How Dangote used EFCC to swindle Nigeria banks of over N400billion

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More revealing details into the dealings of the federal government during the 2nd term of the Olusegun Obasanjo regime has begun to find its way into the open fora. And this is particular to the manner the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission [EFCC] under the Nuhu Ribadu's era was utilized as a harassment tool by Aliko Dangote against perceived emergence of southern politicians, and as a swindling tool against many of the banks in Nigeria being investigated by the EFCC. Information available to indicates that Aliko Dangote collected over N400billion from a consortium of Banks in Nigeria, as a result of his control of EFCC.

According to the information, Aliko Dangote, the business mogul and political power broker was said to come to the center stage of national power game following the falling-out between Obasanjo and his deputy, Abubakar Atiku in early 2002. This enabled Dangote the unfettered use of the EFCC. Aliko Dangote, as the sole dominant force in the Obasanjo 2nd term regime resulted in his near absolute control of Nuhu Ribadu as the EFCC Chairman. Additionally, as Atiku's power was doused and as Dangote took control of the financial dealings of the government, the ground became ripe for the mischief that ensued.

How it worked was that the EFCC would investigate financial banks and Dangote would move in to rescue the bank from the possible arrest by EFCC. In turn, Dangote would be rewarded by award of loans. So when banks which the EFCC are investigating for financial crimes are panicked by the possible threat of arrest because of what the EFCC may uncover, as gathered, would either be approached by Dangote or Dangote would be approached by the bank. Dangote would promise the bank that he will smoothen the matter with the EFCC. In turn, the bank will approve very questionable loans for Aliko Dangote in the billions of Naira. This exercise will occur repeatedly until it became common practice for the two entities involved in the scheme. Within the four years that Dangote held sway at the realm of power, gathered that he was able to amass over N400billion in loans from banks - banks which he rescued out of the “supposed” preying fangs of the EFCC. In the words of one source within Dangote's corporation while explaining why the banks have not moved against Dangote, he stated “I go pay, no dey go jail”.

Dangote's use of EFCC and Nuhu Ribadu stretches beyond that of Banks. It extends to fellow business colleagues and politicians. Of particular note is the arrest of the CEO of Ibeto Holdings – an importer of cement. Ibeto was arrested in mid-2008 over a failed business deal. According to the information made available to, a southwestern business man had handed Ibeto N300million for the importation of cement prior to Ibeto's license being cancelled via the influence of the Aliko Dangote/Andy Uba political power block. Through the cancellation of the importation license, Ibeto failed to deliver on the deal. As a result, Dangote instructed the EFCC to affect the arrest of Ibeto. Dangote's instruction for Ibeto's arrest came on the heels of Ibeto's license being returned to him. Dangote struck to halt the re-emergence of Ibeto as a potential competitor.

Politically, Dangote did not spare his opponents via the use of the EFCC. He showed no mercy to his perceived political opponents in the manner he truncated their political careers. His master stroke was most evident with the handing of Peter Odili's effort at mounting a presidential campaign within the Peoples Democratic Party [PDP] in 2006 political season. This was as then Governor of River State, Peter Odili prepped to step into the shoes of the vice presidential slot to supplement the Yar'dua ticket - before the choice of having Goodluck Jonathan step into the vice presidential slot was made. But the decision to replace Peter Odili with Goodluck Jonathan did not come till Aliko Dangote weighed in on the matter. In Aliko Dangote's take, Peter Odili came across as somewhat powerful and to some extent independent enough to pose a worry to Aliko Dangote who was interested in maintaining his power over the presidency. Worried that Peter Odili may not play ball, he called for his file at the EFCC. The then Chairman of EFCC, Nuhu Ribadu took up the instruction as handed by Dangote and began compiling the laundry list of possible financial crimes of the then Gov. Peter Odili. With the completion of Peter Odili's financial crimes compilation, Peter Odili was approached and handed the file. In thus, he was served a caustic blackmail that he found too difficult to wiggle out of. Peter Odili was then asked to back out of his quest to fill the vice presidential slot. And Peter Odili made the choice to back out.

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