The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission says there is no connection between the detention of Babachir Lawal, former secretary to the government of the federation, and the letter written by ex-President Olusegun Obasanjo.
In the strongly-worded letter, Obasanjo accused President Muhammadu Buhari of shielding some of his allies who are corrupt.
Less than 24 hours after the letter was made public, Lawal was detained by the commission.
The timing of EFCC’s action sparked speculation by some Nigerians that the government was either trying to divert attention from Obasanjo’s statement or appease the Nigerian leader.
But Sami Ammadin, ating spokesman of the commission, said both incidents were coincidental.
“When we are doing investigation, we don’t have a fixed time. Those speculating should have realised that several contractors are involved in this matter, and they were all invited, even banks,” he said.
“We have been working on this case since May 2017, so it is not a thing that just cropped up.
“We are neither a political party nor politicians. We don’t have any relationship with what they are talking about. We are just doing our work.
“If the detention coincides with the letter, that is a different thing. Why are those talking not linking other people we have been inviting with Obasanjo’s letter?’’
Buhari had sacked Lawal on October 30, 2017, following his indictment by a panel that probed misuse of funds meant for internally displaced persons in the north-east.
He was accused of using his company Rholavision Engineering Ltd to corner a N200 million contract for the clearing of evasive plant species in Yobe.
Amaddin said Lawal was still in detention as of Friday morning, and that the suspect was assisting the commission in its investigation.
Asked whether the commission had a court warrant to detain him beyond the 48 hours prescribed by law, the spokesman said the commission’s legal team was “taking care of that’’.
“We are aware of the law, and the legal team must have taken care of that,’’ he said.