Minister of Transportation and immediate past governor of Rivers State, Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi and his successor, Nyesom Wike have locked horns over the money found by Economic and Financial Crime Commissions, EFCC, at a luxury apartment in Ikoyi, Lagos on Wednesday.
Wike had told journalists that the money in question belongs to Rivers State.
According to him, the money was part of proceeds of sale of the state’s gas turbines to Sahara Energy which was “stolen” by Amaechi and warehoused in the Ikoyi house. Wike also insinuated that the Ikoyi house belongs to Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi.
“We have facts to prove that the money belongs to the Rivers State Government,” Wike said.
But in a statement released by Amaechi’s Media Office on Saturday, he described the claims as malicious, frivolous and another failed attempt by Wike to divert attention from the mess he has created in Rivers State.
He described the news as “fake” because there is no proof to support such claim, and urged Nigerians to disregard it.
“The fake claims is a figment of the imagination of Nyesom Wike,” he said.
Meanwhile, the Director-General of the National Intelligence Agency, Ayodele Oke has reportedly claimed that the funds belonged to his agency.
The money was a discreet allocation released to the National Intelligence Agency (NIA) for covert security projects, a presidency source quoted Oke.
Saharareporters has made several attempts to get Oke himself to confirm the claim, but he ignored calls and text messages sent to him. The aloofness of Mr. Oke has further created doubt in the minds of many Nigerians regarding the disclosure about NIA’s ownership of the cash.
EFCC operatives involved in the investigation said they are alarmed by the NIA’s claims because the apartment where they seized the funds had no NIA paraphernalia and that some of the currencies found in the apartment were scattered in the wardrobe. They said the only “covert operation” they could think of would be an honesty test to determine if the EFCC operatives would tamper with the funds.
In his opinion article published by SaharaReporters today, Professor Pius Adesanmi, a professor of literature and African studies at Carlton University Ottawa Canada,
also dismissed the claim of the NIA boss as the usual way Nigerian government fosters corruption.
“…The Nigerian state has repeatedly had to serve as a foster parent of high stakes crimes for much of our post-colonial history, providing cover, providing rationalization, providing a coherent narrative for such crimes, and, where necessary, providing prosecutable fall guys who face heavily mediatized trials,” Professor Adesanmi writes.