Former Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Muhamed Adoke on Thursday afternoon arrived Nigeria after about four years of self exile abroad.
Mr Adoke who arrived Nigeria through the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, aboard an Emirates Airlines, was however arrested immediately he set foot on Nigeria’s soil.
Recall that Mr Adoke’s lawyer, Mike Ozekhome, SAN, confirmed the development in a statement in Abuja on Thursday.
Mr Adoke was arrested on Nov. 11 in Dubai by Interpol immediately he entered the country to seek medical attention.
Interpol said their action was based on an international bench warrant for Adoke’s arrest issued on April 17 by Justice Danladi Senchi of the High Court of the Federal Capital Territory, (FCT.
But Adoke had insisted his arrest in Dubai was illegal since the warrant had been vacated by the same court.
Mr Ozekhome said the former AGF opted to come back to Nigeria to enable him to clear his name in the alleged fraud in OPL 245 otherwise known as Malabu Oil deal.
“He has been released and he is airborne to Nigeria. He has been released because nothing was found against him, nothing incriminating was found. So the UAE authorities and Interpol were forced to release him.
Mr Ozekhome said Mr Adoke bought his ticket himself to return to Nigeria because he believed he was innocent of the charges against him.
“He is coming on his own volition, he was not extradited, the Federal Government could not extradite him and would even have no reason to arrest him on his arrival because the order for his arrest has been set aside by Senchi on Oct. 25,” Mr Ozekhome said.
Mr Adoke’s extradition was faced with some huddles following failure of the Federal Government to communicate with Interpol and the authorities in Dubai on the order setting aside the bench warrant for his arrest.
Senchi had on April 17 issued a bench warrant for the arrest of Adoke and other defendants in the case but vacated it on October 25 following an application made by Ozekhome to that effect.
The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, had in 2017 filed charges against Shell Nigeria Exploration Production Company Limited and 10 others, including Adoke and Nigeria Agip Exploration Limited.
EFCC in the suit marked FCT/HC/CR/124/17, accused the defendants of fraudulently allocating Oil Prospecting Licence 245 otherwise known as Malabu Oil.
They were also accused of other offences involving the sum of about 1.2 billion dollars forgery of bank documents, bribery and corruption.
The alleged 1.2 billion dollars scam involved the transfer of OPL 245 purportedly from Malabu Oil and Gas Limited to Shell Nigeria Exploration Production Co. Limited and Nigeria Agip Exploration Limited.
Already Zenchi has commenced hearing in Adoke’s motion seeking the removal of his name from the Malabu Oil scam trial.
Mr Adoke had in a motion filed by Ozekhome sought an order of the court striking out his name as a defendant in the case.
His request was predicated on the grounds that he had secured a judgment of the Federal High Court in Abuja, against the Attorney-General of the Federation, wherein he was completely exculpated with respect to the facts and circumstances relating to the scandal.
Mr Ozekhome argued that having been exonerated in the Malabu Oil scandal by Justice Binta Nyako of the Abuja Division of the Federal High Court, the inclusion of Adoke’s name as a defendant in the criminal case was erroneous.
He claimed among others that EFCC concealed the April 13, 2018 judgment by Justice Nyako in which the court held that Adoke could not be held liable for any infraction in the whole Malabu Oil saga for carrying out a presidential directive from the FCT High Court.
This, he noted is “a gross miss-statement, mis-representation, concealment and suppression of material facts” by the EFCC.