My son-in-law gave Obasanjo Library N50m, says Atiku

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A SON-IN-LAW of former Vice President Atiku Abubakar gave $140,000  (N50 million) to the Olusegun Obasanjo Library, the ex-VP’s Media Office said on Monday.

According to a statement, the Atiku Media Office said Mr. Babalele Abdullahi facilitated the donation as part of a plan to support institutions promoting peace in the country.

It said donations to institutions set up to promote peace in Nigeria and Africa should be commended and not criminalised.

The ex-VP’s office was responding to a story exclusively published on Monday by The Nation that operatives of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) visited the Obasanjo Library on August 8 as part of investigation into the receipt of $140,000 by an official of the Presidential Library.

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The money was suspected to be a source of money laundering and illegal cash used to corrupt some officials to influence the 2019 elections.

Babalele is being investigated with others for allegedly laundering 150 million euros.

One of those under probe is an Atiku associate and lawyer, Mr. Uyi Giwa-Osagie.

About  67, 950,000 of the suspected 150 million euros was traced to Osagie’s and Babalele’s accounts, two slush firms and two Bureau De Change operators.

Of the 67.9 million euros, Uyi’s account was credited with 26,050,00 million euros between January 9 and 28, 2019.

Babalele is expected to account for 41,900,000 euros.

Out of the cash credited to Babalele, he gave about N50million ($140,000) to his childhood friend, Bashir Mohammed to take to an official of  ex-President Olusegun Obasanjo Presidential Library in Abeokuta.

The EFCC is investigating why the $140,000 was taken to the library, making its detectives to visit the Library in company of Bashir.

The Atiku Media office said: “Yes, he (Abdullahi) did facilitate a donation of fifty million naira to the Olusegun Obasanjo Presidential Library, but so did many other individuals, including civic-minded traditional rulers, state Governors, bankers and captains of industry.

“For the avoidance of doubt, Mallam Abdullahi’s donation of fifty million naira was made via a bank transfer, in full compliance with the law.

“He did not donate or make any payment in cash, as the EFCC is erroneously and salaciously misleading the public. Furthermore, the sources of these funds are completely legitimate and have been conclusively proven to the EFCC.

“It is instructive to note that even the EFCC has not once claimed these funds to be the proceeds of any illegal activity whatsoever”, Atiku said

Presidential libraries in America and other parts of the world are similarly funded by donations from civic-minded individuals”, the statement said, accusing the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari of hatching plots to rope ex-President Olusegun Obasanjo into a crime in a bid to silence him.

“Yes, he did facilitate a donation of fifty million naira to the Olusegun Obasanjo Presidential Library, but so did many other individuals, including civic-minded traditional rulers, state Governors, bankers and captains of industry. This is because the Olusegun Obasanjo Presidential Library is a non-governmental organization that plays a pivotal role in promoting peace and stability in Nigeria, and that should be applauded. “Unlike another past leader, who did not improve himself or Nigeria after leaving office, but sat down nursing grudges and plotting revenge, former President Olusegun Obasanjo improved himself and Nigeria by authoring books, founding international think tanks and engaging in peace and capacity building efforts.

“Donations to institutions set up to promote peace in Nigeria and Africa are to be commended, not criminalized. Presidential libraries in America and other parts of the world are similarly funded by donations from civic-minded individuals.

“For the avoidance of doubt, Mallam Abdullahi’s donation of N50m was made via a bank transfer, in full compliance with the law. He did not donate or make any payment in cash, as the EFCC is erroneously and salaciously misleading the public.”

The statement said the sources of the donation were legitimate and proven to EFCC.

It added: “Furthermore, the sources of these funds are completely legitimate and have been conclusively proven to the EFCC. It is instructive to note that even the EFCC has not once claimed these funds to be the proceeds of any illegal activity whatsoever.

“The truth is that there is desperation on the part of the current administration to rope in former President Olusegun Obasanjo into a crime as a way of silencing his voice, which they see as the preeminent critical voice against the misrule that they have foisted on Nigerians.

“This is why they asked the Federal Inland Revenue Service to falsely and libelously include his name in a published list of tax evaders, along with the names of other Peoples Democratic Party sympathizers, such as prominent international singer and pride of Nigeria, Davido, who played a prominent role in PDP’s gubernatorial campaign in Osun state, for which he is being punished.

“We are therefore calling on Nigerians to be watchful for false and misleading stories planted in the media by the EFCC against Atiku Abubakar, former President Olusegun Obasanjo and other persons deemed to be opponents of this government.

“Let it be known that former President Olusegun Obasanjo established the EFCC to be an investigative body and not a propaganda or enforcement arm of the ruling party, as it is now being misused.

“May we also add that whenever the EFCC wish to come up with mischief, they fly their kite in The Nation This is now a pattern. It should be clear to Nigerians that the Presidency, APC, the EFCC, The FIRS and The Nation are now working together as five fingers of the same leprous hands.”

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