The Abeokuta residence of former President Olusegun Obasanjo has become a Mecca of sorts for prominent Nigerians involved in the $2.1 billion arms procurement funds’ scandal, Sunday PUNCH is reporting.
According to the newspaper, those reaching out to the former president, who is widely acknowledged as having the ears of President Muhammadu Buhari, are doing so in the hope that he can help them negotiate a soft landing as the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, widened its dragnet around those suspected to have benefitted from the slush fund from the office of the former National Security Adviser, Col. Sambo Dasuki (retd.).
Although the names of suspects believed to have reached out to Obasanjo could not be ascertained, an aide of the former Nigerian leader when contacted to confirm the report, responded in the affirmative.
“I can confirm that”, the aide said on Saturday night via a phone interview with the newspaper’s correspondent.
The source, however, said Chief Obasanjo was unlikely to make any moves on behalf of these highly influential individuals involved in the scandal.
Some staff of the office of the NSA, who made useful statements to the EFCC, had mentioned several prominent Nigerians in politics, business, governance and the media, as beneficiaries of several “suspicious payments”.
A former Accounts Officer II, Ibrahim Idris Wambai, in his statement of witness made under oath to the EFCC, revealed that he made several cash payments to former presidential spokesperson, Doyin Okupe, and Ahmad Idris, a personal assistant to the former National Security Adviser, Col. Sambo Dasuki (retd.).
A former Minister of State for Finance, Amb. Bashir Yuguda, who is also in EFCC custody, confessed sharing N600 million among six Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, chieftains for the 2015 general elections.
Among those the former minister listed as having benefited from the largesse are namely: Attahiru Bafarawa, Peter Odili, Jim Nwobodo, Bode George, Ahmadu Ali and Yerima Abdullahi.
But the Obasanjo aide said those banking on the former president to intervene on their behalf were in for a rude awakening.
He said, “Of course, some of the people involved in the scandal are reaching out to Baba (Obasanjo). They want soft-landing. People would always reach out to him. But we all know Obasanjo’s disposition to some people and what he thinks of them.
“Moreover, the revelations are serious. Even if only 10 per cent is true, it is still serious. Also it is important to stress that what have been revealed are the things that we know. How about other deals that we do not know? We are talking about the office of the National Security Adviser, how about what happened in other places: Education, Finance, Aviation etc?”