The National Intelligence Agency, NIA, is claiming ownership of the $43,449,947, £27,800 and N23, 218,000 – N50 billion – seized on Wednesday, April 12, 2017 by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, from Osborne Towers, a luxury residential complex in Ikoyi, Lagos.
According to a US-based online newspaper, The Will, the director of the NIA, which is Nigeria’s equivalent of the CIA, Ayodele Oke has “been in touch in EFCC’s boss, Ibrahim Magu, to express his displeasure over the raid at the apartment used as one of NIA’s safe houses in Lagos for its clandestine operations”.
According to a top official with knowledge of the situation this stunt by the EFCC has jeopardized operations of the NIA and may have compromised the identities of undercover operatives of the spy agency.
The NIA is the government security agency tasked with overseeing foreign intelligence and counterintelligence operations in Nigeria.
According to another official who spoke with The Will, Magu staged this scoop because his confirmation as substantive chairman of the agency has been frustrated by the DSS and the Senate and he has been under pressure to show President Muhammadu Buhari the “billions of naira” he told the president during a meeting that the EFCC had recovered under his leadership.
“So he is on a reckless search for monies hence all these strings of raids and seizures within the last one week,” the source, who pleaded anonymity, said.
“I can authoritatively tell you that money belongs to the NIA. The DG has come forward to claim it and has informed my office of the development. He is furious with Magu for his agency’s recklessness and for compromising their operations,” the official is quoted as saying.
Meanwhile, Justice Muslim Hassan of a Federal High Court in Lagos Thursday ordered the temporary forfeiture of the cash and ordered that the funds be temporarily forfeited to the federal government and adjourned till May 5, 2017, for anyone interested in the funds to show up before him to show cause why the money should not be permanently forfeited to the Federal Government.
All Progressives Congress’, APC, online combatants including an aide to President Muhammadu Buhari had taken to social media to declare that the money belonged to Esther Nnamdi-Ogbue, a former managing director, at the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC.
— Lauretta Onochie (@Laurestar) April 13, 2017
Nnamdi-Ogbue has issued a statement through her lawyers refuting the reports.
Editor’s Note: Our readers may have noticed our deliberate use of the word, heist, to describe these recent EFCC discoveries. “A heist is any robbery in which there is a large haul of loot“. We believe that these actions by the EFCC are legally problematic because they don’t follow due process of investigation and obtaining of a warrant from a judge after showing probable cause. Many of them are just publicity stunts and amount to whitewashing the tarnished image of the anti-graft agency. A whistleblower has accused Ibrahim Magu, the currently embattled boss of the EFCC and his predecessors of looting N1.3 trillion “recovered” from corrupt officials by the agency.