- Governor Nyesom Wike spoke with journalists at the Rivers Government House explaining how the money was discovered to belong to the state
- The governor gave the federal government only even days to return the fund to the state or face legal action
Governor Nyesom Wike of Rivers state has given the federal government an ultimatum of seven days to return the $43 million found in a luxury apartment in Ikoyi, Lagos.
The governor warns that failure to return the money to the state will force his government to take legal measures to ensure that it gets it.
Governor Wike declared that the $43 million found in the apartment belongs to the Rivers state government claiming that investigations by the government revealed that the money was the proceed from the sale of gas turbines by the immediate past Governor Rotimi Amaechi.
Legit.ng reports that Amaechi, the current minister of Transport under President Muhammadu Buhari, has denied he owns the money.
Addressing journalists at the Government House, Port Harcourt in the night of Friday, April 14, Governor Wike 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 $319 million.
“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 $319 million to $204,000 . What was stashed at the Ikoyi residence was part of that fund.”
A statement by Simeon Nwakaudu, the special assistant to the governor on electronic media, and obtained by Legit.ng, quoted the governor as saying further: “We have facts to prove that the said money belongs to the Rivers state government. The federal government must return our money.”
Governor Wike said all the stories being peddled about the money belonging to the National Intelligence Agency are false and mere face saving measures by the embattled APC federal government.
“As I speak to you, the federal government is so embarrassed that this has happened. All the stories that the money belongs to the NIA are fake,” the governor said while challenging 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 Rivers state government.
Wike said the Rivers 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.
He also said as long as the federal government continues to disturb the progress of Rivers state, so long would God throw the government at the centre into confusion.
"We are giving them seven days to return our money. Otherwise, we would take legal action to recover our money. $43 million will help us complete several projects. We need that money for projects," he said.