Why Former Anambra state governor Willie Obiano was arrested

Willie Obiano, former Anambra state governor, tried to use a court order to stop his arrest at the Murtala Muhammed International Airport in Lagos on Thursday.

Obiano, who ended his tenure on Wednesday with the inauguration of Chukuwuma Soludo, had been placed on a watchlist by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) since November 2021.

TheCable learnt that as the inauguration of Solodu was going on, a private jet was waiting at the newly opened Anambra International Cargo Airport, Awka, for the former governor.

Around 3pm, he left for the airport and flew to Lagos state on his way out of the country.

He was believed to be heading to the US.

However, while he was going through immigration formalities, officials of the Department of State Services (DSS) informed him that there was an instruction to stop, arrest and hand him over to the EFCC.

At this point, Obiano reportedly reached for his bag and produced a court order stopping the EFCC from arresting him.

TheCable could not confirm if the EFCC was aware of this order.

The DSS officials were said to have advised Obiano to present the order to the anti-graft agency instead.

The secret police immediately informed EFCC officials who were on hand to take him into custody.

It was the end to a dramatic day in the life of the former banker, whose wife was apparently slapped by Bianca Ojukwu at the inauguration.

Initial reports had said his wife, Ebelechukwu, slapped the widow of the late Igbo leader but a video later emerged appearing to show that the assailant was Ojukwu.

In September 2021, the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Anambra had asked the anti-graft agency to probe the finances of the state in order to unearth “monumental deception”.

Basil Ejidike, Anambra APC chairman, had alleged that Obiano was “fraudulently” using the state’s security vote.

But reacting to the development, Don Adinuba, the state commissioner for information at the time, said the issue between the governor and the EFCC was masterminded by persons in high places who “unsuccessfully canvassed for emergency rule” in the state during the build-up to the November 2021 governorship election.

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