Omeiza Ajayi – Abuja
Ahead of the November 16 governorship election in Bayelsa State, the All Progressives Congress (APC) has asked the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) and the Nigerian Financial Intelligence Unit (NFIU) to urgently investigate and freeze bank accounts belonging to the Bayelsa State government to avoid suspicious withdrawal of funds just days before the elections.
In a statement issued in Abuja, the Deputy National Secretary of the APC, Yekini Nabena, alleged that about N17.5 billion was recently withdrawn from the state government’s accounts.
He added that the money was illegally withdrawn on the orders of the state governor, Seriake Dickson, to prosecute the governorship election.
The APC spokesman asked the anti-graft agencies to track down the already withdrawn sum and arrest the state officials who allegedly oversaw the illegal withdrawals.
He said: “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 showed 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 They must also track down the already withdrawn N17.5 billion and arrest the State Commissioner for Finance, Mr.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.
“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, the PDP and APC members, supporters and leaders in the state ahead of the governorship election.