There was mild drama in Ikeja on Monday as operatives of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) arrested Yinka Farounbi, a former Chairman of the Ikeja branch of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA).
The arrest took place at the branch’s secretariat in Ikeja during a monthly meeting of the branch.
The arrest followed the former chairman’s alleged refusal to honour an invitation of the anti-graft agency.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that Mr Farounbi’s arrest was initiated by a petition written to the EFCC by three members of NBA, Ikeja branch, over alleged misappropriation of N30 million belonging to the branch.
The petititioners alleged that Mr Farounbi, in connivance with Adeshina Ogunlana, another former Chairman of NBA Ikeja branch, diverted the funds alongside Mrs Kappo, a former Treasurer of the branch.
Mr Ogunlana honoured an EFCC invitation in February, during which he allegedly spent 81 hours in the custody of the anti-graft commission.
An EFCC source who pleaded anonymity said the EFCC decided to arrest Farounbi at the NBA meeting following his refusal to honour its invitation, adding that intelligence reports revealed that he would be at the meeting.
There was, however, a mild drama when EFCC operatives stormed the meeting venue to effect Farounbi’s arrest, as Patience Kalu, one of the operatives, alleged that she was assaulted by lawyer resisting Mr Farounbi’s arrest.
This made the operatives to call for backup to arrest the lawyer who allegedly assaulted Mrs Kalu as she insisted she would not leave the NBA secretariat until arrest of the lawyer.
Mr Farounbi was accompanied by three Senior Advocates of Nigeria at 4.27 pm to a waiting EFCC vehicle and then to the EFCC Ikoyi Office.
Dele Oloke, the Chairman of the branch, apologised to Mrs Kalu over the alleged assault, and called for calmness.
A lawyer and an eyewitness who pleaded anonymity, however, disputed Mrs Kalu’s assault claim.
”We were having our monthly branch meeting, and four EFCC operatives walked in interrupting the meeting.
”They were a lady (Kalu) and three men; two of the men were visibly armed, one was following the lady with a pistol and the other, who was with a big gun, stood at the door.
”We told them that we were having a meeting; we appealed to them, and as they were leaving, the lady seized the phone of a lawyer who was recording the event.
In spite of our pleas, they refused to release the phone. I did not see the lady being assaulted,” he said.
NAN reports that the lawyer whose mobile phone was seized, was also arrested by EFCC operatives.