The family and associates of the former Minister of State for Defence, Senator Musiliu Obanikoro, are intensifying efforts to raise N100m to release him from the detention of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission.
A source said the family had taken a decision that the former minister would not spend another week in the detention facility of the commission.
Obanikoro flew into the country on Monday last week and has since been held by the EFCC, whose operatives have been interrogating him in connection with N4.7bn traced to Silva Mcnanamara, a company in which, the commission says he has interests.
Babajide and Gbolahan, two of Obanikoro’s sons, were said to be directors of the company when N4.7bn was allegedly paid into the company’s accounts from the office of the National Security Adviser in 2014.
The money was said to be part of the amount earmarked to finance the June 21, 2014 Ekiti State governorship election, which Governor Ayodele Fayose won, and the November 2014 governorship poll in Osun State, which Chief Iyiola Omisore of the Peoples Democratic Party contested and lost.
Fayose, also of the PDP, defeated the then incumbent, Dr. Kayode Fayemi, of the All Progressives Congress, while Omisore lost to Governor Rauf Aregbesola, of the APC.
A family source on Sunday said members of the family were worried about the continuing detention of the minister because of his health and were moving to ensure that he did not spend beyond Tuesday (tomorrow) in detention.
“We are concerned about his health and we are not ready to see him still in detention beyond Tuesday this week. The man’s life is more important than the money they are asking him questions about,” the source stated.
The family source confirmed that the commission had given a condition to the former minister to raise N100m to get an administrative bail.
“If that is the only condition to see him out of detention for now, we are making efforts to raise that. You know the situation of the country now, but no sacrifice is too much to make him a free man again,” the source told our correspondent.
Investigation revealed that the operatives involved in the case were dissatisfied with the former minister’s explanation on how N785m was spent.
Obanikoro had said N785m was spent to procure souvenirs to promote a campaign against the Boko Haram in Lagos.
He had told his interrogators that N200m was spent on surveillance activities while another N200m and the balance of N385m were spent on logistics and operations under the supervision of the owner of McNamara, who he identified as Taiwo Kareem.
It was, however, gathered that while the EFCC did not question the claims of the ex-minister, which were backed with documentary evidence that he paid N3.88bn to Fayose and Omisore, they doubted the veracity of the claim that N785m was spent on the campaign against Boko Haram in Lagos.
The media aide to Obanikoro, Jonathan Eze, told our correspondent on the telephone on Sunday that there were expectations that the former minister would be released this week.
Eze called on the commission to release the former minister unconditionally since he came to the country on his own volition and had been cooperating with the EFCC since the commencement of the interrogation eight days ago.
He urged the anti-graft agency to arraign the former minister if that was the decision.
The ex-minister’s spokesman stated that Obanikoro sustained a spinal cord injury and was taking medication.
Eze added, “Everything about investigation and interrogation, as far as I am concerned, is not done hastily. In as much as I would want a situation whereby Oga (Obanikoro) would have been released by now, we have no choice than to just play by the rule.
“They have said it themselves that Oga is cooperating, and because they have acknowledged his cooperation, they should speed up whatever they are doing, so that Oga can go back.
Oga is not even strong, health-wise, so that he can go and take care of himself and considering the fact that he came on his own volition, without being arrested or declared wanted, I think he should be attended to fast.
“He is a senior citizen, he can’t do anything that is untoward and he will always be around. We just hope that this new week, he would be released unconditionally.”