BY OBUTE JAMES
Two chieftains of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP but who recently aligned with the ruling All Progressive Congress, APC, Musiliu Obanikoro, ex-Minister of State for Defence and Senator Iyiola Omisore, former Deputy Governor of Osun State have retrieved their passports from the Economic and Financial Crime Commission, EFCC despite travel ban by federal government.
The Federal Government directive under Executive Order 6, banned 50 persons under investigations for fraud exceeding N50 million.
While Obanikoro has been under investigation since 2016 for allegedly receiving N4.7 billion from the embattled former National Security Adviser, Col. Sambo Dasuki (retd.), in 2014, the former federal lawmaker, Omisore was arrested by the EFCC in 2016 for allegedly receiving N1.3 billion from Dasuki through Obanikoro.
An impeccable source in the EFCC revealed that Obanikoro, who has an American passport and a Nigerian one, met certain conditions before his passports were returned to him.
He said, “Obanikoro was able to return over N100m out of the money he received from Dasuki. He showed genuine commitment to returning more money and assist the EFCC with investigations and his passports were returned to him.”
The former minister allegedly handed over about N1.3bn to former Governor Ayodele Fayose of Ekiti State and another N1.3bn to the then Peoples Democratic Party governorship candidate in Osun State in 2014, Senator Iyiola Omisore.
After Fayose was arrested by the EFCC last Tuesday, however, it was learnt that Obanikoro travelled to United Staate of America.
“Obanikoro travelled out on Wednesday evening, saying he wanted to go for medical treatment. He gave no date when he would return,” a source said.
The former minister, who has defected to the All Progressives Congress, had declared his intention to run for the Lagos West senatorial district election but shelved his ambition at the last minute.
Similarly, Omisore had also recovered his passport from the commission.
The former federal lawmaker who was arrested by the EFCC in 2016 for allegedly receiving money from Dasuki through Obanikoro, subsequently returned N300m to the EFCC but his passport was seized by the commission.
Omisore had earlier written to the EFCC, requesting that his passport be returned to him so that he could travel for medical treatment but his request was then turned down.
However, Omisore who recently contested the governorship election of Osun State on the platform of the Social Democratic Party, entered into an undisclosed agreement with the APC when the election was declared inconclusive.
He was reported to have entered into a series of negotiations with the APC leadership to support the APC candidate in the poll, Gboyega Oyetola, but the details of the negotiations were never made public.
It was during the negotiations with the leadership of the APC that Omisore was said to have recovered his passport from the anti-graft agency.
Omsiore’s media aide, Mr. Jide Fakorede, had said recently that his boss was no longer under investigation by the EFCC and that he was free to travel.
Attempts to speak with the spokesman for the EFCC, Mr. Wilson Uwujaren, proved abortive as he did not respond to phone calls on Saturday.
When contacted on the telephone, Omisore rejected calls and subsequently sent a text message saying, “Sorry, I can’t talk right now.”
Meanwhile, it was learnt that the EFCC had slammed five charges against former Governor of Ekiti State, Ayodele Fayose. A chieftain of PDP and strong critic of the present administration of President Muhammadu Buhari will be arraigned in court in Lagos this week for allegedly receiving money from Dasuki through Obanikoro. (Source Punch)