Nigeria’s former chief spymaster, Ayodele Oke, can finally put an end to the six-year-long legal wrangle that has surrounded him. As President Muhammadu Buhari neared the end of his tenure as Nigeria’s 15th Head of State, he faced the task of resolving the contentious case involving Ayodele Oke, who held a prominent position in the country’s intelligence community.
The controversy stemmed from the discovery of $43 million, 27 thousand pounds, and N23 million, believed to belong to the National Intelligence Agency (NIA), at an apartment on Osborne Road in Ikoyi, Lagos, leading to Oke’s removal as NIA chief and subsequent legal proceedings to determine his involvement in the matter.
The case triggered a significant interagency crisis, with NIA operatives and prosecutors from the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) engaging in tense confrontations, including drawing guns on each other at times. These incidents created embarrassing diplomatic incidents near the residence of the NIA Director General in the Asokoro District of the Federal Capital Territory.
After five years of meticulous investigation, a breakthrough occurred in March of this year when the current Director-General of the NIA, Ahmed Abubakar, and Abdul Rasheed Bawa, the former chairman of the EFCC, reached an agreement. They jointly decided to terminate the case in the interest of national security, particularly as the funds in question had already been fully forfeited to the government.
Subsequently, on June 9, 2023, the EFCC took the matter to the Federal High Court in Ikoyi, where Justice Chukwujekwu Aneke presided. It was Justice Aneke who, back in March 2019, had issued an arrest warrant for Ayodele Oke and his wife, Folashade. However, during the recent court proceedings, the EFCC officially withdrew the case, and Justice Aneke, in light of the lack of objection from the defense team led by Kayode Ajulo of the Castle of Law Chambers, struck out the case.
With the termination of the legal battle, Ayodele Oke can now move forward, leaving behind the controversies that have plagued him for the past six years.