The Interpol on Thursday told PREMIUM TIMES it took Nigeria’s former attorney-general, Bello Adoke, into custody.
But the international police organisation said it has no case against Mr Adoke and only carried out the arrest on behalf of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission.
“We have a red notice for him and we have instructions to arrest him upon arrival in Nigeria,” Umar Garba, head of Interpol Nigeria office, told PREMIUM TIMES Thursday evening. “We have carried out those instructions diligently and professionally.”
Mr Garba, a police commissioner, said Mr Adoke was arrested at the airport in Abuja by Interpol officers shortly after arriving on an Emirates flight from the United Arab Emirates and would be handed over to the EFCC.
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“We have been in touch with the EFCC which is the Nigerian law enforcement organisation that is interested in Mr Adoke,” Mr Garba said. “We are going to hand him over immediately after debriefing him.”
The police chief said the debriefing could be concluded as soon as Thursday evening, barring unforeseen bureaucratic hurdles.
When contacted, the EFCC spokesperson, Wilson Uwujaren, said he could not confirm whether or not Mr Adoke had been handed over to them.
Mr Adoke had been in the UAE since November 11 when he was arrested by Interpol based on the request of the Nigerian government. But for the five weeks that Mr Adoke was in UAE custody, Nigeria did not file for his extradition.
A source close to Mr Adoke told PREMIUM TIMESt that he was released to return to Nigeria on his own volition.
This newspaper has seen documents indicating he voluntarily asked to return. He even signed an undertaking that he was returning without pressure from Interpol or the Dubai police. He also bought his flight ticket and fixed the date for his travel.
Mr Adoke has been named in a $1.3 billion Malabu Oil scandal that he oversaw as Nigeria’s attorney-general between 2015 and 2015. He has maintained no wrongdoing in the deal and embarked on a self-imposed exile in October 2015 over the matter.
Italian prosecutors have already charged Shell, Agip-Eni and other foreign characters suspected of taking part in the controversial deal.
The EFCC was already prosecuting Mr Adoke and others for their alleged roles in the scandal.