Civil rights advocacy group on the aegis of ‘Human Rights Writers Association of Nigeria, (HURIWA)’, has tasked the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), to come clear and tell Nigerians the outcome of its corruption investigation involving the former Minister of Niger Delta Affairs and ex-governor of Akwa Ibom state, Senator Godswill Akpabio.
This was as the group noted that it is unthinkable that the APC in endorsing candidates as part of its zoning arrangement, completely jettisoned the anti-corruption fight with its nomination of Senator Akpabio for the Senate President seat of the 10th National Assembly.
HURIWA, in a statement by its National Coordinator, Comrade Emmanuel Onwubiko, expressed concern and disappointment that in spite of the multiple allegations of heists of public money hanging around Akpabio, the ruling All Progressives Congress still found him fit as its preferred choice for the position of Senate President ahead of the inauguration of the 10th National Assembly in June.
It noted that the EFCC had some few weeks ago asked Akpabio to turn himself in over corruption investigation but, has suddenly gone mute since the politicking for the national positions of the 10th Assembly began.
According to HURIWA; “The EFCC asked Akpabio to personally report to its office on May 9, adding that this was after the former governor shunned previous summons by the anti-graft agency in March and April.
“The EFCC had begun a probe into the alleged theft of N108.1 billion of Akwa Ibom State funds. The EFCC had detained Akpabio over the alleged fraud but later freed him. However, the anti-graft commission reopened Akpabio’s file as governor and minister weeks ago, invited him but kept mum despite that the Senate President hopeful did not honour the invitation by the anti-graft commission.
“Similarly, Senate President Ahmed Lawan on Wednesday set up a seven-member ad-hoc committee to probe the Niger Delta Development Commission (NNDC) under Akpabio for embarking on expenditure amounting to N1.4 trillion without appropriation, a blatant constitutional breach by the NDDC.
“Lawan said the term of reference of the ad hoc committee was to investigate the financial activities of NDDC on the 2021 and 2022 budget estimates.
“We are not saying that Akpabio is guilty as charged but, is there no honour any longer in APC so much so that it has unwittingly stopped EFCC from doing its statutory duty of investigation.
“Are there no Senators-Elect with pristine records free of corruption allegations from the South-South or the South-East to be considered for the position of the number three man?
“We demand from EFCC to provide a straightforward response on the many corruption cases against Akpabio and why the EFCC has not found it imperative to tell the President-elect, Bola Tinubu to distance himself from Akpabio, who is wanted for interrogation over corruption cases.
“Has the EFCC granted pardon to Akpabio because Tinubu has handpicked him as Senate President even with multiple allegations of heists of public money? This is a bad precedence for the incoming government,” HURIWA said.