The Accountability Watchdog Nigeria has noted with dismay a disingenuous press statement by the former Minister of Transportation, Rt. Hon Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi, alleging plot by unnamed persons to smear him by linking his family to the obscene sleaze currently ravaging the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC), headed by Acting Managing Director, Prof. Nelson Brambaifa.
While we are not concerned with the sanctimonious posturing of the former Minister about his character and integrity, we will not fail to state that Amaechi’s character is an open book before Rivers people in particular and Nigerians in general, having served in public offices since 1999 till date with all the attendant controversies trailing his public and private deals. No posturing in the media will change the impression that Nigerians have of his “character and integrity”.
What is intolerable and of utmost concern to us however, is that the former Minister’s press release is a carefully orchestrated strategy to prejudice an ongoing discreet investigation by the EFCC into acts of unbridled corruption running into billions of naira alleged to have been perpetrated by the current NDDC board. The former Minister’s press release is also clearly an attempt to use his proximity to the Presidency to muddle up issues, brew needless sentiments, raise red herring all in a bid to intimidate the EFCC from discharging its constitutional duties and that is not acceptable.
It is a known fact that the former Minister of Transportation singlehandedly nominated all members of the present board of NDDC who are all his known political associates for many years standing. Dr Oyirinda, Amaechi’s kinsman who is the EDFA, and Prof Brambaifa, the Acting MD, respectively report to the Minister and reconcile figures at the close of work everyday at the former Minister’s Old GRA home in Port Harcourt.
Also of importance is the fact that the EFCC has traced over four billion naira of the Commission’s money to the business bank account of Dame Judith Amaechi, wife of the former Minister of Transportation. The money was transferred in different tranches from NDDC’s account with a commercial bank into the bank account of the wife of the former Minister.
The former Minister himself has in the last three months on different occasions given several instructions via phone calls to his relative, the acting EDFA, Dr Chris Oyirinda Amadi, to give certain big men in Abuja hundreds of millions of naira which cumulatively has ran into billions of naira. Funds meant for the development of the region have been recklessly deployed to further Amaechi’s politics dwindling in Abuja.
It is worrisome to note that before the last gubernatorial election in Rivers State, the Acting EDFA, Dr Chris Amadi, reportedly delivered a whopping five billion naira in cash to Rt Hon Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi at his old GRA Port Harcourt residence, funds which the former Minister deployed to cause mayhem in Rivers State during the elections.
These, among other financial malfeasance going on in the commission is the subject of EFCC’s investigation. To therefore state that “Rotimi Amaechi is not involved in anyway, in the management and operations of the NDDC” is to tell a lie that assaults the sensibilities of the people of Niger Delta. The present board of the NDDC report directly to Rotimi Amaechi, and there is nobody in Niger Delta who do not know that.
To leave the substance of these serious issues bordering on reckless corruption and cry wolf of imaginary “well funded campaign of calumny against Amaechi” is to deliberately deceive members of the public. The former Minister, by his actions, is a heavy burden on the celebrated integrity of President Buhari and continues to be a whitlow on the finger of this administration’s anti corruption stance.
The former Minister must desist from bullying the EFFCC from discharging its legitimate functions. Any further attempt to do that will activate the plan of Accountability Watchdog Nigeria to hold a world press conference on this shameful action of the former Minister and show documents proving these allegations already in our custody.
Director, Research and Strategy,
Accountability Watchdog Nigeria,
Leo Road, Akure, Ondo State.