He is my childhood friend.
Minister of State for Niger Delta Affairs, Festus Keyamo has reacted to the photo of him and Jerry Ikogho, one of the cyber-fraud suspects recently arrested by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI).
Days after the FBI released the names of the 77 Nigerians implicated in one of the largest cases of fraud in the US, photos of Keyamo and Ikogho surfaced online.
Ikogho is number three on the FBI list and Nigerians have been reacting to the photo he took with Keyamo, who was recently inaugurated as a minister of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
Reacting to the photo, Keyamo confirmed that he and Ikogho were born in Ughelli, Delta state, and grew up as childhood friends, The Cable reports.
Keyamo said the picture was taking in 2011 at the burial ceremony of one of the two other men in the picture.
He also said Ikogho came from a decent home, adding that the suspect left Nigeria about a decade ago.
The senior advocate also said he hoped that the American authorities got their facts right about Ikogho.
He said, “He is my childhood friend. We were born in the same town (Ughelli). We attended same church from birth. His parents and mine, best of friends, till tomorrow. His siblings and mine too. Only left for the US about 10–12 years ago,” Keyamo said.
“Can’t deny him. It’s a family relationship from birth. He’s from a decent family. Hope they got their facts right. The wife has sent the charge to me.
“The authorities clearly stated that he may not have known of the fraudulent schemes, but he helped one or two of them to transfer funds illegally for a fee. And he didn’t declare excess money at the airport. Wish him well.
“In fact that picture is even at the burial of the father of the guy on the far right about 8 years ago. The guy is in the same childhood group like all of us. Likewise the guy on the far left, a lawyer, who died at the National Hospital here in Abuja about 5 years ago.”
On Thursday, August 22, 2019, the United States Department of Justice released the names of indicted 77 Nigerians in connection to massive fraud that involves a total of 80 people.