No less than eight former workers of the First Bank Nigeria Limited, who were arrested by the Economic and Financial Crime Commission, have made allegations against the officers.
The bankers were arrested for allegedly stealing dirty naira notes in the Central Bank of Nigeria. They have now narrated how officials of the EFCC maltreated them.
They explained that the officials maltreated them for their inability to raise N96milion in December 2014.
The affected ex-bankers are Kolawole Babalola, Olaniran Adeola, Toogun Philip, Isaq Akano, Ayodele Adeyemi, Oyebamiji Akeem, Ayodeji Aleshe and Ajiwe Adegoke.
In a separate affidavit deposited at a Federal High Court, Ibadan, Oyo State, by Ayodele Adeyemi, Isaac Akano, and Ajiwe Adegoke through the Chambers of their counsel, Barrister Micheal Lana, the defendants in the case alleged that Mr Hammadama Bello, who was asked to investigate the case, insisted that he must benefit from the bail.
He allegedly asked them to raise N96million to set them free.
According to the affidavit, the suspects told him that they didn’t benefit from the alleged dirty naira notes because they had been deposited with the CBN for over four years before the allegations.
The affidavit reads: “He told us that he was not going to prosecute anybody but if we wanted to go back to our offices that day, each of us must bring N12million each. We told him that as we stood before him, we had no money in our accounts. He asked for our bank accounts, and we gave him. Immediately, he went to check the accounts and he found that there was no money there.
“He then said he would detain us there. Upon hearing this, my manager, Mr. Emmanuel, told him that he had no money but promised to give him N500,000 and was ready to deposit his international passport. He called his wife and she brought the passport and he set him free but detained us.
“He mentioned names of those who had money in their accounts and asked them to pay. He said he had done his investigation and discovered that Messrs. Adeyemi, Akano and Aleshe have properties everywhere. As a result, he took us to Abuja and kept us in a German cell.
“We were kept in an underground cell with no windows such that one could know the difference between day or night and the heat was so unbearable that no human being can last for a month alive there. On December 23, 2014, Hammadama Bello came to us in the cell and asked us whether we wanted to be released from the hell of a dungeon in which we were and spend Christmas with our families if so we must pay N1milliom. At that time, we were ready to do anything so as not to die in that place.
“We all begged him to take N500,000 for him to at least release us to spend Christmas out of that deadly cell. He assured that there would not be prosecution because the President at that time, Goodluck Jonathan, had said the dirty money issue was more of an administrative problem of the Central Bank of Nigeria, but he at the EFCC did not have the power not to release us on bail.”
The defendants further claimed that they paid N6million to Hammadama Bello through a banker, Ademola Oni, working with Wema Bank.
“After payment of the money, Hammadama Bello and his lawyer started mounting pressure on us that if we do not want prosecution, we must pay the money. That was when we discovered that to force us to pay the N12million, he had obtained an order from the Oyo State High Court. He seized not only our properties but properties of our wives, which he rented out through an estate agent, Festus Azikagbon, and he is collecting the rent.”
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