The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has earned itself a reputation at home and abroad of being matchlessly merciless, untiringly tolerating, and rather disposed to pursue matters with harsh determination. And the latest set of individuals to be caught in its nets is no less reputable than the last – and will definitely not be the last.
Included in this group in EFCC’s eagle eyes are former Chairman of Skye Bank, Mr. Tunde Ayeni; former executive governor of Kogi State, Captain Idris Wada; retired Air Vice Marshal Salihu Atawodi, and about four others – and a serving governor who shall not be named. These have knots – to the staccato tune of 6.5 billion – to unbind before the money-police agency.
It has been alleged that the N6.5 billion fraud was masterfully executed by the terminated members of the Presidential Implementation Committee on Maritime Security (PICOMSS), a committee headed by Atawodi. Here, 4.9 billion of the 6.5 is allegedly nesting in PICOMMS accounts, under the guise of fictional projects. The remaining alleged N1.6 billion has been distributed among the serving governor – who allegedly headed the distribution of the larger pie of about N1.5 – and others.
The case of the governor is curious. He, it is said, pioneered the whole heist, leaving the others out to dry when he was elected into office. Ex-Governor Idris Wada’s inclusion is tied to a N500 million payment – out of a N2 billion+ exaggerated project – allegedly received by Mrs. Winifred Atawodi (family members are included too).
With Tunde Ayeni, Xanatos Company Limited – which he is linked with – enjoyed the disbursement of funds from PICOMMS, funds that yielded unreasonably vast profits to Xanatos and the others of its ilk.
AVM Atawodi – second to the serving governor – is getting most of the attention, however. The allegations have him sharing the funds – and EFCC’s glare – with the wife and kids.
At the moment, bank accounts have been closed, lands and properties have been seized, and folks are in danger of spending a decade or two holidaying in Kirikiri – that’s how some media eyes and mouths would have it.