Festus Keyamo, minister of state for Niger Delta affairs, has confirmed that he is friends with Jerry Ikogho, one of the cyber fraud suspects apprehended by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI).
A picture of Keyamo and Ikogho (pictured wearing glasses), has been trending online since Saturday.
Ikhogo is number three on the 77-man list of Nigerian fraud suspects released by the FBI on Thursday.
But Keyamo told TheCable that he and Ikogho were born in Ughelli, Delta state, and grew up as childhood friends.
According to him, the picture was taken in 2011 at the burial of the father of one of the two other men who appeared in the picture.
The former rights advocate said the suspect is from “a decent home”, adding that he hoped that the American authorities got their facts right.
“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.”