The White Paper : The Unfortunate Looting of Rivers Resources By Simeon Nwakaudu

Rivers State is one state that had her resources  recklessly  plundered by  officials and friends of the immediate  past administration of Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi to  the extent that no funds were left for the then incoming  Nyesom-Wike led administration  to effectively  take off. 
To cover up this ungodly  deliberate  squandering  of State resources,  Chibuike  Rotimi  Amaechi  refused to write  a  handover  note. He chose to play the Ostrich. 
However,  Amaechi  gave Nigerians  an insight  into the ugly financial  condition  of  Rivers State  on May 18, 2015 during a post election  meeting. 
Amaechi said : ” I’m not joking, we have no money anywhere. In Rivers State, no money. I think Nyesom Wike is coming, we are waiting. He will look for money for salary; there is none… we will see if any of them…can build the schools, the roads, even to get a loan”.
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After getting  over N3trillion during his eight years in government,  Amaechi  failed to leave funds for the development  of  the state.  Rather, he crippled  the financial base of the  state  in pursuit of unnecessary  political  goals.
Despite wasting the resources  of the state,  former Governor Rotimi Amaechi went ahead  to  sell valuable assets of  the state to friends  and  cronies.  Resources  that accrued from the sale of these resources  ended up in private accounts. 
Several  petitions by concerned  groups have been written  to the anti-corruption agencies and the National  Assembly  on the unfortunate  looting  of  Rivers State resources by officials  of the Amaechi  administration.  The agencies  are yet to act.
On his own, Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Ezenwo Wike  set up the Judicial Commission of Inquiry for the  investigation of the administration of Governor Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi on the  sale of valued assets of Rivers State and other related matters under the  chairmanship of Justice George Omereji. 
The judicial commission of Inquiry met legal obstacles  as Mr Amaechi  approached  the  courts. His objection to the sitting of the commission  was set aside. The Commission  sat publicly and released its report. The report has since been backed  by  a  white paper  issued by  the  Rivers State Government. 
The former Rivers State Governor, Rotimi Amaechi and some of his former Commissioners were indicted by the commission for alleged diversion of State funds. These indictments  were accepted by  the  White Paper  Committee, which also clearly accepted  the relevant  recommendations  of the Justice Omereji  Judicial Commission of Inquiry. 
It is necessary  to point  out  a few of these indictments  as contained  in  the  report of the  Justice  Omereji Judicial  Commission  of  Inquiry  and the  White Paper  released by the Rivers State Government. 
On the  sale of  the  power assets, the Judicial  Commission  of  Inquiry indicted Former Governor Rotimi Amaechi along with his former  commissioners of finance and power, Dr Chamberlain Peterside and Sir Augustine  Wokocha  respectively for allegedly engaging  in defective  share sales contract.  The office  of  the  Attorney-General of the state  was directed  to  take measures to recover  proceeds of  the sale of  the  power assets. 
On the  Monorail  Project,  the Justice  Omereji Judicial Commission of Inquiry recommended  the  following  in its report which was accepted  by the Rivers State Government : “The commission  recommends the recovery of the  total sum of N35,108,316,295.65 from Brigadier-General Anthony Ukpo,  TSI Limited,  Former Governor Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi and George Tolofari for being  the masterminds behind the  failed monorail project. “
On the  failed non-existent Karibi-Whyte Specialist Hospital,  the Judicial Commission  of  Inquiry  indicted former Rivers State  Governor, Rotimi Amaechi,  his then Health Commissioner Dr Sampson Parker and Clinotech Company. The State Attorney-General was directed  to recover N4.6bn  from them. 
Former  Rivers State Governor, Rotimi Amaechi was also indicted by the  Judicial  Commission of Inquiry  for the misappropriation  of N3billion  CBN agriculture  loan which was diverted to the  funding  of  the  prosecution  of  the 2015 general elections. The said money was shared to former local government  council chairmen and political  associates instead being  disbursed  to farmers.
One of the  most unpatriotic  actions was the misuse of the State Reserve fund by the Amaechi  administration.  This fund was saved at the height of the excess crude proceeds. The State lost over N40 billion due to illegal  withdrawals  not backed by  due process. 
While indicting Amaechi  for this disservice  to  the  people  of  the state,  the Judicial  Commission of Inquiry wrote: “considering the illegality surrounding the withdrawals,  the former Governor of Rivers State, Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi should  be  held  to account “.
The National  Assembly  refused to  deliberate on the report of its Ethics and Privileges Committee on petitions  written against the  former Governor.  They allowed political  consideration  to becloud overriding  National  Interest.  The Report of the Judicial Commission of Inquiry and the White Paper  issued by  the  Rivers State Government  are with the EFCC  and the ICPC,  but like the National Assembly,  political  interest rather than  National  Interest has prevailed.  
The APC  National Secretariat  is aware of this unfortunate  circle of fraud, but nobody expects them to  raise any questions  because they are the biggest beneficiaries  of this proven fraud and rape of the finances of Rivers State.  After all,  majority  of  them confessed on national  television  during the ill-fated reception  for Amaechi  at the International Conference Centre. 
Amaechi  had the privilege  of  running  Rivers State at her most financially  solvent era. He had N3trillion at his disposal  for eight years , but chose to abuse the trust bestowed on him. He preferred the mismanagement  of  resources  to the deployment  of  same for the development  of  the  state.  He expended huge resources on propaganda  and  politics while the Rivers people  remained impoverished. 
Rather than build on the foundations  laid by his predecessors,  Amaechi  used the proverbial  bulldozer  to pull down all structures  within sight. 
If Amaechi had worked, there wouldn’t  have  been  any reason  for Governor Nyesom Ezenwo Wike  to be tackling the  basics of development  at this time. This is why more than ever before, Governor Wike  needs to  be fully supported by all to further  concentrate  on  building  a new Rivers State.  The work has started and there is no stopping the  train  till it gets to 2019 in the first instance. 
All these distracting  noises sponsored  by  Amaechi  will only serve as comic relief and nothing more. The people of the state know Amaechi  and his handbag very well. They can never be allowed to have their sticky fingers on the resource base of the state.
Simeon Nwakaudu is the Special Assistant on Electronic Media to Governor Nyesom Wike 


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