s friends frequently threw wads of naira bills into the air and at him during the burial, amid gift items presented to him in wide-ranging forms.
Clips of the ceremony, which were widely shared on social media, elicited conflicting reactions from Nigerians, with some doubting Mr Cubana’s sources of wealth and others defending him as “a kind and generous man” who worked hard to achieve success.
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