The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission has taken into custody a former Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Mohammed Adoke (SAN).
Adoke was arrested on Thursday after flying into the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja, from Dubai, the United Arab Emirates where he had been held by the International Police Organisation since November 11, 2019.
He was arrested by the Interpol Unit of the Nigeria Police Force which was waiting for him at the Abuja airport.
The Commissioner of Police in charge of the Interpol, Umar Garba, confirmed to The PUNCH that his men arrested and handed Adoke over to the EFCC shortly after his arrival in Abuja.
He said, “We arrested the former AGF and handed him over to the EFCC which requested our assistance.”
Adoke was accompanied to Nigeria on the Emirates Airline flight 785 by Interpol officers from the UAE.
The EFCC confirmed this in a tweet on its verified Twitter handle on Thursday.
The commission also disclosed that the acting EFCC Chairman, Ibrahim Magu, had been meeting with the UAE authorities over his plans to prosecute Adoke for his alleged involvement in the $1.1bn Malabu oil scam.
The tweet read, “Former AGF, Mohammed Adoke, has arrived in Nigeria from Dubai. The ex-AGF left Dubai following pressure from the EFCC.
“The aircraft departed the Emirati commercial capital at about 11am (8am Nigerian time) and touched down at the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja, at about 3.45pm.
“Officers of the EFCC were on the ground at the airport when he arrived. The EFCC boss, Ibrahim Magu, and Dubai authorities have held a series of meetings in respect of the former attorney-general. He was accompanied by Interpol officers on Emirates Airlines flight 785.”
But Adoke’s lawyer, Chief Mike Ozekhome (SAN), said his client decided to return to Nigeria voluntarily to clear his name concerning the charges instituted against him in connection with the Malabu Oil scam.
The lawyer disclosed this in a statement few hours after the ex-AGF was released from the custody of the Interpol in Dubai.
The former AGF, who had left the country since 2015 when his tenure as minister ended, was arrested in Dubai by the INTERPOL on November 11, 2019, following an arrest warrant issued against him by a high court in Abuja where the Malabu Oil charges were pending against him since 2016.
But Ozekhome insisted in his statement that there was no legal basis for the arrest of his client, as the same judge, Justice Danladi Senchi, who issued the arrest warrant had set it aside.
He added that Justice Binta Nyako of the Federal High Court in Abuja had also in a judgment exonerated Adoke of any wrongdoing in the Malabu Oil transactions.
He noted that his client had been kept in custody for long because the Nigerian government had failed to notify the Dubai and Interpol authorities that the arrest warrant issued against Adoke had been set aside.
He said on arrival, the former minister would voluntarily report to the EFCC which instituted the charges against him.
He said, “Now that Mr Adoke has been released by the Interpol and UAE/Dubai authorities after finding nothing criminal against him, he will, by the special grace of God, based on our legal advice, voluntarily return to Nigeria on Thursday (yesterday) as he had always insisted he would do when this patent persecution started.”
Speaking about what led to Adoke’s release, Ozekhome said his client chose to return to Nigeria to break the logjam of his detention in Dubai in the absence of any incriminating document to justify his arrest and incarceration.
He said the former minister signed an undertaking with Dubai authorities to return to Nigeria to solve his problems.
The anti-graft agency is prosecuting Adoke and a former petroleum minister, Dan Etete, for their alleged involvement in the sale of OPL 245 which was sold to Shell Nigeria Exploration and Production Company and Nigeria Agip Exploration by Malabu Oil and Gas Ltd. for $1.1bn.
Adoke is expected to defend himself against the charges bordering on conspiracy, forgery of bank documents, bribery, corruption and money laundering before the FCT High Court and the Federal High Court.
( The Punch)