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Former Minister Obanikoro, Back In Nigeria, Now In EFCC Custody

Former Nigeria Minister of State for Defense, Musiliu Obanikoro, who returned to Nigeria from the United States on Saturday, has been arrested by the EFCC.

Obanikoro, also a former ambassador to Ghana, fled Nigeria in 2015 after former President Goodluck Jonathan lost his bid for re-election.  He was smuggled into Nigeria with the help of some Nigerian government officials with whom he had engaged in a negotiation to turn himself in.  He had previously sworn not to return, implying he would be protected by the United States. 

SaharaReporters sources say he is expected to remain in detention to face interrogation over allegations of corruption relating to bribery of army officers, electoral fraud and money laundering involving some N4.7billion that was taken from the office of the former National Security Adviser (NSA), Rtd. Col. Sambo Dasuki.  Mr. Dasuki is himself undergoing trial and is currently in detention.

Earlier today, Obanikoro flew to Abuja as early as 8:00 am but refused to show up at the EFCC headquarters as promised.  When it became clear that EFCC was going to declare him wanted, he finally arrived at its premises at about 1p.m. Nigerian time

An EFCC source told SaharaReporters that the former minister, who had on several occasions dismissed the work of the anti-graft agency, started making contacts about returning to the country when his daughter, Shalewa, was arrested and made some damning revelations about her father.

The source said Mr. Obanikoro confessed to officials involved in negotiating his return to taking money from the NSA to win the 2014 Ekiti State gubernatorial election at all cost for Ayodele Fayose, but conceded that only N800million made it into his private pockets.  He also revealed that out of the money allegedly from the NSA, N1.7million was given to former Senator Iyiola Omisore, while now-Governor Fayose stole the rest.

Since last week some of Obanikoro's aides, including Kayode Bwalla, have stated to return to Nigeria but his two sons who were also involved in engaging in massive money laundering have not returned to Nigeria.

Obanikoro departed the US for the United Kingdom last week, first traveling to the Netherlands.  He then arrived in Lagos on Saturday evening and immediately went into hiding.