When police officers on Thursday raided the Abuja residence of the Chairman of Senate Committee on Appropriation, Danjuma Goje (APC-Gombe), they broke several doors and drawers as they fished for incriminating evidence.
Findings showed that Mr. Goje was in his office at the National Assembly working on the 2017 budget proposal when he was called that a police team had stormed his house.
When a reporter visited the residence located on Haile Selassie Street, Asokoro, on Friday, he was told that the senator was in a meeting with a group of politicians from his home state, Gombe.
One of his aides, who witnessed the police raid, informed the reporter that the “high number of gun wielding officers arrived the House some minutes after 4 p.m. “and said they had a warrant to search the house”.
He said the officers did not bother to ask if the senator was in the house, show anyone the search warrant or say what evidence they were looking for.
“They just scattered everything”, the aide recalled.
“They began by going through his side (his part of the building), including his private office. They broke down every door that was locked.
“Another group went to his wife’s area because the family are not in town and they also broke some of the doors and drawers and carried many stuffs from there,” he said.
The aide, who declined to be named because he did not have Mr. Goje’s permission to speak to the press, recalled that the police team did not leave the house until after almost four hours. He confirmed that several documents including those relating to Mr. Goje’s work at the Senate were taken away.
“They did not call the senator or ask us of his whereabouts. As we speak, I can confidently tell you no word has come from the police or anyone regarding what happened in this house yesterday,” he said.
“We are all shocked over this development, coming at a time a committee is in place from the Executive trying to resolve the differences that exist between the two arms of government,” another aide standing close by interjected.
“Senator Goje is a senior member of the Senate and this action by the police may affect the relationship between the two arms,” he said.
The Federal Executive Council recently constituted a committee headed by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo to discuss with the National Assembly leadership so as to resolve the frosty relationship between both arms of government.
Asked if it was true that a large sum of money was found in the house, the aides, who witnessed the search, confirmed that the police officers took away with them N18 million, $19,000 and 4,000 Saudi Riyal in cash.
The total value of the money recovered is about N24 million based on the Central Bank’s official rate.
“Look Goje has been a member House of Assembly, a successful Lagos-based businessman, a former minister, two-term governor and now a senator, so what are we talking about?” an aide said justifying the huge cash found in the house.
Speaking further, he said, “Look around you, this house has been filled with people from all over the country all day and this is normal here. The Federal Government did not appoint anyone from APC in Gombe State, so it is people like Senator Goje who continue to keep the party going.
“If you don’t keep money, how will you continue to maintain all the political structures?
“He is also a successful businessman with many companies into logistics, oil and gas and the like, which always require that you either have money with you to keep running the business or money will come from the businesses.
“In any case, do we honestly expect someone of his calibre not to have that kind of money? It means he did not manage himself well, after all these blessings from God,” he said.
As stated by the aide, PREMIUM TIMES observed that Mr. Goje’s house was a beehive of activities as people from all walks of life were visiting mostly to sympathise with him over the raid.
Most of the visitors were top ranking government officials and politicians.
Some of the visitors seen on Friday include the deputy chief whip of the Senate, Alimikhena Francis, and a senator from Bauchi State, Suleiman Nazifi.
Mr. Goje has refused to speak to the press since the raid.
PREMIUM TIMES broke the news of the raid on the lawmaker’s house on Thursday.
At least 12 vehicles, including about eight police vans were stationed outside the building during the raid. At least 25 mobile police officers were also sighted outside the building while about half a dozen plain clothed detectives were seen standing outside, with even more likely to be inside.
A security source said the operatives were from the Monitoring Unit of the Inspector General of Police, and were on a mission to recover funds believed to be hidden in the building.
PREMIUM TIMES confirmed from top police officers on Friday that the directive for the raid was from the police headquarters.
A police source said the team that carried out the raid commenced investigation shortly thereafter, adding that a preliminary report might be ready by Monday.
“The investigation is currently being done and I understand a preliminary report might be ready as early as Monday, April 24.”
When contacted Friday night, police spokesperson, Jimoh Moshood, declined to speak in details about the raid, saying further investigation had commenced.
“Investigation is currently ongoing,” Mr. Moshood, a chief superintendent of police, told PREMIUM TIMES by telephone. “After the raid, the police still needed to do further investigation.”
“Upon completion, the findings of the police will be made public,” the spokesperson said.