By Soni Daniel, Northern Region Editor & Dirisu Yakubu

•Why we arrested Babalele, Atiku’s son-in-law, finance officer —EFCC
•Says ‘we picked him in relation to laundering €150 million’
•To be released soon

Former Vice President and presidential candidate of Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, Atiku Abubakar, alleged, yesterday, that the Federal Government was persecuting his family and business associates, following the last presidential poll.

Alhaji Atiku Abubakar

His alarm came on a day Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, explained that it arrested the son-in-law of the PDP presidential candidate, Alhaji Babalele Abdullahi, for laundering150 million euro.

In a post on his personal Twitter handle @atiku, yesterday, the former vice president wrote: “My son in-law and lawyer have been detained, one for three weeks and the other, recently. They are paying the price for supporting me.

“I urge those now persecuting them to remember that a government’s mandate is to pursue peace and justice for all, and not just those who support them.”

Atiku recently drew the attention of the world to the arrest of his son-in-law and Director of Finance of Atiku Group of Companies, Babalele Abdullahi, by operatives of EFCC.

His lawyer, Uyiekpen Giwa-Osagie, was allegedly picked up a few days to the presidential and National Assembly elections.


Atiku lost his Presidential bid to Muhammadu Buhari last week, following the declaration of the latter as winner by Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC; a result rejected by Atiku and his party, PDP.

Why Atiku’s son-in-law, Babalele, was arrested  — EFCC

Meanwhile, EFCC has said Atiku’s son-in-law was arrested for money laundering to the tune of150 million euro.

The commission, while admitting for the first time that its operatives arrested Babalele, did not, however specify how the huge sum was laundered or where it originated and terminated.

But Vanguard learned authoritatively that Atiku’s son-in-law was “taken away” by security agents on the suspicion that he could use hard currency to unduly influence the outcome of many polls taking place in the country.

Although the EFCC had initially kept mute over the arrest of Babalele, the agency, yesterday, tried to douse rising tension over the detention of the man, admitting that he was in its custody but did not indicate the exact location he was being kept.

A source in the commission said: “Yes, he (Babalele) is being investigated over alleged case of money laundering and the sum involved is150 million euro.

“Let it be known that investigation into the matter is ongoing and we can confirm that Babalele is in our custody. But he will be released soon.”


However when contacted, acting spokesman of EFCC, Mr. Tony Orilade, who confirmed the detention of Babalele, declined further comments on the matter, insisting that the commission does not conduct its investigation in the media.

“I do not have details for now but we shall speak at the appropriate time,” Orilade stated.

The development followed complaint by Atiku that his son-in-law had been arrested by the EFCC without any justification.

Atiku’s Media Adviser, Mr. Paul Ibe, had in the wake of the arrest, said EFCC officials were not given access into the house until Abdullahi’s lawyers arrived.

He had said: “In a desperate move to have Atiku Abubakar concede and congratulate Gen. Muhammadu Buhari, officials of EFCC at about 8.30am today (Saturday) invaded the Maitama residence of Babalele. They were, however, not given access into the house until his lawyers arrived.

“The EFCC agents, numbering about two dozens, came in two regular vehicles, an 18-seater Toyota bus (registration Abuja CS 522 RSH) and a Hilux van.

‘’They came with a search warrant to search the house and office of Babalele and found nothing incriminating.

“They then proceeded to his office at Oakland Centre in Maitama and found nothing incriminating there. However, they took away some documents of landed property.

“Not done, the EFCC officials stormed his Wuse residence where they again found nothing incriminating after the search.

“Afterwards, Babalele was taken away to the EFCC office in Wuse to make a statement alongside Mr. Lawan Ayuba. It was gathered that the petition relied upon to invade the residence and office of Babalele was authored by a brother of the wife of President Buhari.’’




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