EFCC arrests Air force General at the Airport on his way to the US for a Meeting

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission has arrested a serving senior officer of the Nigerian Air Force in connection with the $2.1bn arms purchase scandal.

It was learnt that the officer, Air Vice Marshal R.A. Ojuawo, was arrested by operatives of the EFCC at the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja, on his way out of the country.

 source, who spoke on condition of anonymity on Tuesday, said Ojuawo was arrested while accompanying the Chief of Defence Staff, Gen. Gabriel Olonisakin, to a meeting of the United States Africa Command in Germany on Sunday.

The source said, “The event, which they were going to attend, was about the activities of the military in the fight against insurgency. AVM Ojuawo was the one that was supposed to deliver the keynote address on behalf of the Nigerian Air Force.

“However, a team of EFCC detectives stormed the airport and refused to allow him travel. All the senior military officers present pleaded with the detectives but they refused to listen. We explained to them that we had invested a lot of time and energy in putting together the report that Ojuawo was supposed to present.

“The Air Force had done feasibility studies on how to rehabilitate Internally Displaced Persons and was going to present the report in Germany.

“We promised them that immediately we were done with the event, Ojuawo would return and visit the EFCC but the detectives said he was a flight risk. How could he flee when he was in the entourage of the CDS?”

It was learnt that Ojuawo had been invited by the commission a few weeks ago and had even visited the Idiagbon House headquarters of the anti-graft agency, where he was interrogated alongside the immediate past CDS, Air Chief Marshal Alex Badeh (retd.), and was allowed to go.

According to a source in the NAF, Ojuawo was the Director of Operations when Badeh was the Chief of Air Staff.

However, the Director of Information, Defence Headquarters, Brig.-Gen. Rabe Abubakar, said he was not aware of such incident.

The defence spokesman said the EFCC had a good relationship with the military, adding that such an incident was unlikely.

“I am not aware of the incident. It is unlikely that such a thing would happen without my knowledge. My deputy was part of the entourage and he never informed me of such an incident.

“We support the anti-corruption war as patriotic Nigerians and we will not hide such information,” the Defence spokesman stated.

The spokesperson for the EFCC, Mr. Wilson Uwujaren, said he could not confirm the story, stressing that he could not say if the senior Air Force officer was in the custody of the agency.

“I cannot confirm if he was arrested or not. I don’t know if he’s in custody,” he said on the telephone on Tuesday.