Governor of Rivers State, Nyesom Wike has claimed ownership of the money found by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, in a luxury residential building in Ikoyi, Lagos State, saying the money was part of funds looted by his predecessor and current Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi.
Wike, speaking on Friday night, said the money was part of the proceeds of the sale of the state’s gas turbines to Sahara Energy.
The governor said the report that the money belongs to the National Intelligence Agency, NIA, is false.
Wike described the NIA narrative as a ploy by the All Progressives Congress-led federal government to cover up the huge corruption.
He said: “If you recollect in 2015, we said that gas turbines built by former Governor Peter Odili were sold to Sahara Energy, business partners of Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi at $319 million.
“That money was used to sponsor the All Progressives Congress for the 2015 general elections.
“From the date of sale of the gas turbines to May 29, 2015, the money depleted from $319million to $204,000. What was stashed at the Ikoyi residence was part of that fund.
“As I speak to you, the Federal Government is so embarrassed that this has happened. All the stories that the money belongs to the NIA are fake.”
The Rivers State governor insisted that the money should be returned to the Rivers State government within seven days or the state will take the matter to court.
“We have facts to prove that the said money belongs to the Rivers State Government. The Federal Government must return our money.
“We are giving them seven days to return our money. Otherwise, we would take legal action to recover our money.
“$43million will help us complete several projects. We need that money for projects,” he said.
Some Nigerians are of the opinion that governor Wike should approach the federal high court, Lagos, to present his case since the court has already ordered temporary forfeiture of the money to the federal government.
The court however adjourned the matter to May 5, and asked parties interested in the funds to forward before that date.
Governor Wike also charged the federal government to set up a panel of Inquiry to publicly investigate the money, if it doubted his claim.
It would be recalled that Amaechi’s aide, David Iyofor, had denied that the transportation Minister had any link to the said money.
The Media aide to Governor Ayodele Fayose of Ekiti State, Lere Olayinka, had on Friday on twitter alleged that the money belongs to Amaechi, but Iyiofor fired back at him denying the allegation, telling Olayinka, that his tongue will soon land him in jail.