- Governor Nyesom Wike has said he will not let the issue of the N13billion found in an Ikoyi apartment, die down
- Wike said he is certain the money belongs to Rivers state government and must be returned to the state's coffers
- Wike said he has his eyes on the FG's investigative panel which was set up to look into the issue
Governor Nyesom Wike of Rivers state has said that he would continue to fight for the release and return of the N13billion found in an apartment in Ikoyi, Lagos state.
Wike said that he is certain that the money belongs to the people and government of Rivers state.
The governor noted in an interview with Channels TV that he still awaits the summon of the federal government’s panel set up to investigate the ownership of the "mysterious Ikoyi cash".
Wike had claimed that the fund, which has now been forfeited to the federal government, belonged to Rivers state.
In the interview on Tuesday, June 20, Wike said although the court had ordered a final forfeiture to the government, no judgement was final.
He said: “Let the panel release the report of their findings on the money. We have claimed ownership of the money and it is only right for us to be given a fair hearing.
“We have facts to prove that the money belongs to the River State Government. No judgment can be a final.”
NAIJ.com had earlier reported that Wike said he was currently working with some lawyers to make sure the $43m recently discovered by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) from a building in Ikoyi, Lagos was returned to Rivers state government.
Governor Wike speaking on Channels TV programme, Sun Rise Daily, on Friday, May 26, insisted that the money belonged to Rivers state and that no amount of threats would stop the state from recovering it.
The governor said the federal government had refused to release the money to Rivers state even when it knows that the money belongs to the state.
He said: "You and I know these people will never agree that the money belongs to Rivers, even when they know the bitter truth.
"They want it in a hard way and we are ready to use every means to recover that money.
“Is it not embarrassing that the EFCC has not come out to tell us who owns the money?
Everybody knows the money belongs to Rivers but they don’t want to release it."
Similarly, a source has disclosed that the National Intelligence Agency (NIA) is planning to officially apply to reclaim the $43 million, £27,000 and N23 million recovered by the anti-graft agency from the Ikoyi apartment.
The source said that President Muhammadu Buhari was aware that the money was NIA’s and had even inspected some of its covert operations on which part of the money was spent.
NAIJ.com recalls that operatives of the EFCC, acting on a tip-off on Wednesday, April 12, said they found $43,449,947, £27,800 and N23, 218,000 hidden inside an apartment at Osborne Towers, Ikoyi. The funds are valued at N13 billion based on prevailing exchange rate set by the Central Bank of Nigeria.
The NIA laid claims to the money after some top personalities denied ownership of the money According to the source, the director-general of NIA had a conversation that lasted about one hour with acting EFCC chairman, Ibrahim Magu, prior to the invasion of the house but was ignored.
Meanwhile, following the continued heated argument between him and Rotimi Amaechi, Governor Nyesom Wike of Rivers state, has said that the successes he has recorded are a thing of concern to his predecessor.
Wike said Aamechi is angry with him because of his nickname “Mr. Project.”
The remark was made while Wike was reacting to statements by Amaechi, who criticized the title “Mr. Project” ascribed to him.
Speaking in Port Harcourt, the state capital, on Monday, June 19, the governor described Amaechi’s alleged criticism on projects and programmes across the state as unfortunate, saying, “It is unfortunate that someone who was celebrating his 52nd birthday would tell Rivers people what is not correct.”
Below is a video in which NAIJ.com visited Evans the kidnapper's house, asking Lagosians how they think the kingpin should be punished.