Suddenly, the proverbial table was turned; the hunter had become the hunted. In a twist of the events, the federal government might have seized the passport and all other travel documents of the former First Lady, Hajiya Turai Yar’Adua.
This is coming barely three weeks after the late president was buried following a prolonged illness from a heart-related disease that killed him.
Hajiya Turai is currently undergoing the mandatory forty-day mourning period of widowhood.
Turai, the Federal Government believes may have stashed a lot of money abroad, particularly in Middle-eastern countries like Dubai and Saudi Arabia, which she might want to return to.
It is feared that the long medical sojourn of the late president might have cost the country over N5bn, even though the sick president was always a guest of his host countries’ leaders.
During some of these trips, Turai was said to have dispensed special favours to her accompanying staff including security personnel who fell over themselves to pander to her wishes.
Government is said to be concerned that such huge sums would be taken out of the country without any receipts, thus causing the need to keep the former first lady under watch.
A presidency source confided in us that the former First Lady is also being probed over her oil deals which is said to be running up to approximately N23bn.
Our source who prefers anonymity disclosed that “Turai is also being investigated on various fronts to ascertain what exactly she did that goes contrary to the principles of justice and fairness and, in fact, if she did use her office to corruptly enrich herself”.
It was gathered that Turai’s pet project, the International Cancer Centre for Women will also be investigated.
Over 10 billion naira was realized in October last year when the project was launched with little progress at the construction site. It would be recalled that Maryam Abacha’s hospital for women and children was later taken over and renamed the National Hospital.
One of the Turai’s crimes is the allegation that she collected over $100m from the former Group Managing Director of the Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) to dispense as bribes to the presidential election tribunal. But it was also alleged that the money was neither dispensed for that purpose nor returned to its source.
The former First Lady is also alleged to have influenced the appointment of Abubakar Yar’Adua and many others including Mustapha Rabe of the PTDF for the sole purpose of perpetuating under hand deals in the oil sector.
Turai’s avarice allegedly led her to collect $2m from Billy Agha, the Director, Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR) to incorporate him into her web of intrigues in the petroleum sector.
Immediately after the late president was interred, close aides of President Goodluck Jonathan began what may believed was a subtle move to persecute the former First Lady when an attempt by Senate President David Mark and his deputy, Ike Ekweremadu to bring a motion to the floor of the senate, praying the federal government to order a probe into the death of the late president, was rejected.
Deputy Senate President, Ekweremadu in his motion had urged the Federal Government “to set up a judicial panel of enquiry to look into the management of the health and hospitalization of late President Yar’Adua from the 23rd of November 2009 to the 5th of May 2010”
But majority of senators who spoke during plenary discountenanced the motion, saying it would amount to persecuting the family of the late president.
When contacted on Thursday spokesperson of the Department of State Services, Mrs. Maryln Ogar denied knowledge of the alleged seizure of the former first lady’s traveling documents. “Note that the former first lady had just lost her husband, our former president Umaru Musa Yar’Adua and she is in a very painful and sorrowful mood. We should do everything possible to sympathize with the family.
“It is unfounded to say that something like that is done to her, because as Nigerian we should always do thing that will promote the unity of this country. However, there are laid down procedures must be followed”. Mrs. Ogar said.
When asked if she was aware that travelling documents of any former official of the late Yar’Adua government have been seized, she replied “I am not sure for now, if any have been seized. But note that what must be done must be done”.