By Soni Daniel, Regional Editor, North
HOW did ousted governor of Adamawa State, Admiral Murtala Hammanyero Nyako, escape from Nigeria a few hours before his impeachment despite the presence of eagle-eyed security agents waiting to arrest him to answer for his actions?
This is a question that has continued to prop up within the security establishment in Nigeria now that it has become clear that the former governor had fled the country and settled in Europe, apparently to avoid being prosecuted or persecuted by his traducers.
Nyako, according to findings by Saturday Vanguard, escaped from Nigeria through the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja in a private jet on July 15, 2014.
The former Chief of Naval Staff’s successful flight from the country at the time he did, is said to be causing unease and serious embarrassment to the nation’s security establishment, as it is being suspected that the man could not have taken off without the support of insiders.
Saturday Vanguard was told by competent sources that Nyako was assisted to flee by those who were also detailed to stop him from slipping off their hands.
It was learnt that Nyako had sought the assistance of some sympathetic security agents and secured their subtle support on how to leave the country undetected just before his ouster by the House of Assembly and beat the hordes of security agents, who had been detailed to arrest him.
The former Chief of Defence Staff is said to have made arrangements to leave Yola, the state capital for Abuja a day before his impeachment, having been convinced that the seven-man panel raised by the House of Assembly had indicted him on many fronts.
It was learnt that on the day of the impeachment, Nyako had prepared a phantom convoy of about 10 cars, which he used in confusing security agents to believe that he was still around in the country, many hours after he had sneaked out of town.
According to a competent source, who was privy to the movement, Nyako had earlier that morning of July 15, 2014, left his Abuja residence with some of his close aides in a private car and was ushered into a waiting private jet at the NAIA Abuja.
The jet, according to the source, is owned by a top Nigerian, who is sympathetic to Nyako and believes that he was hounded out of office because of his defection from the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) to the opposition All Progressives Congress (APC).
The source explained that since the former governor’s flight from the private wing of the NAIA Abuja was pre-arranged, security agents, who would have arrested Nyako on arrival at the airport, rather gave him a quick pass and he flew out of the airport in a jiffy.
Findings show that about an hour after Nyako’s plane had taken off from the private wing of the airport, his phantom convoy made its way to the airport giving security agents the erroneous belief that he was inside his official car.
The security agents waited for the governor to arrive so as to stop him from flying. It was too late.
In the convoy, a Land Cruiser Jeep emblazoned with the Coat of Arms and Marked “Adamawa State Governor”, occupied the space meant for Nyako but the former governor was not in any of the vehicles.
On stopping the convoy and searching, the security men, who had now been alerted to grab Nyako, only found some of his aides in his official car. They were livid.
One of Nyako’s aides told Saturday Vanguard that the security men had to quickly ferry the former naval officer out of the country because they feared for his life.
The source explained that there were unconfirmed reports that the man could be harmed after being removed from office.
“We had information that they would deal with Nyako in ways he did not anticipate because of the letter he wrote accusing the Federal Government of committing genocide in the North under the guise of fighting terrorism,” one of his aides said. “That is why it was imperative for the security officials, who knew the plot to harm him to assist him out of the country. Indeed, we can say that it is the same people, who had the duty to arrest him that assisted him to leave the country because of the fear that he could be harmed because of the gamut of security information at his disposal,” another source said.
A few days after Nyako had left Nigeria, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, said it was finding it difficult to track down the former governor for arrest over alleged misappropriation of funds.
A spokesman for the EFCC, Mr. Wilson Uwujaren, said the commission might be tempted to declare Nyako wanted if he continues to hide.