On the night of Good Friday, April 14, 2017, Rivers State Governor, Chief Ezebunwo Nyesom Wike, addressed journalists at Government House, Port Harcourt, where he declared that the $43million dollars found in the luxury apartment in Ikoyi, Lagos belongs to the Rivers State government.
Wike also gave the federal government an ultimatum of seven days to return the $43million dollars to the state government , failure which the state government will take legal measures to ensure that it gets back her stolen resources.
According to the governor, investigations by the state government revealed that the money was proceed from the sale of gas turbines by the immediate past Rivers State Governor and minister of Transportation, Rt. Hon. Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi.
He said, “The money in question belongs to the former Rivers State Governor, Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi. We want to confirm that the houses in Ikoyi also belong to Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi.
“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 $319million.
“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.
“We have facts to prove that the said money belongs to the Rivers State Government. The Federal Government must return our money”.
Wike stated that all the stories being peddled about the money belonging to the National Intelligence Agency (NIA) are false and mere face saving measures by the embattled All Progressives Congress (APC)- led federal government.
The governor said, “As I speak to you, the Federal Government is so embarrassed that this has happened. All the stories that the money belongs to the National Intelligence Agency are fake.”
He challenged the federal government to set up a panel of inquiry, which will sit publicly to investigate the money, if it doubted the claim of the state government.
Wike stated that the state government needs the money to complete an array of projects, insisting that on no account would this criminal activity be swept under the carpet.
The governor said as long as the federal government continues to disturb the progress of Rivers State, so long will God throw the federal government into confusion.
He said, “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.”
Addressing religious leaders in the state less than 24 hours after demanding for the return of the money, Wike accused the federal government of desperately covering corruption because of the involvement of its principal financial sponsor.
The governor, who described the action of the federal government as unfortunate, stated that the state government is not interested in the prosecution of the immediate past Governor, Rt. Hon. Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi, but simply seeking the return of funds belonging to the state.
He said should the federal government return the stolen resources domiciled by Amaechi at his Ikoyi residence, the said funds would be deployed for the completion of the abandoned monorail project.
Wike stated that the promotion of insults and needless propaganda will not detract the state government from recovering her stolen resources, declaring that the state is ready for a lengthy battle with the federal government over the Ikoyi billions.
The governor said, “The Federal Government wants us to believe that a security agency will keep a whopping N16 billion in a private residence in cash. They think that Nigerians don’t have brains.
“When millions of dollars were found in Kaduna, the EFCC was quick to announce the owner of that money. Now they don’t know the whistle blower in the case of the Ikoyi billions and they are afraid to disclose the owner of the money.
“I am not interested in the prosecution of our son, the former governor, Rotimi Amaechi. We are just interested in the return of Rivers money. God has caught them. If the Federal Government does not leave Rivers State alone, it will never be well with them”.
He stated that unless the federal government returns the illicit fund stolen from Rivers State, the All Progressive Congress (APC) administration will not know peace.
While urging Christian clerics in the state to continue to pray for the administration to have sleepless nights until they effect the refund, Wike informed that the legal team of the state has been briefed and they are ready to commence action.
The governor said, “They are covering corruption because a key player of the administration is involved. This is not a rumour. They know that the money belongs to Amaechi.”
But, in a quick response, the minister of Transportation, Rt. Hon. Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi, described Wike’s claims as malicious, frivolous and another failed attempt to divert attention from the mess he has created in Rivers State.
A statement issued by the Amaechi Media Office reads in part, “Wike has stolen Rivers State dry. Wike and his gang have frittered billions and billions of Naira of Rivers people money away. Rivers State is perpetually in crisis, the state in a mess as Wike has made a total mess of governance in the State. That child who sits there as governor is confused, he doesn’t know what to do. Wike’s only solution is to attack Amaechi.
“Since he became governor, Wike sleeps and wakes up everyday, with a sole, one-point agenda to attack and denigrate Rotimi Amaechi, no matter how ridiculous and silly he sounds. Everyday in Rivers State, there is one frivolous, false story of what Amaechi did or didn’t do.
“Same pattern, the same blatant lies with no proof, same old concocted stories of corruption allegations against Amaechi told with different flavours. At this rate, if Wike is unable to perform his spousal duties, he will blame it on Amaechi. Yes, that’s how despicably low he can go in his consuming fixation to throw mud at Amaechi.
“This latest outburst by Wike is typical of him. We are aware that Wike first tried to float the fake news of Amaechi’s ownership of the recovered $43million and the Ikoyi house in the social media using his minions and lackeys, spending huge sums of Rivers money on the failed project. His minions and lackeys were calling journalists, bloggers and media organizations to run the fake story with promises of almost irresistible mouth-watering compensation for using the fake story.
“When that failed and the story didn’t gain traction that was when Wike decided to hurriedly hold the press conference Friday night, to rant and spew his outright lies, yet again without providing any proof of Amaechi’s ownership of both the property and the money.
“For clarity and emphasis, Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi is not the owner of the $43million and the Ikoyi apartment in which the money was recovered from. Amaechi has no business, link or connection to the money or property. Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi does not know who owns the money or Ikoyi apartment.
“Wike’s malicious allegation of corruption against Amaechi in the sale of the Gas Turbines is not new. This false claim has been punctured repeatedly with facts and evidence of the transfer payments for the power plants into Rivers State government accounts by Sahara Energy.
“The records of how the funds were spent and what it was spent on are in the records of the State government. Amaechi has absolutely no business or any interest whatsoever in Sahara Energy. The company was already a thriving business concern before Amaechi’s emergence as governor of Rivers State in 2007.
“We urge all right-thinking members of the public to completely disregard all the false, politically motivated no-proof claims by Nyesom Wike and his minions as it concerns Amaechi and the $43million and Ikoyi property. The false accusations by Wike is purely diversionary, a political smear campaign against Amaechi by Wike, while he steals Rivers State blind.
“The fake claims is a figment of the imagination of Nyesom Wike, an ignoble fellow who’s so reckless, irresponsible, and disgraceful, and has debased the high office he holds in trust for the people. Wike is a rabble-rouser and should not be taken seriously. He has made several false claims like this in the recent past and never went the whole length to prove it because he had no proof.
“Many would recall how Wike was screaming all over national television stations just before the Rivers State legislative Rerun elections that he had an explosive video, containing earth-shaking revelations and he would show the video on national TV. Till date, no video, just talk talk and talk, telling more and more lies.
“Yet again, we challenge Wike to charge Amaechi to court if he has any shred of evidence that the money belongs to Rivers State and was kept in the Ikoyi apartment by Amaechi. But like his numerous frivolous accusations in the past, we know he won’t go to court. He has nothing to substantiate his blatant lies.
“This Wike’s recent tale like his previous ones is a big sham, a disgraceful political drama, and a campaign of calumny to defame and destroy the sterling reputation of Rotimi Amaechi. This is now Wike’s sole life ambition.”
“Finally, we want Nigerians to note that Wike’s reckless, irresponsible and fictitious tirade against the President Buhari administration at his media briefing of Friday is a declaration of war against the Federal Government. This has been his regular past time in recent times, making false allegations against the Federal government and threatening the President Buhari administration with fire and brimstone.”
But, speaking at the Easter Sunday service held at Saint Peter’s Anglican Church, Rumueprikom in Obio/Akpor local government area of the state, Wike asked Christians in Rivers State to aggressively intercede in prayers to ensure that the federal government returns the $43million dollars found in a luxury apartment in Ikoyi to the state government.
The governor stated that the church has a responsibility to pray that God touches the federal government of Nigeria to return the money to the coffers of Rivers State, because the money belongs to Rivers State Government.
He said, “We need the prayer of the Church, because there is nothing that prayer cannot do. Pray that God should touch the Government of Nigeria, so that they will return the money to us. What we are interested is for the money to come back to us.”
Wike stated that contrary to the false propaganda being peddled by the embattled Minister of Transportation, Rt. Hon. Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi, he has not declared war on the Federal Government, but the Rivers State Government was simply requesting the return of funds belonging to the state.
The governor said, “I cannot declare war on the federal government. Anybody bringing Buhari’s name, should leave Buhari and face his own problems. The issue is who kept the money at the Ikoyi residence. The money was kept there by the Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi. No amount of blackmail, no amount of distraction will stop us from getting our money.”
He stated that between 70 and 80 percent of the All Progressives Congress (APC) campaigns in 2015 were sponsored using funds sourced by the Rivers State Government under the leadership of Rotimi Amaechi, Minister of Transportation.
Wike wondered why security intelligence works on opponents of the Federal Government, but when glaring corruption issues pop up like the Ikoyi case, where billions of Dollars belonging to Rivers State have been found, the war on corruption is suspended and diversionary tactics adopted.
Reacting to the development, the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Rivers State, lambasted Wike, his Ekiti State counterpart, Mr. Ayodele Fayose, and former minister of Aviation, Chief Femi Fani-Kayode, for linking the contentious Ikoyi $43 million to Amaechi.
The party, in a statement by the State Chairman, Chief Davies Ibiamu Ikanya, described the accusation as mischievous, wicked, diabolical, and evil, and urged the three to apologise to the former governor.
It said that allegation was an attempt to smear the former Rivers State’s governor whose only crime was that he led APC to defeat the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the 2015 general elections.
The statement reads, “It is very sad and unfortunate that over two years that Rt. Hon. Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi led APC to dust PDP in the 2015 general elections, the PDP Leadership up till date has refused to forgive Amaechi for disgracing them out of power and salvaging our nation from a system whose corruptive tendency is not only contagious but legendary.
“It is on record that apart from the Abuja residence of Amaechi he has no other single plot of land in any part of this country, so linking him to the ownership of the contentious Ikoyi estate and the huge sum found in it is nothing but an insidious plot to give a dog a bad name in order to hang it.
“It is sad and shameful that a frustrated and disgraceful group with Wike and Fayose as the key actors should attempt to tarnish the hard-earned reputation of Amaechi just because he collaborated with other patriotic Nigerians to oust a regime that is now exposed as the most corrupt ever in the history of Nigeria.
“We sincerely sympathise with Wike, Fayose and Fani-Kayode in this failed plot which has once again exposed them for their lowly type of life, even as we wish to remind them that one day we all shall stand before God Almighty to give account of the type of politics people like them are promoting in Nigeria devoid of integrity and ideology.
“It has become very obvious that Wike and Fayose now derive pleasure from mentioning Amaechi’s name whenever any negative thing happens, in order to remain relevant and revive their dwindling political fortunes. Instead of Wike and Fayose to face the myriad of problems they have created for themselves, PDP and their states, they prefer to preoccupy themselves with how to drag the name of Amaechi into every imaginable controversy.
“Their thinking is that by pulling down Amaechi PDP will come back to power come 2019 to continue with their looting spree and destruction of our economy. They truly deserve sympathy because they are living in a fool’s paradise as Nigerians are now wiser and will never entrust their fate in the hands of wicked and shameless looters like Wike and his co-travellers.
“For the avoidance of doubt, we wish to state that Amaechi has nothing to do with either the Ikoyi estate or the huge sums of money discovered there by EFCC. We urge Nigerians to ignore the antics of the likes of Wike, Fayose and Fani-Kayode.
“Now that the revealing facts before the public domain disassociate Amaechi from this, we hereby request these three rabble-rousers to formally apologise to Amaechi for this false accusation within two weeks or we may be left with no other option than to brief our lawyers accordingly.
“Meanwhile, we urge Wike and his confused government in Rivers State to carry out their threat to sue the Federal Government if by the end of seven days the contentious huge sum is not returned to the Rivers State Government or else they should hide their ugly faces in shame if they should fail to do as threatened.
“We urge the Federal Government for once take the continuous threat from Gov Wike of Rivers State against the Buhari’s administration seriously and call him to order to avoid this confused undemocratic mind from aborting our hard earned democracy abruptly.
“It is unfortunate for Wike to state that the Ikoyi $43 million was part of the proceeds of the Rivers State gas turbines sold during the administration of Amaechi, knowing very well that the money realised from the sale was duly lodged in the coffers of the Rivers State Government and budgeted accordingly.
“Nigerians can now attest that Amaechi stands as the most vilified, persecuted politician in Nigeria for his bravery, patriotism and commitment to work for a better future for our country.
“We remain convinced that God who has seen Amaechi this far will always safeguard him from the Wikes and Fayoses, whose favourite pastime is their obsession to plot Amaechi’s downfall – a satanic project which Almighty God will continue to frustrate to the shame of all the Wikes, Fayoses and Fani-Kayodes of this world.”