By Henry Umoru & Joseph Erunke
ABUJA – FORMER governor of Akwa Ibom State and senator representing Akwa Ibom North West, Godswill Akpabio,yesterday,explained that his visit last week to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission was voluntary.
Akpabio, who is representing his constituency, on the platform of the Opposition Peoples Democratic Party,PDP,however, said he was earlier invited by the commission,but said the invitation was a long time ago.
Speaking with newsmen, in Abuja, the Senate Minority Leader said: “I was invited by the EFCC but that was a long time ago, just before my accident and I said okay, that when I am fit, I Will go to see them to respond to the allegation that they said a young lawyer wrote against me.”
“So, when I was chanced on Friday, I went there on my own to listen to them, to go through the petitions and make my response and thereafter, I was allowed to go and I was admitted on bail.
“I think that is in line with their procedure, so it wasn’t a function of an arrest.
“It was a voluntary decision on my part as a law abiding citizen to go there. I heard that some youths were very disturbed in various parts of the Niger Delta.
“It wasn’t a problem. I feel as a law abiding citizen people write petitions against you. As a lawyer, we believe in let the other side be heard,”he added.
Senator Akpabio spoke further: “The problem we have is the way sometimes things are publicised. Allegation is not guilt and then of course the blotted figures that we see.
“If somebody has a petition against you for N20 billion, they will write N200 billion or N10 billion, they will then say trillion, it goes all over the world that so and so person is standing trial.
“In fact, it almost like judgment, the way the press reports it. Outside that, I think it is a civic responsibility and the right thing for me to do as a senator that if a petition is written against me, I should go and answer so that they will have an informed judgment but that does not mean that is admission of guilt no.”
He stressed: “I just want to urge all my people in Akwa Ibom State who probably were disturbed to know that such monies were not missing from the coffers of the state, that is the simple truth and if we had such additional sums as he mentioned, we would have done more for the state.
“It unarguably accepted worldwide even by the international community that my eight years tenure was a revolution in infrastructure, in human capital development in education.
” Many of you are not even aware that I even built a state university in 2010 and by the time I was leaving office in 2015, I graduated the first set of students.
” Many people are not aware of that, not to talk of the fly- overs all over Uyo, 37 bridges constructed. We are now looking at three brand new international hotels, Le Meridian Hotel, the Hilton Hotel, the Sheraton hotel, when all of them are put to use, they are economic enablers.
“Then we have the hospital, which is about five stories,the hospital, it will take you about three hours to go through the ground floor.”