Go v e r n o r N y e s o m Wike has d i r e c t e d At t o r n e y General and Commissioner for Justice, Prof. Zacchaeus Adangor, to commence “diligent prosecution” of alleged illegal financial dealings of former Rivers Governor Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi, Mr. Tonye Cole, Sahara Energy and others over the sale of state assets.
But a nong o v e r n m e n t a l organization (NGO) is urging Wike to come to equity with clean hands. The governor who gave the directive shortly after swearing in the Attorney General and two other commissioners insisted that Rivers people must know how the sum of 50 million dollars “disappeared” from the treasury of the state government during Amaechi’s tenure.
Wike said: “Attorney General, you’re at a critical period where people want to know what the State is going to do with the Judiciary Panel of Inquiry after the Supreme Court judgement on it. Luckily, you came at the right time when we have preferred criminal charges against the former governor (Amaechi), Sahara Energy, Tonye Cole and the rest of them.”
Wike said there was no proof of business where the cash was deployed: “So, you are coming at the right time to take over the matter and to make sure it is prosecuted diligently. I don’t want to hear excuses. Let the people see what happened to our money.
The world will see how $50 million Dollar from our account was moved to a company without nothing to show whether there was a business.” He also directed the Commissioner for Justice, to write a strongly-worded protest letter to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) over “harassment” of the state’s Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) governorship candidate, Siminalaye Fubara.
This, Wike said, is predicated on the fact that, recently, EFCC officers attempted to harass and intimidate Fubara, who before his emergence as the PDP governorship candidate, had served as the Accountant General of Rivers State. Wike said EFCC needed to know that the era of impunity and flagrant disobedience to the rule of law is gone and his administration will not accept such behaviour.
He maintained that the attempt to harass the PDP candidate will not be accepted as the state government will not hesitate to charge the EFCC for contempt. Wike explained that before now, the Rivers government had obtained a subsisting court judgment against the EFCC that it cannot investigate the state’s finances or its officers.
According to him, there is also another judgment against EFCC by Fubara to enforce his fundamental rights, which has not been set aside. “Rivers State government had judgment against EFCC since 2007. The court said you (EFCC) has no business in the financial transactions of the (Rivers) State. EFCC has been struggling to set aside that judgement until now.
They have not even appealed it.” Wike warned that nobody will accept the use of EFCC at such political period to intimidate persons in order to achieve their “skewed” goals: “We are in a political period. People should not think that they will use EFCC to intimidate or manipulate him (Fubara).
Nobody will accept that. So you (Attorney General) have to attach the judgment of the candidate against EFCC and send the right signal to them that we are not people that can be cowed.”
The two other commissioners sworn in were, Hon. Isaac Kamalu as Commissioner of Finance, Budget and Economic Planning and Dr. George-Kelly, Dakorinama Alabo as Commissioner for Works and Special Projects. They were among the commissioners who had resigned to contest in the governorship primaries of the PDP.
“The news making the rounds that Fubara, on Tuesday night escaped an attempt by officials of the EFCC to arrest him” has been described by HURIWA as “disgusting and shameful.”
The prominent advocacy group reminded the politician that “under the constitutional Norm, he is innocent and therefore should respect a properly constituted law enforcement agency and surrender himself for questioning.”
HURIWA said it was a bad precedence that the politician is setting if he continues to evade arrest of the EFCC which is a body set up by law of the Federal Republic of Nigeria just as their task is supported by the constitutional provision in Section 15(5) which states that eradication of corruption and combating abuse of office is the duty of government.
HURIWA quoting news media said the drama unfolded at the Port Harcourt International Airport as the plane ferrying Fubara and other PDP chieftains who had accompanied him to Abuja to receive his Certificate of Return touched down at the airport just as the Rights group said it is inexplicable why the top Rivers politician is evading the invitation of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission when he would be accorded all his basic and fundamental human rights as a citizen since the anti-graft agency can’t afford to be lawless and unethical in its activities of waging a war against corruption.
HURIWA also stated that unlike the previous acting Chairman of the EFCC in which someone allegedly died in EFCC detention, the new dispensation is not associated with draconian detention facilities for now.
The Rights group encourages the Rivers politician not to be afraid if he us not guilty since only the guilty are afraid moreover when he can afford to engage the services of reputable lawyers to prove his innocence.
HURIWA condemned the reported physical confrontation against the operatives of the EFCC going by the news report that as the operatives move to effect the arrest of the Rivers PDP governorship candidate for questioning over allegations of graft related offences, some youths believed to be his supporters allegedly resisted the officials and attacked them. Though details of the alleged attack were still sketchy as of the time of filing the report by the media but sources said some of the EFCC operatives sustained injuries.
HURIWA recalled that the EFCC had declared Fubara, the immediate past Accountant General of Rivers state, and three other top state government officials wanted over alleged N117 billion fraud. After the drama at the airport, Fubara who won the state PDP governorship primary on May 25 proceeded to the state party secretariat where he addressed party supporters and stakeholders.
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HURIWA said the unbecoming tendencies of politicians to totally disregard invitations of lawfully constituted law enforcement agencies is unconstitutional just as the Rights group charged the police to investigate the allegations of physical attack of the operatives of the EFCC by some unidentified youths allegedly said to be supporters of the embattled Rivers State Governorship Candidate of the PDP. HURIWA said it was unimaginable that invitation by EFCC is dishonoured and those invited are hiding from being arrested which is a highly disgraceful Conduct especially going by the fact that the person involved is seeking to be elected as a governor of one of Nigeria’s richest States.
The rights group in a media statement by Comrade Emmanuel Onwubiko the National Coordinator is therefore charging the Rivers State governor Mr Nyesom Wike to ask his aides wanted by the EFCC to surrender and defend themselves since there is nothing to be afraid of if they are not guilty of the allegations moreover when the EFCC is expected to treat them as being innocent in the eye of the law until otherwise determined by a competent court of law in an open trial.