The Federal Government has directed the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) and other security agencies to arrest the immediate past Comptroller-General of the Nigerian Customs Service (NCS), Alhaji Abdullahi Dikko, anywhere he may be found.
It was reported that the EFCC had on Saturday, trailed the ex-customs boss to Dubai in the United Arab Emirates, and a high-powered delegation of top operatives of the anti-graft commission are planning to travel outside the country for a mission connected with the on-going investigation.
The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) yesterday also invited some senior military officers in the Procurement Unit at the Defense Headquarters, Abuja to give more details about the purchase of some arms meant to fight Boko Haram in the country.
“We (EFCC) and other security agencies have just received a directive from the presidency to do everything possible to arrest former Comptroller-General of the Nigerian Customs Service (NSC), Alhaji Abdullahi Dikko, wherever he may be. And this must be done in the next few days or weeks.
“I think the directive is urgent and necessary in view of the weighty financial fraud levelled against him. And the federal government appears to be in hurry to get to the root of the matter and possibly recover the money from him,” an EFCC operative said.
On Friday, at about 10am, EFCC operatives in two buses had stormed Dikko’s residence at Jabi in Abuja and conducted a thorough search. Sources within the anti-graft agency said the search took several hours and only ended at about dusk. However, the agents did not meet the ex-customs boss at home. Reports say Dikko had left the shores of the country after he voluntarily resigned as Comptroller-General of Customs in August last year, and is yet to come back to the country.
The EFCC was reported to be looking for huge amounts of money, in dollars, believed to be stashed in a residential building owned by the former customs chief. It was not clear whether the EFCC had eventually found anything incriminating in Dikko’s residence.
Dikko was the Comptroller-General of the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) from 26, August 2009 to August 17, 2015 when he voluntarily resigned. Colonel Hameed Ibrahim Ali (rtd), a one-time military administrator of Kaduna State, was appointed to succeed him, following Dikko’s resignation.
There were allegations of corruption against him by groups, which said he did not manage the Customs well, close to the end of his tenure.
One of the groups, the Nigerian Customs Transparency Initiative (NCTI), had sent a petition to the Independent Corrupt Practices and other related offences Commission (ICPC) and the EFCC.
It had accused Dikko of abusing his office, adding that some containers disappeared from some port terminals without trace during his tenure.
The NCTI also claimed that the conditions, on which the Customs, under Dikko’s supervision, spent N3.5bn to upgrade the service’s Internet facilities, were not transparent and must be investigated.