•Commission denies allegations of harassment
•Jonathan’s cousin yet to meet bail conditions
Tobi Soniyi in Abuja and Chiemelie Ezeobi in Lagos
In a surprise raid, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) on Tuesday stormed the Ikoyi, Lagos residence of the former Minister of State for Defence, Senator Musiliu Obanikoro, and carted away valuables including cars.
Although the reason for the raid was yet to be ascertained, THISDAY gathered that it might not be unconnected with the part he allegedly played during the last general election and allegations bordering on corruption.
Reacting to the raid, Obanikoro, who spoke through his media aide, Jonathan Eze, said the agency harassed his innocent children, took away his cars, wristwatches and other valuables.
He said: “Officials of the EFCC today (yesterday), invaded Senator Obanikoro houses in Ikoyi with unnecessary intimidation and harassment of occupants of the house who were majorly innocent children, teenagers, his wife and daughters in-law not without carting away cars, wristwatches and other valuables.
“This is against the backdrop of the fact that the anti-graft agency has never invited him or his sons for questioning beyond the tirades and allegations they have been propagating in the media spaces.
“We are using this medium to draw attention of all Nigerians to yet another infringement on the fundamental and inalienable rights of the Obanikoro family.
“Lovers of freedom should not wait until our democracy is put at irreversible damage. The list of human rights violations and political persecution has reached an alarming rate.
“We see this as an affront and a further show of shame and ignominy of this present administration hell bent on politically persecuting its perceived opponents in other to stoop them and rubbish their hard earned reputation of untainted public services.
“To our chagrin, the vehicles driven away were cars and trucks bought since 2006 and thereabouts when Obanikoro served as Nigerian Ambassador to Ghana among others which obviously has no bearing with the purported investigation they are supposedly carrying out.
“We condemn in strong terms the brigandage and the idea of inflicting trauma on innocent dependants and violating their privacy without recourse to the rule of law.
“Obanikoro has consulted with his lawyers and are prepared to meet them in court to stop this intrusions and persecution.”
When contacted, EFCC spokesperson, Mr. Wilson Uwujaren, confirmed the story, adding that they never harassed Obanikoro or his two sons as alleged.
He said: “It’s true that our men went there today. It’s part of the investigations involving Obanikoro and his two sons. I don’t want to go into details on why we are investigating him.
“Nobody was harassed. Anybody familiar with the EFCC knows that we don’t harass people. Our men went there to do their lawful duty.
“If we took anything during the raid, it’s because whenever we are investigating, anything that is related to the matter at hand, we will investigate those valuables too.”
Meanwhile, one week after he was granted bail by the Federal High Court in Abuja, a cousin to former President Goodluck Jonathan, Dr. Robert Azibola who is facing trial with his wife, Stella, is yet to meet his bail conditions to regain his freedom from Kuje Prison.
The couple were charged with a seven-count offence bordering on alleged $40million contract scam,
Justice Nnamdi Dimgba had on June 8 granted the defendants who are facing trial alongside their firm, Oneplus Holding Limited, bail in the sum of N1billion.
They were directed to deposit N500million each, as well as produce two sureties in the like sum.
The court maintained that the sureties must be owners of landed properties in either Maitama or Asokoro Districts of Abuja and must produce evidence that they paid income tax for the past three years.
However, the defendants who secured bail through their lawyer Chief Chris Uche (SAN), had been unable to fulfill the stringent bail conditions.
Sources said the accused persons are considering approaching the court for a variation of the bail conditions.
The source also blamed the EFCC for orchestrating the “harsh bail conditions” to be met by Robert, his Wife and company, Oneplus.
He said the defendants have concluded plans to re-approach the court for variation of the bail terms, saying it has been difficult to get people to stand surety for the accused persons.
EFCC had accused the defendants of receiving a $40million contract from the detained former National Security Adviser, NSA, Sambo Dasuki, retd.
Azibaola was arraigned before the high court after he had spent 80 days in custody of the EFCC.
Justice Dimgba has ordered accelerated hearing of the charge against the defendants.
The matter was adjourned till June 28, July 4 and 5.