GROUP ADVISES TINUBU NOT TO SUPPORT ASPIRANTS WITH CORRUPTION CASES FOR SENATE PRESIDENCY
By Charles Ebube – Abuja
A Civil Society Organisation(CSO), Policy Advocacy and Integrity Network Nigeria has called on the President-elect, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu not to throw his weight behind any of the aspirants for the office of the Presidency of the Senate who has a corruption case hanging on his neck.
In a Statement signed by its Executive Director,
Josh Mesele, the group said the advice became necessary in view of the invitation letter extended to one of the aspirants from the Southern part of the country by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission(EFCC) to answer allegations of corruption.
“We at Policy Advocacy and Integrity Network Nigeria think it expedient to advise the President-elect, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu to be wary of who to support for the position of the Presidency of the Senate or even the Speakership of House of Representatives. This is to ensure that his administration does not take off with the blight of putting corrupt personalities in those high offices. If an aspirant is being invited here and there by the anti-corruption agencies, the onus is on such aspirant to get himself or herself exonerated before throwing hats into the ring. That is the correct moral step to take”.
The EFCC had last week summoned Akpabio to appear before it on March 29, 2023 but the former Minister through his lawyers wrote back pleading for more time to be able to be able to attent to his health abroad.
“We write to convey our client’s inability to honour the scheduled visit to your office on the 29th day of March 2022 due to ill health, and, already arranged medical appointments overseas.
“As mentioned in our last letter to you dated February 10, 2023, our client is undergoing treatment for pneumonia and cardiac arrhythmia, and, has recently been advised to seek further attention abroad.
“It is in the light of the above, that we respectfully request that our client’s appointment with you be rescheduled to a date convenient to your officers. preferably after the forthcoming Easter and Ramadan”.
In 2020, the EFCC said it was investigating corruption allegations against Godswill Akpabio as a minister of Niger Delta Affairs.
This was contained in a response letter dated August 14 to Foundation for True Freedom and Good Governance, a civil society group.
The EFCC, in a response letter by Adebayo Adeniyi, head of the economic governance section at the EFCC, said “We write to acknowledge the receipt of your petition dated August 3, 2020 in respect of the above subject and to inform you that investigation into the case has commenced.”
There had been allegations of N40 billion fraud perpetrated in the NDDC, a ministry which was headed by Akpabio for three years.
The Senate and the House of Representatives in 2020 resolved to probe the alleged N40 billion financial recklessness of the Interim Management Committee (IMC) of the NDDC in the previous three months.
Also, there were allegations of over N86 billion contract scam involving the senator-elect and the former Acting Managing Director of Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC), Prof. Kemebradikumo Pondei, which the EFCC has been looking into.
The anti-graft agency had also in the past arrested Akpabio over alleged theft of N108.1billion of Akwa Ibom funds.