There was pandemonium in Kaduna on Friday as officers of the Nigerian Air Force (NAF) and operatives of the Zonal Command of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) clashed over the arrest of fraud suspects.
According to eyewitnesses, Air Force officers barricaded the entrance leading to the EFCC zonal command office in Kaduna following the detention of some NAF personnel by the anti-graft agency.
However, providing insight into the incident, EFCC spokesperson, Dele Oyewale, explained that the “face-off” was as a result of the arrest of some suspected internet fraudsters, whom the NAF personnel had stormed the EFCC facility to demand their release.
He explained that EFCC operatives had arrested five suspects on Monday over alleged internet fraud-related activities at a residential Inn and Disney Chicken Eatery in Barnawa area of Kaduna metropolis.
“The suspected fraudsters: Favour Itung, Rachael Ande, Zuleiman Haruna, Abubakar Ismaila and Solomon Olobatoke, were arrested without incident.
“However, after the sting operation, six military personnel who witnessed the operation at Disney Chicken Eatery stormed the Kaduna Command and attempted to forcibly release the arrested fraud suspects. They were subdued and detained over the security breach.
“The intruders are four Air Force personnel: Lawal Abdullahi, Chukwuma Chidi Christian, Alfa Suleiman and Emmanuel Ekwozor, and two students of Nigerian Air Force Institute of Technology, AFIT: Chidera Anuba and Joseph Tokula.
“While in detention, there were inter-agency communication and discussions by the leadership of the EFCC and the Nigerian Air Force, NAF to resolve the issues.
“Unfortunately, dialogue on the release of the combative Air Force personnel broke down on Friday, November 17, 2023, when some unruly NAF officers stormed the Kaduna Command in a commando-style, to forcefully release their detained colleagues.
“The EFCC exercised restraint in the face of the provocation and flagrant abuse of power. The Commission continued to engage with the leadership of the Nigeria Air Force and released the officers to the NAF Provost after they had been duly profiled,” Oyewale stated.
Meanwhile, the Nigerian Air Force was yet to comment on the incident.