Former Vice President Atiku Abubakar has admitted his son-in-law Mallam Babalele Abdullahi donated N50million to an official of ex-President Olusegun Obasanjo library.
A statement by Atiku Media Office said such donations to institutions set up to promote peace in Nigeria and Africa should be commended, not criminalised.
It accused the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) of attempting to cause disaffection and bad blood between former President Olusegun Obasanjo and his former deputy, Atiku Abubakar.
Babalele is being investigated alongside others for alleged laundering of €150million.
One of those under probe is Mr Uyi Giwa-Osagie, who is a lawyer and an associate of Atiku.
About €67, 950,000 out of the suspected €150m had been traced to the accounts of Osagie, Babalele, two slush firms and two Bureau De Change operators.
Of the € 67.9m, Uyi’s account received huge inflows of €26,050,00million between January 9th and 28th, 2019.
Babalele is expected to account for €41,900,000.
But out of the cash credited to Babalele, he gave about N50million ($140,000) to his childhood friend, Bashir Mohammed to take to an official of ex-President Olusegun Obasanjo Presidential Library in Abeokuta.
It was unclear why the $140,000 was taken to the library but the undisclosed purpose was being investigated by the EFCC.
The EFCC detectives have also combed the library in the company of Bashir.
Atiku Media Office however in a statement in Abuja alleged that the EFCC’s probe was desperation on the part of the current administration to rope in former President Olusegun Obasanjo into a crime.
It said: “It has come to our attention that the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission is feeding members of the media with deliberate falsehoods in an attempt to cause disaffection and bad blood between former President Olusegun Obasanjo and his former deputy, Atiku Abubakar, on one hand, and between former President Obasanjo and Nigerians in general.
“Patriotic journalists, alarmed by the wickedness of the EFCC’s underhand and unprofessional actions, have exposed their dastardly plans to us and we are indeed disappointed at the EFCC.
“An action such as this is tantamount to a river denying its own source, since Chief Olusegun Obasanjo is the fountain of origin of the EFCC, seeing as he founded the institution and nurtured it to maturity.”
Although Atiku Media Office admitted that Babalele donated N50million to Olusegun Obasanjo Library, it said it was not in cash.
It said the donation was made via a bank transfer in full compliance with the law.
It clarified that presidential libraries in America and other parts of the world are similarly funded by donations from civic-minded individuals.
It added: “For the avoidance of doubt, Mallam Babalele Abdullahi, Atiku Abubakar’s son-in-law, did not donate any money in cash to the Olusegun Obasanjo Library.
“Yes, he did facilitate a donation of fifty million naira to the Olusegun Obasanjo Presidential Library, but so did many other individuals, including civic-minded traditional rulers, state Governors, bankers and captains of industry.
“This is because the Olusegun Obasanjo Presidential Library is a non-governmental organisation that plays a pivotal role in promoting peace and stability in Nigeria and that should be applauded. “Unlike another past leader, who did not improve himself or Nigeria after leaving office, but sat down nursing grudges and plotting revenge, former President Olusegun Obasanjo improved himself and Nigeria by authoring books, founding international think tanks and engaging in peace and capacity building efforts.
“Donations to institutions set up to promote peace in Nigeria and Africa are to be commended, not criminalized. Presidential libraries in America and other parts of the world are similarly funded by donations from civic-minded individuals.
“For the avoidance of doubt, Mallam Abdullahi’s donation of N50m was made via a bank transfer, in full compliance with the law. He did not donate or make any payment in cash, as the EFCC is erroneously and salaciously misleading the public.”
The statement said the sources of the donation were legitimate and proven to EFCC.
It added: “Furthermore, the sources of these funds are completely legitimate and have been conclusively proven to the EFCC. It is instructive to note that even the EFCC has not once claimed these funds to be the proceeds of any illegal activity whatsoever.
“The truth is that there is desperation on the part of the current administration to rope in former President Olusegun Obasanjo into crime as a way of silencing his voice, which they see as the preeminent critical voice against the misrule that they have foisted on Nigerians.
“This is why they asked the Federal Inland Revenue Service to falsely and libelously include his name in a published list of tax evaders, along with the names of other Peoples Democratic Party sympathisers, such as prominent international singer and pride of Nigeria, Davido, who played a prominent role in PDP’s gubernatorial campaign in Osun state, for which he is being punished.
“We are therefore calling on Nigerians to be watchful for false and misleading stories planted in the media by the EFCC against Atiku Abubakar, former President Olusegun Obasanjo and other persons deemed to be opponents of this government.
“Let it be known that former President Olusegun Obasanjo established the EFCC to be an investigative body and not a propaganda or enforcement arm of the ruling party, as it is now being misused.”