Nigeria’s anti-graft agency--the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC)--has been on an arrest spree all year.
Some arrests and arraignments have dominated social media chatter and garnered more attention than others, and it all appeared to pick up momentum as the year wound to a close.
We look at five of EFCC’s most controversial arrests in a year when there was quite some attention on internet fraudsters who are popularly called ‘Yahoo Yahoo boys'….
Ismaila Mustapha, who is popularly referred to as Mompha, live a charmed life online and off it for years.
He also had no qualms flaunting his wealth and throwing it all in everyone’s face.
On Friday, October 18, 2019 Mompha was picked up by EFCC operatives at the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja, as he made to board the plane to Dubai.
The EFCC said it swooped on Mompha following a “series of intelligence reports received by the commission.
“Ismaila who allegedly perpetrates his fraudulent activities under the guise of being a Bureau de Change operator is always seen with his little son flaunting huge amount of foreign currencies on his social media platforms."
Mompha is accused of cyber crime and money laundering and is currently on trial.
2. Naira Marley
Nigerian rapper Azeez Fashola who is popularly known as Naira Marley, had just released a song which posed the rhetorical question: “Am I a Yahoo boy?” when the EFCC arrested him in March of 2019 to answer the question for himself.
“Yes, he is with us. He’s not the only person; he had some other persons also arrested alongside (him). They were arrested in relation to advance fee fraud — internet-related cases and all of that,” EFCC spokesperson,Tony Orilade, confirmed to the press soon afterwards.
Granted bail two weeks later, Marley told the story of life behind bars in a single called ‘Soapy’--a club anthem as big as they come in Nigeria--complete with its risque, grotesque and graphic dance moves.
Marley milked the added fame detention got him by releasing ‘Pxta’, ‘Mafo’ and ‘Bad ‘Influence,’ while showing off his marijuana wraps and puffing the smoke in everyone’s face.
He’s also become a social media darling since his arrest, albeit a controversial one.
“Admit it, life would be boring without me...Having a big booty is better than having a Masters degree,” Marley has said to chilling effect on social media.
3. Sarumi Babafemi
Automobile dealer, Sarumi Babafemi who owns 606 Autos Limited and 606 Music Limited was arraigned by the EFCC in November for money laundering.
The EFCC is accusing Babafemi of laundering a total of N207.1 million between 2013 and 2018.
Babafemi’s counsels are still working on his bail.
4. Hamza Koudeih
The Lebanese was reportedly caught as he hid in the ceiling of his luxury apartment.
The EFCC has paraded Koudeih with a raft of fetish dishes and charms. The anti-graft agency also says Koudeih was an accomplice of Mompha and that he lived large.
“From his $1.3million residence in Eko Atlantic Pearl Tower to his high-end automobiles, Hamza Koudeih oozes money, all of which he made doing nothing in the country but money laundering,” the EFCC says.
5. Zlatan Ibile
Omoniyi Temidayo Raphael, who is better known by his stage name, Zlatan Ibile, was simply in the wrong place at the wrong time when he was arrested alongside Naira Marley and three scruffy looking friends.
Like Marley, Zlatan’s arrest has propelled him to the top of Nigeria’s music charts.
Zlatan’s Zanku dance has also enjoyed cross cultural appeal since his arrest and mugshot.
Zlatan has also released a body of work to crown it all.