Mohammed Adoke, the former Attorney-General and Minister of Justice, who has been accused of complicity in an alleged fraud in OPL 245, otherwise known as Malabu oil deal, returned to the country and was immediately arrested by the International Police (Interpol) and detained in their custody in Abuja.
Adoke had earlier on November 11 been arrested and detained in Dubai, United Arab Emirates (UAE) by Interpol over the alleged $1.3 billion Malabu oil scandal when he visited the country to seek medical attention. In Dubai, the UAE had made him sign an undertaking to voluntarily return to Nigeria and report to the EFCC office. He had denied any wrongdoing in the deal.
The former minister had issued a statement through his counsel, Chief Mike Ozekhome (SAN) that he would arrive in Nigeria and go to the anti-graft agency office to report and that he was ready to face trial over the OPL 245 transaction.
Upon his arrival yesterday, the Interpol arrested and detained him. The head of Interpol and Commissioner of Police, Umar Garba, told reporters, “We have a red notice for him and we have instructions to arrest him. We have carried out those instructions diligently and professionally.
He confirmed that Adoke was arrested at the airport in Abuja by Interpol officers shortly after arriving on an Emirates flight from the UAE and would be handed over to the EFCC.
“We have been in touch with the EFCC which is the Nigerian law enforcement organisation that is interested in Mr. Adoke. We are going to hand him over immediately after debriefing him.”
It was gathered that for five weeks that Adoke was in UAE custody following his arrest on the request of the Nigerian government, Nigeria did not file for his extradition.
In the statement yesterday, Ozekhome said that on a clear instruction and mandate, Adoke would visit the EFCC office voluntarily to clear his name.
“Our client remains very confident that he will be vindicated in the court of law and justice at the end of the day, after a free and fair trial, devoid of the usual media trial and conviction in the public space. “
Ozekhome confirmed that his client went to Dubai for a scheduled medical check-up, and while he was undergoing immigration checks, he was informed that Interpol had a warrant to arrest him.
“He was shocked because although a High Court of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) had issued a warrant of arrest against our client on the 17th of April, 2019, following an ex parte application by the EFCC, the same court had duly vacated the said arrest warrant order on the 25th of October, 2019, following our challenge of the ex parte order, and after a robust court argument between EFCC (government) counsel and my humble self, “ he said.
According to Ozekhome, there was no existing arrest warrant on which the Interpol’s action was based. He said his client showed Interpol personnel copies of the certified court order by Justice Danlami Senchi.
“He also showed them the 17th of April, 2018, the judgment of the Federal High Court, Abuja, delivered by the Justice Binta Nyako, to the effect that our client could not be held liable for obeying lawful presidential directives on the OPL 245 transaction. The Interpol officials, however, said only the warrant of arrest was communicated to them by the Federal Government, and not any of these overriding court processes. “
Ozekhome further said that the vacation and setting aside of the warrant of arrest order made by Justice Senchi was curiously not communicated to the Interpol or the UAE authorities.
“They insisted that they could only deal with the Nigerian government, which must first communicate to them, the said vacation and setting aside of the warrant of arrest”.
Though, an official statement is yet to be issued by the EFCC if Adoke has been moved to their facility.