Former President Muhammadu Buhari, his “powerful” nephew, Mamman Daura and his private secretary and another nephew, Sabiu “Tunde” Yusuf, have all left Nigeria for London, the United Kingdom.
SaharaReporters learnt on Tuesday that the three men, who were once powerful during Buhari’s time in the Aso Rock Villa, left the country in a private jet provided by billionaire businessman, Alhaji Aliko Dangote.
SaharaReporters further gathered that their decision to leave the country was connected to growing pressures from Nigeria’s secret police, the Department of State Services to arrest Sabiu, who had been named in sundry corrupt activities in the last eight years.
Already with the DSS are the suspended governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, Godwin Emefiele and the suspended chairman of anti-corruption body Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Abdulrasheed Bawa.
“Former President Buhari, his nephew, Mamman Daura and Private Secretary Tunde Sabiu have all skipped town and are now in London. Daura and Buhari are resting in a hospital in London,” a top source revealed.
“This follows pressures by the DSS to arrest Mr. Tunde Sabiu upon finding out that he was involved in every corrupt activity that bled the Nigerian economy in the last eight years,” the source added.
SaharaReporters further learnt that Buhari’s State Chief of Protocol (SCOP) and one of his closest long-time aides, Sarki Abba, were also in London.
SaharaReporters on April 30 reported that “Tunde” Yusuf, the personal secretary to Buhari who is in his 30s, was set to retire with huge retirement benefits from loot said to run into billions of dollars.
And to ensure he enjoys his loot, SaharaReporters learnt that Yusuf secured a form of diplomatic immunity from prosecution through his appointment to the National Intelligence Agency, according to sources in the Presidency.
Regarded as one of the wealthiest young men in Nigeria today, Yusuf until his appointment by former President Buhari was said to be surviving on proceeds made from the sale of call cards in his native Daura, a sleepy community in Katsina State in the Northern part of the country, which is also Buhari’s hometown.
He is said to have got the name ‘Tunde’ after being likened to the late Tunde Idiagbon, Buhari’s second in command during his military regime in the early 1980s. Idiagbon was seen by many Nigerians as the de facto leader even though Buhari was the head of state. He was known to be powerful and strategic.
Yusuf is the son of Mamman Daura’s immediate younger sister, Hajia Halima, who died in 2018.
“To ensure he doesn’t get arrested by the EFCC (Economic and Financial Crimes Commission), Tunde (Yusuf), as he’s popularly known has secured diplomatic immunity by his irregular appoint into Nigeria’s intelligence Agency known as NIA and he’s already been transferred to the United Kingdom as his first foreign posting to manage his loot,” a source in the Presidency had told SaharaReporters.
Also, according to sources in the Presidency, Yusuf recently spent $100 million to help Kano-born oil billionaire Alhaji Auwalu Abdullahi Rano, the executive chairman and CEO of holding company A. A. Rano Group, start Rano Air.
Rano Air is a licensed airline, incorporated in 2021 with its operational base in Abuja, Nigeria’s capital. When it started, it proposed to operate in Nigeria and beyond but start with eight local stations – Abuja, Kano, Lagos, Sokoto, Maiduguri, Kaduna, Yola and Asaba.
Yusuf ‘Tunde’ Sabiu is said to be the proud owner of several mansions in Abuja.
“He recently shelled out $100 million to help start an airline known as Rano Air, according to sources in the presidency and massively invested in fuel stations across Nigeria through the same outfit, Rano Oil,” one of the sources had said.
Sources said Buhari’s nephew once had several accounts opened that house billions of naira in Nigeria.
“The Central Bank of Nigeria Governor (recently suspended by President Bola Tinubu), Godwin Emefiele reportedly got him to reinvest the funds in three new banks,” one of the sources had added.
During Buhari’s 77th birthday in December 2019, Yusuf reportedly wore a Patek Phillipe leather wristwatch valued at $99,995.00 – about N36 million at the time.
In June 2020, investigations by SaharaReporters indicated that a Senior Special Assistant to the President (Domestic), Abba Sarki and Yusuf, in collaboration with some Ministry of Power officials had pushed the government to commit to the purchase of a building for the Transmission Company of Nigeria at a grossly inflated price in Abuja.
Despite the Ministry of Works and Housing not approving the purchase of the building, Sarki and Yusuf had pushed their cronies in the Ministry of Power further to actualise the purchase of the property for around N14 billion to N17 billion – a rate many times higher than the original cost of the building.
The plan, according to findings by SaharaReporters, was to in the end give the presidential aides access to the funds and thereafter give part of the funds to other partakers in the fraudulent scheme before pocketing the rest.
A top source at the Ministry of Power privy to the corrupt scheme gave more insights, saying, “This building is being pushed by Abba Sarki, Senior Special Assistant to the President (Domestic) and Sabiu ‘Tunde’ Yusuf for Transmission Company of Nigeria.
Accordingly, the building will be paid (for) by the Federal Government, so the TCN was not directly involved. The Ministry of Works and Housing did not approve the request by the Ministry of Power.
“For TCN, they are comfortable where they are and the current building was built by PHCN/TCN superannuation fund. But the ministry is claiming the building was given to them by former President Goodluck Jonathan’s government.
“The Minister of Power now wants to buy Gilmo building, which was a small building that cannot accommodate TCN’s staff at a highly inflated price of about N14 billion to N17 billion which would go to Sabiu ‘Tunde’ Yusuf and Abba Sarki.”
In a memo dated July 19, 2019, and signed by the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Power, Works and Housing before it was split into two, Louis Edozien, the ministry responded to a request by the TCN for a dedicated and convenient office accommodation and thereafter established a joint committee to look into all relevant issues on the subject.
Insiders had informed SaharaReporters that underground moves had been going on to achieve the target by the two aides of President Buhari despite the administration’s claims to be waging a war against corruption and looting of public funds in the country, especially by government officials.
Also on May 20, SaharaReporters reported that Isa Ali Pantami, former Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, and Sabiu “Tunde” Yusuf allegedly colluded to grant licences for broadcast frequencies in the 600MHz spectrum band by the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) in the twilight of the Buhari administration.
A source within the presidency had confirmed this to SaharaReporters, adding that Pantami and Tunde Yusuf had also been attempting to shift earnings from sales to private bank accounts, which was another attempt to fraudulently steal from public assets before handing over to the incoming government.
This mischief also included a 50 per cent discount on the licence.