The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) on Monday confirmed that an apartment occupied by the sons of the presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, was searched.
The building located in the Maitama area of Abuja also houses an apartment occupied by the sons of former Governor Theodore Orji of Abia State.
Report has it that the raid came following suspicion that large cache of dollars had been kept in the apartment of Aliyu and Mustapha Atiku Abubakar.
Chiemeka Orji’s apartment was reportedly also searched by the EFCC operatives.
The incident happened on Saturday, just after reports that bank accounts of Mr. Peter Obi, Atiku Abubakar’s running mate, were frozen by the EFCC.
The anti-graft (including the ICPC) had however since vehemently denied the allegations.
Chiemeka and his brother were reportedly taken into custody by the EFCC after the search. They were however immediately released after theywere questioned at the EFCC office in Abuja.
Atiku’s sons were out of town. They had already traveled out of the country for their master’s degree at some undisclosed universities abroad.
“When the EFCC officers arrived on Saturday, they met Theodore Orji’s sons at home, because they both live in the same building,” an undisclosed source told Premium Times.
“They asked to see theapartment of Aliyu and Mustapha Atiku-Abubakar but Theodore Orji’s sons refusedto show them, saying their friends are out of the country, anyway,” the source added.
“The EFCC operatives then said they have intelligence that a large cache of dollars hadbeen kept in the apartment which they had come to recover.”
“They forcibly searched the apartment, but there was no hard currency or anything that could be construed as fraudulently damning.”
Mr. Paul Ibe, Atiku’s spokesman who confirmed the raid said; “Atiku Abubakar is destined to win the 2019 presidential election, and Nigerians are set to ensure that destiny holds by voting for him en masse.”
“The actors in Buhari’s government have now realised this possibility and are gripped by the fears of Atiku Abubakar.”
“This grievous act of intimidation now has an expiry date that is dwindling faster than a twinkle,” he said.
The EFCC however denied targeting the sons of Atiku, saying specifically in its Monday statement that the raid was targeted at the sons of Ex-Governor Orji. The former governor has been under investigation over alleged corruption while in office as Governor of Abia State from 2007 to 2015.
“The recent arrest of Ogbonna Orji, son of Sen. Theodore Orji, over money laundering, has absolutely nothing to do with son of ex-VP Atiku Abubakar.
“The former Abia governor has been under investigations by the EFCC, for money laundering activities, which was discovered to have been carried out through his sons.
“The EFCC had been on the trail of cars allegedly bought by the sons, and last Friday the cars were traced to a night club in Abuja, where operatives waited patiently through the night to arrest the owners – Ogbonna and his friend, Kelvin Ilonah.
“They were arrested at about 5amon Saturday, and they led operatives to their three-flat apartment, where documents retrieved showed that it was rented at a rate of N13million perannum.
“They have so far given useful information to the EFCC, which is aiding in investigations. It should be madeclear that the EFCC never “went after” Atiku’s sons, neither was Atiku’s sonarrested by the EFCC,” the anti-graft stated on twitter.
Ex-Governor Orji in a statement issued by his aide however noted that the raid was actually targeted at Atiku’s children and not at Mr. Orji’s children as claimed by the EFCC.
Mr. Paul Ibe also reacted to thestatement issued by the EFCC, saying that; “the EFCC has seen the huge support which Nigerians showed towards the Atiku Abubakar family since the illegal and intimidating raid of Aliyu and Mustapha’s apartment was exposed. They are now tunning around to cover up their political witchhunt.”
“It is better for them to tell Nigerians that they mistakenly raided the apartment of the Atiku Abubakar’s sons while they were looking for Theodore Orji’s sons, but to outright deny going after Aliyu and Mustapha in search of imaginary dollars is uncharitable and insulting to the intelligence of Nigerians as a collective,” he said.