Shortly after the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC)
released me from detention last week Tuesday, I said I was going to tell
the story of my arrest especially against the backdrop of the claim by
the anti-graft agency that I was arrested on ‘’offences bordering on
cyber stalking.’’ Today, I am keeping to that pledge and stating details
of all that transpired from my arrest, detention, eventual release and
what lies ahead.
How It All Began
At about 7.30am on Monday, 8th August, 2016 I heard a knock on the door
of my residence in Kubwa, Abuja. I was actually still in bed at the
time, so my wife had to attend to the door. Moments later, she came to
the bedroom to tell me that there are two men at the front door asking
to see me. She also stated that she was unsettled by their disposition.
As my wife and two children were in the house, I had no other option
than to go to the door and see what the men wanted.
Initially, I moved to the Living Room, and attempted to speak to them
through the window closest to the door. “Who are you?” and “What can I
do for you?” I asked. The men responded saying that they wanted to see
the documents for the Toyota Corrolla car that was parked outside my
house. They claimed that there were issues with the car. At this point, I
noticed that one of the men had crept to the back of the house –
seemingly to ensure that I did not escape. This immediately led me to
believe that this unwelcome visitation had nothing to do with the car.
Thinking about my next steps, I went back into the room, asked my wife
to get the car documents, then I called my next-door neighbour to inform
him of the development and the presence of the at-the-time yet-to-be
identified men that were in front of my house. I asked him to please
come and serve as a witness, as I did not believe their story.
Unbeknownst to me, he was already observing the events, as he had
noticed the men creeping around the house for quite some time. My
neighbour then came out of the house, which made me feel safe enough to
do the same.
It was at this point that the men revealed their identities as police
officers on the trail of a stolen Toyota Corrolla car. They said a man
had claimed ownership of the car, and they wanted to verify his claim.
We were in the middle of this discussion when a Toyota Hilux truck with
Police numbering and carrying two heavily armed policemen drove into the
When my wife came out of the house with the original car papers, one of
the police officers flipped through the pages, stepped aside to place a
phone call to a person that he claimed was his ‘Oga’, then came back
into the compound to tell me that the car owner was on his way with his
own original documents. We all agreed to wait to verify which of the
‘original’ documents were in fact ‘original’.
A few minutes later, a white Bus with two armed policemen and two men in
casual dressing drove into the premises and told the other officers
that they could now start their work. While we were still at this, one
of my neighbours informed me that there was another armed officer
stationed outside the compound. It was also at this point that I got to
know that some of the men present were in fact EFCC operatives who had
passed the night in a nearby estate – simply to ensure that they kept a
close tab on my activities. Another of the men had earlier revealed to
me that they had been on my trail describing the car I drove, the
clothes that I wore and the places I visited three days preceding my
arrest. They actually stalked me for several days prior to my arrest.
At this point, I requested that the men formally identify themselves,
and one of them told me that he was an EFCC operative with a search
warrant to look around my house. He also added that I was under arrest. A
basic perusal of the warrant showed that I was being arrested for
‘Offensive Publications’ against the EFCC and its staff.
Before I allowed the men to execute the search warrant, I demand that
the three operatives that were elected to conduct the search were first
searched – in order to ensure that they did not plan any incriminating
evidence in my home.
During the search, the men turned my entire house upside down and
searched every nook and cranny. All this happened in the presence of the
neighbour, whom I had requested to be present. While this search was
going on, the armed policemen who accompanied the EFCC operatives
positioned themselves at every corner outside my house and within the
premises, leaving my neighbours wondering what could have been my
At the end of the search, the operatives confiscated my two phones, my
laptop, my mobile internet device (mifi), the complimentary cards in my
possession, and other items that were clearly unrelated to the spurious
offence that they were charging me with. The operatives then took a
record of all the items that they had confiscated, hauled me into the
Toyota bus, and took me to the EFCC Headquarters in Wuse 2, Abuja.
My Alleged Offence
When the men first came to knock on my door, they alleged that the
Toyota Corrola car which belongs to my wife was a stolen car. This
changed to what they called ‘offensive publication’ as indicated in the
search warrant they produced, but when they eventually released a press
statement on the same day of my arrest, they said I was being held for
It is important to note that in all these, the EFCC failed to specify
who or what I was ‘stalking.’ They didn’t even explain to me the details
of the ‘cyber stalking’ allegation and what the specific crimes were
and till this day, nobody has said anything to me in clear terms what my
offence is. It was only at the moment they showed me the search warrant
that I was able to deduce that my arrest was in regards to some
publications that I had made on my blog abusidiqu.com particularly about
the head of the anti-graft commission. The search warrant said
‘offensive publications against EFCC and its staff, but this is clearly
not true. They were Ibrahim Lamorde and Ibrahim Magu who incidentally
headed or heads the EFCC.
Since 2015, long before the current chairman, Ibrahim Magu was appointed
to head the commission in acting capacity, abusidiqu.com published
several articles bordering on alleged corruption and complaints by EFCC
staff amongst many others. This information were very much in the public
space and was not peculiar to abusidiqu.com alone. The searchlight
beamed on Lamorde was also beamed on Magu and according to the persons
who authored the publications, they saw the need to inform the public of
what was happening under the Magu-led leadership of the commission.
Contrary to the erroneous impression they may have tried to create, the
publications were never about EFCC as an institution neither were they
against the staff of the commission. They were about Lamorde and Magu in
their individual capacity as heads of the commission.
What is even of more concern is that the EFCC knows that I did not
author these publications. They know and have sufficient proofs of who
the authors were. I only provided them the platform as a blogger to
enable them air their concerns, the same way I have done to so many
others including those who have written positively about Lamorde, Magu
and the EFCC. Thankfully, one of the authors has come out boldly to say
that she authored the articles.
I have asked times without number why Magu feels he should be a judge in
his own case by using the EFCC to want to intimidate and harass people
because he heads the commission. What has the EFCC got to do with
publications that is about him as an individual? At best, the EFCC’s
involvement should simply have been to investigate the issues raised by
the authors in the articles that I published. If the organization is
supposed to be acting on information provided by whistle blowers, is
this not a perfect opportunity for the EFCC to investigate Magu, not
minding that he is the head the commission? If these publications were
to be about a junior staff of EFCC for example, will the commission also
be the one to effect arrest on behalf the junior officer? For me, this
is just a clear case of using privileged position for the purpose of
harassment and intimidation.
My Stay In EFCC Detention
I spent about 36 hours in the custody of the EFCC. The better part of
this time was spent during interrogation. They were practically asking
me questions they already have answers to. They asked to know if the
publications mostly dating back to 2015 were published on abusidiqu.com.
They also showed me print outs of the emails which contained the
information the authors of the publications sent to me requesting for
publishing space. If they already know all this, then what was my arrest
for? Perhaps, they wanted something more, reason why they are still
keeping all the items they confiscated from my house. As I write this,
the EFCC is still holding onto my phones, laptops, internet device and
other unrelated documents. They told me clearly that they are going to
subject them to forensic analysis which I believe is in breach of my
From the above narration, it is clear to me that Magu’s EFCC is in clear
violation of the law. Aside granting me bail, they refused to say
anything else and have continued to keep possession of my properties
many of which contains my private information. So I proceeded to the
court for the enforcement of my Fundamental Rights which the EFCC is in
clear breach of. My lawyers have informed me that the commission has
been duly served and we are now awaiting the court to commence the case.
Abubakar ‘Abusidiq’ Usman