The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) on Friday narrated how some personnel of the Nigerian Air Force invaded its Kaduna State zonal office to release some military personnel who were arrested for internet-related fraud.
According to a release by EFCC Head, Media and Publicity, Dele Oyewale, the “intruders are; four Air Force personnel: Lawal Abdullahi, Chukwuma Chidi Christian, Alfa Suleiman and Emmanuel Ekwozor, and two students of Nigerian Air Force Institute of Technology, AFIT: Chidera Anuba and Joseph Tokula.”
The EFCC was compelled to release one serving officer of the Nigerian Army and seven Nigerian Air Force (NAF) operatives arrested for internet-related fraud.
The suspects were released after some NAF personnel stormed the Kaduna State zonal office of the anti-graft agency over the arrest of the suspects.
The military men had arrived at the EFCC office sited at Number 4, Wurno Road in the Kaduna State capital around 10am on Friday in about three Hilux patrol vans and surrounded the main gate of the anti-graft commission office thereby preventing the EFCC officials from going in or out of the office.
The suspects were earlier arrested by the Kaduna State zonal office of the EFCC on Monday and remanded in the custody of the commission for further investigation and possible prosecution.
The invasion of the NAF personnel culminated in a showdown between the Air Force personnel and EFCC security operatives, who engaged in a shouting match and threatened to pull the trigger on each other.
In a release on X Platform, the EFCC spokesman, Oyewale said, “Operatives of the Kaduna Zonal Command of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, on Monday, November 13, 2023 arrested five suspects at a residential Inn and Disney Chicken Eatery, Barnawa, Kaduna following credible intelligence about their alleged internet-related fraud activities.
Facts of the Face-off Between EFCC and NAF Officers in Kaduna
Operatives of the Kaduna Zonal Command of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, on Monday, November 13, 2023 arrested five suspects at a residential Inn and Disney Chicken Eatery, Barnawa, Kaduna… pic.twitter.com/ehzisuo3R1
— EFCC Nigeria (@officialEFCC) November 17, 2023
“The suspected fraudsters: Favour Itung, Rachael Ande, Zuleiman Haruna, Abubakar Ismaila and Solomon Olobatoke, were arrested without incident. However, after the sting operation, six military personnel who witnessed the operation at Disney Chicken Eatery, stormed the Kaduna Command and attempted to forcibly release the arrested fraud suspects.
“They were subdued and detained over the security breach. The intruders are four Air Force personnel: Lawal Abdullahi, Chukwuma Chidi Christian, Alfa Suleiman and Emmanuel Ekwozor, and two students of Nigerian Air Force Institute of Technology, AFIT: Chidera Anuba and Joseph Tokula.
“While in detention, there were inter-agency communication and discussions by the leadership of the EFCC and the Nigerian Air Force, NAF to resolve the issues. Unfortunately, dialogue on the release of the combative Air Force personnel broke down on Friday, November 17, 2023 when some unruly NAF Officers stormed the Kaduna Command in a commando-style, to forcefully release their detained colleagues.
“The EFCC exercised restraint in the face of the provocation and flagrant abuse of power. The Commission continued to engage with the leadership of the Nigeria Air Force and released the officers to the NAF Provost after they had been duly profiled.
“The EFCC wishes to assure the public that it will continue to carry out its statutory mandate of tackling all cases of economic and financial crimes, without let or hindrance.”