Ex-Minister of Aviation and campaign spokesman for former President Goodluck Jonathan caused panic and triggered anxiety today when he arrived at the 5-star Wheatbaker Hotel in Lagos with 15 heavily armed policemen. The hotel is located at 4 Onitolo Road (former Lawrence Road) in Ikoyi, an upscale area of Lagos.
The fierce-looking police officers were from the anti-riot unit.
Judgment will be delivered tomorrow in a long-running corruption trial in which Mr. Fani-Kayode is the defendant. The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) filed the corruption charges against the former Jonathan aide and ex-minister at a Federal High Court in Lagos.
Guests at Wheatbaker Hotel, especially expatriates, panicked at the sight of the police officers. Some of the hotel’s expatriate guests reportedly made frantic calls to their embassies as the armed policemen entered the hotel’s reception area and started acting in a manner that was deemed intimidating.
One guest, a Nigerian visiting from the US, told SaharaReporters that Mr. Fani-Kayode showed up at the hotel twice with the same contingent of policemen within a spell of 30 minutes.
SaharaReporters learnt that the court building in Ikoyi is a walking distance from the Wheatbaker Hotel.
The judge in the case, Justice Rita Ofili-Ajumogobia, had deferred judgment in the case till July 1 because of the absence of the EFCC’s prosecutor, Festus Keyamo.
One source said that numerous lawyers and judges often visited the hotel for drinks and socialization.
Mr. Fani-Kayode’s trial hinge on two counts of money laundering and corrupt enrichment.
In an earlier ruling, Justice Ofili-Ajumogobia had dismissed eight of the indictment counts against the former Aviation Minister, permitting only two to proceed.
A lawyer who is not involved in the case told SaharaReporters that Justice Ofili-Ajumogobia should have recused herself from handling the case. The lawyer alleged that the judge and Mr. Fani-Kayode were classmates at Law School.
A duty manager at the hotel, who identified himself as Victor, told a correspondent of SaharaReporters that the hotel management convinced Mr. Fani-Kayode to tell his armed guards to leave the reception area.