By Suleiman Umaru
At long last , the much publicised return of Mohammed Adoke, a one –time Attorney General of the Federation, AGF, and minister of Justice, under former President Goodluck Jonathan from Dubai, United Arab Emirate, UAE, had come to passed. Note that Adoke, the former AGF, had been in the custody of the UAE police on the instruction of the International Police Organisation, INTERPOL, who had arrested him since last November He was accompanied back to Nigeria by the INTERPOL officials from the Oil –rich Arab country on Thursday, December 19, 2019, to waiting hands of INTERPOL ,operatives in Nigeria.
He was said to have been arrested by the INTERPOL, operatives, at the city of Dubai, UAE, at the instance of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, over his alleged involvement in granting the Oil prospecting License,,OPL, 245, popular, Malabu Oil Block, to hell Nigeria Exploration and Production Company, SNEPCO, and ENI, an Italian Oil Company.
The Mlaabu Oil Block , according to sources was initially granted to Dan Etete, a one-time minister of Petroleum Resources, as a parting gift by late General Sani Abacha, who was the country’s Head of state at the time of the transaction. The transaction may have been conducted without following due process as the country was said to have lost millions of dollar, forcing former President Olusegun Obasanjo to revoke the license and reassigned it to SNEPCO, a subsidiary of Shell Petroleum Development Company, SPDC.
Adoke may not have found the action of the People’s Democratic Party, PDP, led government funny as he fought back using all the resources at his disposal and his contacts in the Presidency and Nigerian National Petroleum Corportion, NNPC, Circle. In 2006, the Court ruled that the government should return the OPL 245 to him. but SNEPCO Challenged the Court decision .
The case had dragged on in Court for a couple f years that the embattled Adoke , saw it as a challenge to intervene inorder to resolve the conflight using government might The Oil Block was allegedly sold to SNEPCO and Eni, an Italian Oil Company by the Jonathan administration. Etete cried out of being schemed out of the whole transactions by selling the Malabu Oil Block at the sum of $1.1 bn to SNEPCO and ENI, an Italian Oil Company insisting that the Oil Block belong to him and not the government.
The alleged fraudulent sale of the Block became a problem for the Jonathan administration that the Akwa Ibom state born politician saw it as an opportunity to quit from the PDP and to fight from outside. His exit from the Opposition PDP to join the ruling All Progressive Congress, APC, may have opened up a can of worm about the Malabu Oil Block a and their Nigerian Collaborators, including the former AGF. The matter may have been filtered out to the hearing of the Katsina state born Nigerian President, regarded in political circles as an ant-corruption Czar, who may called for the file for the Malabu Oil Block tractions.
It was an opportunity for the case to be taken over by the no nonsense the Magu led EFCC, which had been watching the scenario over the years on the sideline to probe the the Malabu Oil Block deal. The investigation of the Commission is very revealing. It was said to have led to the discovery of other Crimes linked t ranging from Conspiracy, forgery, Corruption to money laundering to the tune of N1.2 billion, by the government officials involved in the sales of the Oil Block, an indication that the former AGF , has case to answer.
This may have set the stage for the Commission to prepare the charges against him in order to prosecute him. It was not surprising why the agency dragged him to Court but he was not in the country to answer to the charges leveled against him. Last April, the agency had obtained a Court order to arrest him. This may have informed why the it contacted the INTERPOL,in Europe and other parts of the world to take up the responsibility of arresting him because of its wide network . The plan worked out as he was arrested in Dubai, UAE.
Many had expected that the former AGF, would be allowed to go back to Nigeria a free person to answer to the EFCC ,charges against him since he had volunteered on his own to return after he had been set free by the country’s police. They got it wrong. The INTERPOL officials in Dubai , may not have given him any room to worry about his freedom on arrival in the country as he was said to have discussed freely with them.
Unknown to him the EFCC , personnel and other security operatives , had taken advantage of his planned return to the country to take over the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport , to avoid giving him room to escape. Although, he may sensed that he had fallen into Magu’s hand when the INTERPOL officials from the Dubai office, joined entered the Emirate Commercial flight to accompany him to Nigeria . It was too late to cancel the flight.
His mind may have jumped into his heart when he saw a large army of EFCC, personnel and the local INTERPOL officials, at the Nnamdi Azikiwe , International airport awaiting for him.. He gave up the hope of going home as a free person but as a prisoner of EFCC.
Eye witness account said he was quickly whisked away to the INTERPOL office in Abuja, no sooner the Emirate aircraft touched down and subsequently transferred to the EFCC office and handed over to them . He was said to have been detained while the agency Lawyers perfect their documents to give the former AGF, regarded as a ‘’big fish’’ in political circles, a legal backing.
The agency had approached an Abuja Federal High Court , which gave it the permission to detain him for two weeks , in order to complete its investigation, on. Justice Othman Musa , a Vacation Judge of an Abuja High Court, was said have granted the EFCC, request to detain him, for the two weeks in order to hear his own side of the story on the sale sale of Malabu Oil Block as one of the Principal figures in the multi-million dollars transaction.
At the height of the Malabu Oil Block crisis, the former AGF, had told those that cares to listen that there was no decision that was done by his office, particular on the Malabu Oil Block without the approval of then President Jonathan, an indication that the was aware of the Malabu Oil Block deal.
The EFCC interrogators may want him to open up on the Jonathan’s connection to the Malabu Oil Block sales before inviting him for questioning. This is bad news for the former president as Magau, the acting EFCC, Chairman would not hesitate to invite him for questioning over the Malabu Oil scandal if there is need.
Ozekhome, the SAN and former AGF ,Lawyer, who is not happy over the continued detention of his client , appears to be working round the clock to facilitate his release from the EFCC custody. The legal luminary had faulted the action of the Commission to keep the former AGF, in their custody for no justifiable reason.
An aggrieved Ozekhome, SAN, had described the obtaining of a Court order by the ant-graft agency to detain the former AGF AS ‘’unnecessary’’. According to him , there was no basis for such as he had already been charged even in abstentia while he was in the Netherlands, popular Holland, for a Masters degree programme.
The question on the lips of most people is: Did the former AGF, send back words to the Magu led EFCC , that he was running a programme in Netherlands but would make himself available for questioning on completion of his studies?
Legal experts believe that if he had done so, the EFCC officials could not have taken the trouble of contacting INTERPOL offices in Europe and other parts of the world to arrest and return him to Nigeria o face the charges of Corruption and other crimes against him over the sale of the Malabu Oil Block.
Given his legal background, Ozekhome, maintains that since the former AGF , returned to the country voluntarily , there was no reason whatsoever for the INTERPOL to arrest him on arrival at the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja and taken to EFCC office where he was detained.
The SAN who could not hide his feeling had queried the EFCC, officials : of what use is his present in carceration meant to achieve? .He fears that the intention of the Magu led agency for detaining the former AGF is ‘’to subdue him, punish him, wear him out mentally, physically, psychologically and psychically, which people was done in order to force him to speak out on the erstwhile Jonathan administration.
Appealing to the Magu led EFCC, to grant the former AGF , administrative bail to trat himself , stressing that it was his health challenge that took him Dubai, UAE, before he fell into the waiting hands of INTERPOL officials, warning that failure to do so would force them to take the legal steps ‘’to vacate the ex parte order’’.
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