By Soni Daniel, Regional Editor, North
ABUJA— Embattled former governor of Adamawa State, Admiral Murtala Nyako, yesterday, surrendered to anti-graft agency, Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, where he was quizzed for more than 10 hours over allegation of money laundering running into N15 billion.
Nyako voluntarily returned to the country following the exit of President Goodluck Jonathan. Nyako had before now blamed his travails in the hands of security and anti-graft agencies on the former President, whom he accused of persecuting him for saying that he (Jonathan) committed genocide against the North-East in the name of fighting Boko Haram.
Quizzed for 10 hours
Vanguard learnt that Nyako, who returned from self-exile on Saturday, was at the EFCC headquarters in Abuja where he was detained and quizzed for over 10 hours, yesterday.
The former Chief of Naval Staff reported to the EFCC around 10 am but was still with his hosts as at 8pm.
Neither the Chairman of EFCC, Ibrahim Lamorde, nor its spokesman, Wilson Uwujaren, was available to speak on when Nyako would be freed.
Shortly after being impeached from office in July last year, the EFCC moved against Nyako but he outsmarted them and fled to an undisclosed European country, where he had been taking refuge until last Saturday.
In January, the EFCC declared him wanted in connection with the diversion of state funds amounting to N15 billion. When he could not be arrested, his son, Abdulaziz, was declared wanted in February this year, claiming that his father used him to siphon state resources.
Several top officials, who worked under Nyako, have also been questioned by the EFCC over alleged money laundering but none has been prosecuted or convicted by the agency.
How it all began
Former Governor Nyako who was impeached by the Adamawa State House of Assembly in February was declared wanted alongside his son, Abdulaziz Murtala by the EFCC.
Charges against them, include criminal conspiracy, stealing, abuse of office and money laundering.
In his reaction, Nyako blasted the EFCC for declaring him wanted, saying the anti-graft agency’s latest ambush on him was the last kicks of a dying horse, as President Goodluck Jonathan, would soon be kicked out of office.
Nyako, who spoke through his media assistant, Ahmed Sajoh, said: “I am not aware of being declared wanted. But that is good. If you are wanted by a rogue system, it means you are a good person. Has this government gone after anybody that is bad? They only run after the good people and allow the bad people to roam around them, live happily and enjoy whatever bad things they are doing.”
Nyako said then that he was not surprised at the latest action of the EFCC and noted that many more Nigerians would be declared wanted by the government.
The EFCC had in June 2014, shortly before the former governor was impeached, frozen bank accounts belonging to Adamawa State in what it then called a precautionary measure to safeguard the state treasury amidst evidence of looting uncovered by its operatives.
The commission had alleged massive looting of the treasury by top officials of Adamawa State government under Nyako, a development that, at the time, led to the arrest and questioning of key officials, including then Secretary to the State Government, State Commissioner for Finance, Commissioner for Higher Education, Accountant-General of the State and the Permanent Secretary, Ministry for Local Government.
The EFCC said at the time that its investigation was triggered by petitions alleging massive looting of the treasury by the governor and his cronies through an illegal department called Special Programme and Project Units, SPPU, which engaged in over invoicing and inflation of contracts.