Amidst heavy criticism over his defection to the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) from the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), discredited former Minister of Aviation, Femi Fani-Kayode on Monday paid some women to welcome him back to his Abuja home, SaharaReporters has gathered.
The former Minister had shared a video showing the women dancing and singing.
“Home sweet home! Faithful God! Bless His name!” Fani-Kayode wrote while sharing the video.
The women were heard saying, “Our helper oo! Our helper oooo!! Our helper oooo!!! There is something that makes me come to your presence, our helper.”
SaharaReporters gathered from a reliable source close to the former minister that the women were paid to show support for Fani-Kayode amidst the backlash that followed his defection.
“The women in the video were paid, some as low as N3,000 to show that he has a support base,” the source said.
The former Minister had last Thursday officially returned to the APC.
Fani-Kayode was presented to President Muhammadu Buhari at the State House, Abuja, by the Chairman of APC National Caretaker/Extraordinary Convention Planning Committee (CECPC) and Governor of Yobe State, Mai Mala Buni.
While speaking, Fani-Kayode had said he was instrumental to the defection of three Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) governors to APC.
However, two years ago when it was rumoured that the former Minister had joined the APC, he completely ruled out the possibility of defecting to the ruling party.
Taking to Twitter at the time, he described the ruling party as “a filthy, rat-infested sinking ship.”
He also referred to the the party as “darkness” and “the Almajiri Peoples Congress (APC)”.
He had said, “The suggestion that l joined the APC is false and insulting. Those that are peddling this fake news should bury their heads in shame. With what we have witnessed, l would rather die than join a filthy, rat-infested sinking ship like the Almajiri Peoples Congress (APC).
“I am committed to opposing the APC and those that are in their ranks for the rest of my natural life and I will NEVER join them no matter what! They are nothing but darkness whilst l stand for the light of God and truth: there can be NO fellowship between light and darkness.”
Although Fani-Kayode said he returned to the APC for the unity of the country, SaharaReporters gathered that he defected to have his corruption cases with the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) quashed.
He was arraigned in 2016, alongside a former Minister of State for Finance, Nenadi Usman; Danjuma Yusuf, and a firm, Joint Trust Dimensions Ltd over an alleged N4.9 billion fraud.
The former Minister, who was also the Director of Publicity for ex-President Goodluck Jonathan’s presidential campaign organisation for the 2015 election, was accused of conspiring with the others to, directly and indirectly, retain various sums which the EFCC claimed they ought to have reasonably known were proceeds of crime.
In one of the counts, the defendants were accused of conspiring among themselves to “indirectly retain the sum of N1,500,000,000.00 which sum you reasonably ought to have known forms part of the proceeds of an unlawful act to wit: stealing.”
The four were also accused of indirectly retaining N300 million, N400 million and N800 million, all proceeds of corruption, according to the EFCC.
Fani-Kayode was accused of directly using parts of the money at various times, including N250,650,000.00, which he allegedly used between March 20 and 25, 2015.
He was also accused of making a cash transaction of N24 million with one Olubode Oke, said to still be at large, on February 12, 2015 “to Paste Poster Co of 125, Lewis Street, Lagos Island.”
The duo were said to have made the transaction without going through any financial institution, an act the EFCC claimed was contrary to sections 1(a) and 16(d) of the Money Laundering (Prohibition) (Amendment) Act, 2012, and punishable under Section 16(2)(b) of the same Act.
Months later, the former minister was rearrested and solely arraigned on five counts bordering on money laundering to the tune of N26 million.
According to the EFCC, Fani-Kayode allegedly received the sum of N26 million from the office of the former National Security Adviser (ONSA), Col. Sambo Dasuki (retd.) in 2014.