[Interview]–Senate President Bukola Saraki has described the issue of the $43.4m, £27,800 and N23.2m cash recovered by Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) at Osborne Towers, in Ikoyi, Lagos as a circus that has to come to an end.
On Wednesday, April 12, EFCC had announced a discovery of the massive stash of monies in the 7th Floor of a four – bedroom apartment at Osborne Towers located at 16, Osborne road Ikoyi, Lagos.
The next day, a federal High Court ordered that the funds be temporarily forfeited to the Federal Government and anyone interested in the funds to show up before it on May 5 to show cause why the money should not be permanently forfeited to the Federal Government.
Two days later, the National Intelligence Agency (NIA),a government security agency tasked with overseeing foreign intelligence and counterintelligence operations in Nigeria, through its director, Ambassador Ayodele Oke came forward to claim its ownership saying that the money was meant for a “covert operation”.
The issue has since degenerated into a national controversy as many believed the government and the EFCC are trying to protect the real owners of the money.
Saraki, in an interview on Arise News Network, stated that the anti-graft agency is under obligation to inform Nigerians who the money belonged to.
“I believe this is something simple that the organisation (EFCC) should manage, even before the speculation started coming out. The circus has to come to end as to whether it belongs to individuals, companies, agencies or a state government,” he said.
“We, however, believe they will sort it out and eventually tell Nigerians who owns the money. Nigerians deserve to know. The circus must stop.”
When asked if the EFCC made an error by not monitoring the Osborne Towers, Saraki said: “I would rather not comment and prejudge them because they might come before us.
“But clearly, Nigerians must know, to save us this embarrassment. I believe they should come out and tell us who owns the money. I believe an agency like this should monitor and clear this mess.”
Before Saraki, Mr. Ayodele Fayose, the Ekiti State Governor, had earlier alleged that the Federal Government and the EFCC are conspiring to sweep the matter under the carpet.
In his words, “If truly the NIA was carrying out a “covert operation” as claimed, was President Muhammadu Buhari not briefed of the so-called “covert operation” when he took over power?”
“This, to my mind, is one cover-up too many and this federal government’s seeming plot to protect the original owner of both the money and the apartment where it was found has further shown that the anti-corruption fight is political, selective and therefore a ruse.”
Similarly, Ezebunwo Nyesom Wike, the Rivers state Governor had asked Rivers Christians on Sunday to aggressively intercede in prayers for the return of the money as he claimed that “the money was kept there by the Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi and no amount of blackmail, no amount of distraction will stop us from getting our money.”Please Follow Us @ThePageNg