A former Minister of State for Defence, Senator Musiliu Obanikoro, has retrieved his passports from the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, Sunday PUNCH can report.
This is despite a directive by the Federal Government that 50 persons under investigations for fraud exceeding N50m are restricted from travelling.
An impeccable source in the EFCC told our correspondent that Obanikoro, who has an American passport and a Nigerian one, met certain conditions before his passports were returned to him.
He said, “Obanikoro was able to return over N100m out of the money he received from Dasuki. He showed genuine commitment to returning more money and assist the EFCC with investigations and his passports were returned to him.
“The fact that the commission returned the passports to him does not mean that he has been cleared.”
Obanikoro has been under investigation since 2016 for allegedly receiving N4.7bn from the embattled former National Security Adviser, Col. Sambo Dasuki (retd.), in 2014.
The former minister allegedly handed over about N1.3bn to former Governor Ayodele Fayose of Ekiti State and another N1.3bn to the then Peoples Democratic Party governorship candidate in Osun State in 2014, Senator Iyiola Omisore.
After Fayose was arrested by the EFCC last Tuesday, however, it was learnt that Obanikoro travelled to the US.
“Obanikoro travelled out on Wednesday evening, saying he wanted to go for medical treatment. He gave no date when he would return,” a source said.
The former minister, who has defected to the All Progressives Congress, had declared his intention to run for the Lagos West senatorial district election but shelved his ambition at the last minute.
Meanwhile, it was learnt that Omisore had also recovered his passport from the commission.
The former federal lawmaker was arrested by the EFCC in 2016 for allegedly receiving money from Dasuki through Obanikoro.
He subsequently returned N300m to the EFCC but his passport was seized by the commission.
Omisore had written to the EFCC, requesting that his passport be returned to him so that he could travel for medical treatment but his request was turned down.