Arms deal: EFCC seized my SUV car, forced me to pay N40m for my release, detained Air Force Chief tells court

Detained former Air Officer in charge of Tactical Air command, Makurdi, Air Vice Marshal (AVM) Rufus Ojuawo, said the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) forced him to pay N40 million as a condition for his release.

Ojuawo, presently in confinement at House 27, Niger Barracks, Asokoro, Abuja, under the directive of the EFCC, further alleged that contrary to the position  of the anti-graft agency, he did not willingly submitted his Range Rover SUV to the commission, but it was seized from him by force.

Ojuawo, whose averrements are contained in his further affidavit in support of his fundamental rights enforcement suit pending before Justice Adeniyi Ademola of the Federal High Court, Abuja, had been in detention for over 100 days since his arrest on February 7.

He was produced in court by the anti-corruption agency last week, following an order of Justice Ademola after counsel for the detained  Air Chief, R.N. Ojabo moved an application for the enforcement of his (Ojuawo) fundamental human rights.

Until his arrest by the EFCC on February 7, at the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja, AVM Ojuawo was carrying out his duties as the Air Officer Commanding the Tactical Air Command, Nigerian Air Force, Makurdi.

He was picked while on his way to Stuttgart, Germany, on national assignment as a member of the Armed Forces delegation to United States African Command (USAFRICOM), where he was scheduled to deliver a keynote address on issues bordering on the speedy conclusion of the fight against the Boko Haram insurgency.

Since his arrest, according to his lawyer, he had been confined on the instructions of the respondent (EFCC) and he had to endure the deprivation of his personal liberty for a period of 100 days.

In his further affidavit, the detained Air Force chief accused the EFCC of distorting facts, as the Nigerian Air Force never conduct any investigation on him in which it was discovered that he was, “busy signing delivery notes for one of its contractors, Societe D’ Equipments Internationaux Nigeria Limited, represented by Mr Hima” as claimed.

Meanwhile, the contractor, Hima Abubakar, in a letter dated May 14, explained why he was unable to pay for  the house situated at NAF Valley Estate, Asokoro, which AVM OJuawo offered him at the rate of N50 million.

The lawyer told the court that at the time his client was arrested, he was not aware that his name was on watchlist and that he was restricted from foreign travels due to ongoing arms deal investigation.