eputy Senate President, Dr Ike Ekweremadu, yesterday, visited the detained former ministers of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Aviation and Defence, Senator Bala Mohammed, Femi Fani-Kayode and Musiliu Obanikoro as well as the former special adviser to President Goodluck Jonathan, Reuben Abati at the Abuja custody of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).
The quartet are all chieftains of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), the Deputy Senate President’s party. A source at the commission disclosed that Ekweremadu arrived the cell at about 5.10pm in the company of a Deputy Director in the EFCC.
When contacted, one of his aides confirmed that his boss was at the EFCC. But, EFCC spokesman, Wilson Ewujare said he had no knowledge of the visit.
However, the EFCC source insisted Ekweremadu briefly had a chat with Obanikoro, Mohammed, Abati and Fani-Kayode and urged them to remain committed to ideals that would help grow the nation’s democracy.
“He encouraged them to continue to pray for the good of our country,” the source said. He further stressed “ Ekweremadu didn’t tell anybody, but I think a visit of this nature has a hidden agenda. It may be as a result of the so called illness of Fani-Kayode or simply to solidarise with his party members”.
Abati, a former presidential spokesman and Bala Mohammed were arrested last Monday.
While EFCC sources claim Abati is held over alleged N50 million he received from the embattled former Natioal Security Adviser, Sambo Dasuki. Mohammed is detained in connection with the controversial land swap programme estimated at N1 trillion and alleged phony contracts awarded to family members, cronies and fictitious companies .
EFCC sources said the agency was acting on petitions from the public about how he allegedly sold government land to some individuals and collected payment in cash.
Fani-Kayode, who was rearrested on October 21 and will be arraigned on November 10, is accused of money laundering. Fresh charges against him were filed before the Federal High Court in Abuja.
Before now, he was standing trial before the Lagos Division of the Federal High Court on a 17-count charge alongside former Finance Minister, Nenadi Usman, Danjuma Yusuf and a firm, Joint Trust Dimension Nig. Ltd.
Obanikoro, ex-minister of state for Defence, is held over alleged N4.7 billion traced to firms linked to him. The money is traced to the controversial $2.1 billion arms deal money.
Meanwhile, EFCC has granted Abati administrative bail. Abati was quizzed, for allegedly receiving some money from Dasuki.
As part of his bail condition, Abati is “to provide a surety who must be a serving director with landed property in Abuja. Other conditions attached to the bail include seizure of his passport by the court pending the period of his trial.”
As at yesterday night, Abati was yet to fulfill the bail conditions and still in EFCC custody.