‘Akpabio has too many alleged corruption baggage, not fit for Senate Presidency’
Civil rights advocacy group, Human Rights Writers Association of Nigeria, (HURIWA), on Saturday, said former governor of Akwa Ibom State, Godswill Akpabio, has too many alleged corruption baggage and is not fit for the Senate President seat of the yet-to-be-inaugurated 10th National Assembly.
Besides, HURIWA said the allegation by Zamfara State governor Bello Matawalle that the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, Chairman Abdulrasheed Bawa demanded two million US dollars of bribe from him to drop his investigation over N70 billion alleged heist of public funds must be investigated.
The rights group charged the accuser to produce and publish irrefutable evidence of his allegation against the EFCC Chairman so the Civil Rights community will stage massive protests to force President Muhammadu Buhari to suspend and investigate him.
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HURIWA said if on the hand the governor has no evidence, the EFCC Chairman should press libellous charge against the governor soon after he loses immunity from prosecution on May 29th.
HURIWA, in a statement by its National Coordinator, Comrade Emmanuel Onwubiko, said the All Progressives Congress (APC) should not act in any way that will portray it as endorsing graft.
The group said Akpabio should be immediately probed just like the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission is already investigating Zamfara State Governor, Bello Matawalle over alleged 70bn fraud.
“One notable case against Akpabio was a N108 billion fraud case, which was filed against him in 2018 by the EFCC. The case alleged that Akpabio, during his tenure as governor between 2007 and 2015, diverted public funds and used them to acquire properties in Nigeria and abroad. However, in August 2018, the EFCC dropped the case against Akpabio, citing lack of evidence.
“In 2020, there were reports that the EFCC was investigating Akpabio over alleged mismanagement of funds in the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC), where he was serving as the Minister of Niger Delta Affairs. The investigation was said to be related to allegations of financial impropriety, contract inflation, and embezzlement of public funds in the NDDC. However, it is not clear if any charges were filed against Akpabio in relation to this investigation.
“The anti-graft agency reportedly detained Akpabio and five others with him for hours on April 12 but he was later released and the EFCC has kept mum on the case,” the statement said.
It added : “Senator Godswill Akpabio has too many alleged corruption baggage around his neck and Nigerians should resist his Senate Presidency ambition regardless of his nonsensical endorsement by the APC.
“Nigerians should resist the plot to impose him as Senate President through protest and other civil but constitutional means. Akpabio becoming Senate President is the end of Legislative autonomy in Nigeria and the end of SEPARATION OF POWERS and the end of EFCC/ICPC.”