3 Arrested Dismissed Air Force Personnel Confesses How They Invaded EFCC Chairman, Magu's Farm In Search Of Dollars, Killed Policeman on Duty
Three dismissed Air Force personnel have narrated the role they played during the raid of a farm said to belong to the acting Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Ibrahim Magu in December 2017.
The suspects who were identified as Awua Theophanous, Sunday Paul and Vincent Michael were alleged to have invaded the farm based on a tip-off by a civilian that a container load of foreign currencies was buried in the septic tank in the farm.
That invasion led to the death of one of the policemen guarding the farm, which is located in Karachi area of Abuja. The three military men and their civilian informants, Franklin Ochife, Omikpa Inanegwu and one Casidi were said to have fled the scene as soon as they realized that the nearest police station had been alerted.
Hoping that it was the usual armed robbers, the Inspector General of Police deployed detectives attached to Intelligence Response Team (IRT) led By DCP Abba Kyari to trail and arrest the culprits. Eye witnesses, which include those who were on duty on the day of the attack told the investigating officers that they were attacked by five armed men who were in mufti.
In the course of investigation, the detectives were able to figure out that amongst the five suspected armed men were three military men who were all serving Air Force personnel.
Saturday Sun learnt that the three military men were later dismissed and handed over to the police for further investigation when it was confirmed that they actually entered that farm at the time of the attack. Also arrested were their informants Ochife and Inanegwu while Casidi is still on the run.
I thought I saw a truckload of money
One of their alleged informants, Ochife who hails from Otukpo in Benue State said that he was convinced that the truck that entered Magu’s farm had huge money inside it. “I am a construction worker and I reside in Karachi area of Abuja. On my way to work, I normally pass through his farm and it was sometime in November 2017, that one man known as Peter who was carrying me on his motorcycle drew my attention to a truck carrying a container. He told me that this was not the first time and that they normally empty the content inside the septic tank. He further convinced me that the contents were money because those who are working there are not allowed to make use of any toilet in the compound.
“We agreed that since the whistleblowing saga was reigning, we should use the same process and make good money. Ten per cent is a lot of money if we find a container load, no matter the currency. I contacted my friend Inanegwu and he advised me not to tell EFCC because they will surely protect their boss.
“We decide to use the military, hoping that when they discover the money, they will tell the world and government will acknowledge our work and we will be paid. Inanegwu invited one Casidi and three Air Force personnel. We had a meeting at Maraba and after the meeting, I took them to the farm and we drove around and decided that we will go back the next day,” he stated.
At about 6 pm the next day, the group stormed the farm and tied up some of the workers who were at the farm. “We came with two vehicles, while the okada man pretended as if he was looking for a customer by driving around the area, my job was to stay at the gate and alert them if anyone was approaching. They started digging up all the septic tanks and had just finished digging up the first one when Peter, the Okada man called me. He asked us to leave the farm immediately, that one of the policemen who was not on ground when we arrived was on his way to the police station to report them. He confirmed that he saw us but decided to run since military personnel were with us.
“I alerted them and fled before they could even come outside. I was scared because we wanted to steal the money instead of alerting government. It was the next day that I learnt that one of the policemen guarding the farm was shot dead. I called Inanegwu and asked him what happened inside there; he said that they only shot the policeman’s leg to scare him. He assured me that the policeman was alive when they left. Weeks later, I was on my way to work, when policemen in a bus stopped and arrested me. I was about to ask them what my crime was when I saw Inanegwu inside the bus. I knew that we were in trouble. My only wish was to get the 10 per cent but they convinced me that I will get more money”, he said.
On his part, Inanegwu, 35, said that they only wanted to be sure that there was money in the farm before contacting the police or Department of State Security (DSS). “I am a businessman and schooling at National Open University (NOUN). Although the economy is not good, I make enough money to take care of myself and family. I was satisfied with what I make till in November 2017 when, I received a call from Ochife who told me that there was a container filled with foreign currency. I did not believe it but he kept disturbing me that he saw them bury the money. I knew that if we alert the police, the ten per cent that will be given to the whistleblower will not be enough to go round all those who knew about it already. I contacted my friend Awua who is an Air Force personnel, and one Michael and Casidi was also invited. The plan was to secure the place so that the authority will come and see the money. If the money was there, the plan was to take a little from it before alerting the DSS. Awua said he also has another Air Force personnel, Paul who will be willing to join if we are sure that money could be found. On December 12, 2017, we went to the compound and the security men including a policeman asked us to get out of the compound. At that point, Casidi and the military boys over powered them and tied them up. They shot into the air to show that we were serious.
We broke the first septic tank and discovered that it was empty. We were about opening the second one when I received a call from Ochife that we should leave there immediately. While we were leaving, we took the two rifles on the ground and left. The plan was to sell them and make money since we did not find anything. I did not know that the policeman died till Ochife called to inform me. I went into hiding because, I know that if they catch me, I will not come out alive since a policeman died. Months later, I returned to Abuja and was on my way back from church when I was arrested. I never knew they were still looking for me.”
We went to confirm their claim but…
One of the dismissed Air force personnel, Theophanous Awua, said he went with one of his colleagues to confirm if the claim of his friend was true. “I am 27 and from Gboko in Benue state. I was enlisted in 2012 and I was a corporal serving at the logistic department of the Defence Headquarters Abuja. Sometime in 2017, Inanegwu met me at a restaurant inside the barracks where I was drinking and informed me that there was a farm where they rear cows. He claimed that he saw stolen money buried in the farm that he wanted to blow the whistle but does not have anyone who can ensure that he gets his ten per cent.
“I didn’t know that the farm he was talking of belongs to the EFCC Chairman. On December 12, 2017, I was called to rectify an electrical fault in the office and while I was working, a Brigadier General came in and said that he wanted someone to accompany him to the office of the EFCC to dispatch a letter. The Chief Clark called Sergeant Sunday Paul, who is a friend and asked him to follow the Brigadier General to the office. I called Sergeant Paul and I told him that one Inenagwu told me about a farm where money was kept and I said he should enquire how the whistleblowing works. As soon as he returned he told me that when he spoke with an official of the EFCC about the whistleblowing policy, he said he was advised to make sure that the allegation that money is kept in that farm is confirmed.
“To be sure, I decided to get to the farm and confirm. Inenagwu took us and two other persons to the site. I was shocked that as soon as we got there the other Air Force personnel who joined us started harassing the people in the farm. They overpowered everybody and tied them up. I was shocked and scared because I knew that the gunshot will attract policemen and I don’t want trouble. I hoped that we would have sneaked in and out of the place. I immediately dragged Sergeant Paul out of there and we went back to the office.
“It was when our provost department came and arrested me that I got to know that a policeman was killed in the process. I had no intention to steal and God knows that if I knew that the farm belongs to EFCC chairman, I will never step into that premises. I was hoping that when he collects the ten per cent, he will give me a part of it.”
On the alleged role he played, Michael, 26, said that he was convinced by his friend Casidi that a politician buried money in his farm. “I am happily married with two kids. I was a personnel of the Nigerian Air Force and was serving at the School of Music before I was arrested and dismissed.
I was at my duty post in Kano State when Casidi who is my childhood friend called and pleaded with me to come to Abuja. He said that one politician buried huge money inside the septic tank in his farm. I told him of the dangers of being caught and he assured me that it is stolen money that the owner will not even report the case because he will need to explain the source of money. He assured me that they had contacted two of my colleagues in Abuja who will also join us.
On the 11th of December 2017, I came to Abuja with him and we slept in Inanegwu’s house. The next day we went to the place and we met the policemen, we overpowered them and tied them up. We were still breaking the septic tank when Paul and Awua decided to leave. They said that the force we used to overpower the security men will attract attention.
I stayed back with Casidi but we had to run when Inenagwu alerted us that several policemen were on their way to the farm. We all ran away and I went back to Kano. Casidi assured me that there was no need to hide as the police did not find anyone at the site.”
Credit: Ifeanyi Okolie