Indicted ex-NIA chief, Ayo Oke, flies out of the country ahead of EFCC’s trial

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Oke, who was to be arraigned along with his wife by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) on Friday, reportedly left the country last week.

Oke was said to have gone to a European country “for medical reasons,” which means he may not be available for the arraignment.

It will be recalled that the  EFCC had in April 2017, discovered $43 million, £27,000 and N23 million stashed in a flat in Ikoyi after a tip-off from a whistle blower.

The discovery was followed by reports that the monies belonged to the NIA, the agency claimed to have collected $289,202,382 in cash for special operations from the account of the National Petroleum Investment Management Services (NAPIMS) at the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) in February 2015.

According to the NIA, the funds were part of “covert intelligence operations,” but the public reaction was that the money was looted.

Sequel to this, the federal government set up a three-man panel headed by Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo, which indicted Oke and recommended his immediate dismissal.

Osinbajo had recently said criminal allegations would be filed against Oke and Babachir Lawal, former secretary to the government of the federation, following a directive from President Muhammadu Buhari.

Meanwhile, sources in the intelligence community has expressed concerns that subjecting Oke to open trial might compromise the nation’s security operations.

“Most of the projects financed by NIA from the funds are aimed at gathering intelligence and these things are usually done through cash transactions. Government might have succumbed to public sentiments to treat it as a crime, but there will be dire consequences for the nation’s security operations,” the source added.

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