CBN staff, top bank executives accuse Jim Obazee of Intimidating them Even After Tenure Expiration

Top officials at the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, and other commercial banks have alleged witch-hunt and undue intimidation by Jim Obazee, the Special Investigator appointed by President Bola Tinubu to probe a former CBN Governor Godwin Emefiele, even after his mandate had since expired.

Recall that Mr Tinubu, in a letter dated July 28, 2023, had named Mr Obazee, the former Chief Executive Officer of the Financial Reporting Council of Nigeria, FRC, as the special investigator for the apex bank.

Mr Obazee and his team had submitted their report to the president, indicting the embattled former CBN governor of misappropriation of fund through contract scam and other frauds.

After submitting the report, Mr Obazee’s presidential mandate expired on Friday, December 1, 2023 through a letter exclusively sighted by DAILY NIGERIAN correspondent.

In the letter, dated November 29, 2023, and titled: ‘Expeditious conclusion of the Special Investigation into the Operations of the Central Bank of Nigeria’, the President directed the committee to submit their final report on or before Friday, December 1, 2023.

However, DAILY NIGERIAN gathered that months after the expiration of his presidential mandate, Mr Obazee’s team is allegedly intimidating some officials of the CBN as well as commercial bank executives.

Sources familiar with the matter disclosed Mr Obazee was pursuing a personal vendetta, particularly targeting government officials associated with the CBN.

”As I speak to you, seven CBN staff members have had their homes invaded this year by Obazee and his cohorts, their phones were confiscated and contents forcibly accessed.

”I am also aware that Obazee led a raid on the residence of a former Accountant General of a Northern state, purportedly based on a whistleblower tip about substantial sums of money.

”The raid, unrelated to any ongoing investigation, resulted in the discovery of a mere N10 million, but he had told his associates that the man had billions of naira in his house,’” a source told this newspaper.

Further revelations suggested that Mr Obazee had invaded the Abuja home of the former Deputy Managing Director of Zenith Bank, Adaora Umeoji, under the guise of whistleblower information.

Mr Obazee is said to be working with a Deputy Commissioner of Police, who reportedly mobilizes policemen for the alleged illegal raids.

The source further said that one Muktar Mujaheed, an FBI-trained cybersecurity expert, is implicated in helping Mr Obazee invade suspects’ privacy by decrypting confiscated phones.

“I believe Obazee is deceiving President Tinubu to orchestrate the removal of bank executives, to pave the way for his own allies.

”He has been operating from the presidential wing of Transcorp Hilton Abuja, targeting heads of government agencies and encroaching on the jurisdiction of institutions like EFCC.

”This matter requires the urgent attention of the president to preserve the principles of transparency, accountability, and the rule of law in Nigeria.”

But when contacted, Mr Obazee told our correspondent that he was in a meeting and did not reply to a text message seeking his reaction on the matter.