The EFCC said the arrested Air Force personnel have been freed after the intervention of the leadership of the Nigerian Air Force.
The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFFC) has disclosed that it arrested six Nigerian Air Force (NAF) personnel for attempting to free suspected fraudsters in Kaduna State.
It was a dramatic scene at the Kaduna Command of the EFCC on Friday, November 17, 2023, as men of the NAF stormed the complex to free their colleagues detained by the anti-graft body.
However, the EFCC stood its ground and repelled the forceful attempt by the NAF officers.
Shedding light on the development in a statement on Friday evening, the agency’s Head of Media and Publicity, Dele Oyewale, disclosed that the detained NAF personnel were being held for a security breach at its facility.
He explained that the errant officers were subdued and detained after storming its office in an attempt to forcibly release the suspected fraudsters arrested by operatives on Monday, November 13, 2023.
He said the suspects were arrested at a residential Inn and Disney Chicken Eatery, Barnawa area of Kaduna, following credible intelligence about their alleged internet-related fraud activities.
Oyewale said, “The suspected fraudsters: Favour Itung, Rachael Ande, Zuleiman Haruna, Abubakar Ismaila and Solomon Olobatoke, were arrested without incident.
“However, after the sting operation, six military personnel who witnessed the operation at Disney Chicken Eatery, stormed the Kaduna Command and attempted to forcibly release the arrested fraud suspects. They were subdued and detained over the security breach.
“The intruders are four Air Force personnel: Lawal Abdullahi, Chukwuma Chidi “Christian, Alfa Suleiman and Emmanuel Ekwozor, and two students of Nigerian Air Force Institute of Technology, AFIT: Chidera Anuba and Joseph Tokula.”
Meanwhile, an inter-agency discussion between the leadership of the EFCC and the NAF was afoot to resolve the issue until another set of NAF personnel invaded the anti-graft agency’s office in Kaduna on Friday, leading to a breakdown in communication.
However, the two agencies were able to re-establish communication, and the detained personnel were later released on Friday evening.
“While in detention, there were inter-agency communication and discussions by the leadership of the EFCC and the Nigerian Air Force, NAF to resolve the issues.
Unfortunately, dialogue on the release of the combative Air Force personnel broke down on Friday, November 17, 2023, when some unruly NAF Officers stormed the Kaduna Command in a commando-style, to forcefully release their detained colleagues.
The EFCC exercised restraint in the face of the provocation and flagrant abuse of power. The Commission continued to engage with the leadership of the Nigeria Air Force and released the officers to the NAF Provost after they had been duly profiled,” the statement added.
The EFCC assured the public that it will continue to carry out its statutory mandate of tackling all cases of economic and financial crimes without let or hindrance.