Ikoyi Cash: Senator Blows Whistle At Plenary ‘on Behalf Of Constituents’
SAN FRANCISCO, April 27, (THEWILL) – In a drama that seems like a metaphorical extension of the Federal Government’s whistle blower policy to the floor of the Senate, the lawmaker representing Rivers East, Senator George Sekibo on Thursday blew a whistle during Senate's plenary.
He however did this to insist that the $49 million recovered at an Ikoyi apartment in Lagos belongs to the Rivers State Government and to call on his colleagues to investigate the issue.
The lawmaker, who got up during the Senate sitting at about 11.07am, brought out a whistle which he blew thrice to protest the refusal of the Federal Government to return the recovered amount.
THEWILL had exclusively reported the National Intelligence Agency, NIA, as claiming ownership of the $43,449,947, £27,800 and N23, 218,000 seized by the EFCC from Osborne Towers, a luxury residential complex in Ikoyi, Lagos, said to be owned by ex-National Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, Mr. Adamu Muazu.
But Sekibo caused the stir on the floor even before the presiding officer, Senator Ike Ekweremadu could intervene to stop him.
The Rivers lawmaker pleaded with his colleagues to mount pressure on the Federal Government and the EFCC to commence moves on how to return the funds to the Governor Nyesom Wike-led government in his state.
He maintained that the said money was allegedly looted by the immediate-past governor of Rivers State and current Minister of Transportation, Mr Rotimi Amaechi.
Sekibo recalled that the Rivers government had earlier petitioned the upper legislative chamber about a $700 million missing from the state but the matter became political.
His words, “We appreciate the effort of the president for setting up a committee to look into it. Also appreciate the fact that Nigerians are worried that the money that does not belong to anybody was lodged in a private apartment.”
“Mr. President we are worried of the claims of the DG NIA and the attorney-general of the federation that the money belongs to NIA and it was approved for covert operations.”
“We are worried because at the end of every budget year, every such funds not used by agencies are usually returned to the coffers of the federation, which is central bank.”
“We have a suspicion and our suspicion is coming through this direction – the Rivers government had forwarded a petition claiming the loss of over $700 million allegedly taken by the former governor of the state and we pray the senate to do something about it at the time but it became too political.”
“That was a whistle that the Rivers government blew at the time. We are coming back to say that money found in 7b – we have done our interim investigation by the Rivers state government and we are blowing the whistle the second time. We trust the capacity of the vice-president as the chairman of the investigative team. And on behalf of my constituents, I am blowing the whistle a second time.”
However, this plea by Sekibo did not gain any support as Ekweremadu told him that since the case was already being investigated by the House of Representatives, there was no need for the Senate to commence the same exercise.
He maintained it would be unreasonable to commence a fresh investigation and argued that since it was the same National Assembly, it would appear ridiculous.
The presiding officer further enjoined the Rivers lawmaker to pass a message to the Rivers State Government to send all necessary documents to the House of Representatives adhoc committee probing the recovered money.