A federal high court in Lagos has ordered the arrest of Ayodele Oke, former director-general of the National Intelligence Agency (NIA), and Folashade, his wife.
The court issued a bench warrant for arrest of the duo on Thursday after they failed to appear before it for arraignment.
Chukwujekwu Aneke, the judge, had directed that the duo be arrested anywhere they are sighted across the world.
“I have carefully considered the oral application for the arrest of the person mentioned herein, and I am convinced beyond reasonable doubt that the said application is meritorious,” he held.
“Accordingly the application is hereby granted as prayed. It is hereby ordered that Ambassador Ayedele Oke and wife, Folasade Oke, should be arrested anywhere they are been sighted in the world.”
Oke and his wife are facing a four-count charge bordering on money laundering offence to the tune of N13 billion.
One of the counts reads: “That you, Amb. Ayodele Oke, and Mrs. Folasade Ayodele Oke on or about the 12th day of April 2017 in Lagos concealed the sum of $43,449,947,000 property of the Federal Government of Nigeria in Flat 7B, No. 16 Osborne Road, Osborne Towers, Ikoyi Lagos which sum you reasonably ought to have known formed part of proceeds of an unlawful act to wit: criminal breach of trust and you thereby committed an offence contrary to Section 15 (2) (a) of the Money Laundering (Prohibition) (Amendment) Act 2012 and punishable under Section 15(3) of the same Act.”
Another count reads: “That you, Amb. Ayodele Oke and Mrs. Folasade Ayodele Oke between 25th day of August 2015 and 2nd day of September 2015 in Lagos, within the jurisdiction of this court directly converted $160,777,136.85 property of the Federal Government of Nigeria to your own use which sum you reasonably ought to have known formed part of proceeds of an unlawful act to wit: criminal breach of trust and you thereby committed an offence contrary to Section 15 (2) (d) of the Money Laundering (Prohibition) (Amendment) Act 2012 and punishable under Section 15(3) of the same Act.”
The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) had filed the charges against them in connection with the $43 million, £27,000 and N23 million discovered in April 2017.
The NIA had claimed ownership of the funds, saying they were part of “covert intelligence operations” but there was public outcry that it was a case of looting.
Shortly after it was announced that the EFCC had charged Oke to court, a source revealed that the spy chief and his wife had left the country.
They were said to have gone to an European country“for medical reasons”.
Sources in the intelligence community revealed that subjecting Oke to open trial might compromise the nation’s security operations.
The case has been adjourned till March 8, 2019 for report on the arrest.