By Chiamaka Okafor
ABUJA – The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) Wednesday evening released Willie Obiano, former governor of Anambra State, on bail
Mr Obiano’s passport was withheld as part of the bail conditions.
The ex-governor was arrested last week at the Murtala Muhammad International Airport, Lagos, as he was preparing to board a flight to Houston, the United States.
The arrest was said to have taken place at about 8.30p.m. last Thursday, hours after he left office as governor and, thus, lost his immunity from arrest and prosecution.
Mr Obiano, who had been on the EFCC’s watchlist for some time, was arrested over corruption allegations.
“Obiano was arrested for alleged misappropriation of public funds, including, N5 billion Sure-P and N37 billion security vote which was withdrawn in cash. Part of the funds was also allegedly diverted to finance political activities in the state,” EFCC’s spokesperson, Mr Uwujaren told Punch newspaper.
Both the EFCC spokesperson and the commission’s chairman, Abdulrasheed Bawa, refused to provide further details.
“I don’t know what update you want me to give, because you have been accusing us of media trials, and you want me to say we are doing this and that. No, we (EFCC) would not do that. We would continue to do our investigation professionally as we have been doing,” Mr Bawa told journalists in Abuja.
A 12-second video of Mr Obiano in EFCC custody also went viral and caused controversy. In the video, he was dressed in shorts and a white shirt, drinking water from a bottle in a closed room presumed to be in EFCC custody.
The video elicited a wide range of opinions with many Nigerians denouncing it and demanding an investigation into how such was taken and leaked from the EFCC office.
The EFCC said it has identified the officer responsible for the act and the official is currently being subjected to appropriate disciplinary action.
The EFCC had since last year placed the former governor on its watch list.
PREMIUM TIMES reported in November last year that the EFCC had in a letter to the Comptroller General of the Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS) dated November 15, 2021, requested the service to place the governor on a watchlist and inform it anytime he is travelling out of the country from any of the international airports and other points of entry and exit.
Chiamaka Okafor is a reporter at Premium Times in partnership with Report for the World, which matches local newsrooms with talented emerging journalists to report on under-covered issues around the globe.