Thursday, 23 May 2013
French Police Detain Nigerian Private Jet Carrying President Jonathan's Front Man
SaharaReporters has learnt that French law enforcement officers detained a private jet conveying a Nigerian businessman, Jide Omokore, in Paris. Mr. Omokore is one of President Goodluck Jonathan’s closest business associates.
The Abuja-bound plane had arrived in Paris from Monaco. A French police source who spoke to our correspondent on condition of anonymity disclosed that the plane was detained for two days.
The source did not disclose the make and model of the jet nor the exact date the aircraft was detained, but disclosed that the private jet was detained as part of an investigation into its ownership. Even though the source refused to reveal more, stating that further disclosure could compromise their investigation, a source in Abuja told SaharaReporters that French authorities seemed interested in finding out if the jet belonged to a Nigerian official. The Abuja source stated that Petroleum Minister Diezani Alison-Madueke may be the focus of the French investigation.
SaharaReporters was told that the detained jet was flying Mr. Omokore and two women when it was impounded for two days. The jet was later released and was then flown back to Nigeria with Mr. Omokore on board.
The name of the Kogi-born Jide Omokore has featured prominently in the recent fuel subsidy scandal that rocked the Nigerian economy. In Abuja circles, he is well known as a front man for President Jonathan and Petroleum Minister Alison-Madueke.