By Ovasa Ogaga, ADVOCATENG.COM-
Nigeria ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) has alleged that a whooping sum of N17.5 billion was allegedly withdraw recently in suspicious circumstances from Bayelsa state government’s accounts by Governor Chief Seriake Dickson proxies ahead of the governorship election.
The party therefore called on anti-corruption agencies, Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) and the Nigerian Financial Intelligence Unit (NFIU) to freeze the state government account and also trace the money which they say was withdrawn a by government proxies recently.
The party’s Deputy National Publicity Secretary, Mr. Yekini Nabena, who made the call in a statement issued in Abuja on Sunday, also called for the arrest of the state’s Commissioner for Finance, Mr. Maxwell Ebibai, for allegedly overseeing the said ‘illegal withdrawals’.
He charged to two anti-corruption agencies to unravel the whereabouts of the said funds, which he alleged were withdrawn on the orders of the state governor, Chief Seriake Dickson.
According to the party spokesman, who is also an indigene of Bayelsa state, the state government, under the watch of Governor Dickson, had engaged in the alleged illegal disbursement of the said sum, with the intention of using same to prosecute the upcoming governorship election.
“In the last two weeks the Bayelsa state government has, in highly suspicious circumstances, made several withdrawals to the tune of N17.5 billion, without any corresponding project to justify the withdrawals. Insider reports we received stated that Governor Seriake Dickson approved the illegal withdrawals to fund the election of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) governorship candidate in the state.
“The EFCC and the NFIU must urgently freeze the state government accounts to stop further illegal withdrawals. They must also track down the already withdrawn N17.5 billion and arrest the State Commissioner for Finance, Mr. Maxwell Ebibai who oversaw the illegal withdrawals.
“Our sources reported that some of the cash is stashed in the Governor’s Toru-Orua country home. Others have been laundered by the Commissioner for Finance, through the Bayelsa Development and Investment Corporation (BDIC).
“When I spoke to journalists last week, I had raised alarm over the Governor openly boasting that he has the money to pay the police and army, including their retirement benefits, if they work for him in the elections.
“It is now clear that Governor Dickson is bent on using the federal allocation meant for Bayelsans to rig the election and install his stooge. He also plans to use public funds to sponsor new militant camps and the illegal activities of the state security outfit, Operation Doo Akpo, which he is using to harass political opponents in his party PDP and APC members, supporters and leaders in the state ahead of the governorship election”, he said.
Efforts to get a reaction from the Bayelsa State government on the allegation of illegally diverting state funds to votes buying purposes were unsuccessful as Chief Press Secretary (CPS) to the state governor, Mr Fidelis Soriwe, would not talk on the matter when reached on phone, saying “I’m in a meeting. I’ll call you back”.