President Muhammadu Buhari ordered the arrest of a key member of the panel investigating the mismanagement of public funds meant for the war against Boko Haram after receiving damning reports that he was involved in alleged money laundering and illegal possession of firearms, reliable security and presidency sources have toldPREMIUM TIMES.
Despite being his close ally and loyalist, Mr. Buhari okayed the arrest of Mohammed Umar, after perusing reports alleging that the retired Air Force officer ran a blackmailing and extortion cartel, officials said.
Mr. Umar was arrested last week as operatives of the State Security Service (SSS) raided his Abuja home.
Those familiar with the matter said before moving against the retired officer, the Director General of the SSS, Lawal Daura, met with Mr. Buhari where he tabled reports suggesting that the panel member had been busy using the name of the president and other top officials of the administration to intimidate, extort and blackmail individuals and businesses.
“The president became worried and jittery when he was confronted with the way a man he trusted had been behaving,” a presidency source said. “So he ordered that he should be picked up while the allegations against him are thoroughly investigated.”
Security sources told this newspaper that documents seized from Mr. Umar’s residence during a raid on June 19 included classified documents from the president’s office, details of government transactions from the Central Bank of Nigeria, and details of bank transactions belonging to the Office of the National Security Adviser.
A document containing details of disbursements made to the Nigerian armed forces and security agencies was also recovered during the raid.
Mr. Umar retired as an air commodore in the Nigerian Air Force in January 2014. While in service, he headed the Air Force’s Holding Company as well as the Air Force Properties Limited.
Other properties seized from the retired officer’s home during the raid includes 13 luxury cars – One Range Rover, two Rolls Royce, two Bentleys, one BMW 7-series, one Mercedes 5550, one Lexus Sports, one Audi R8 and one Porsche Panamera GTs.