Rochas Okorocha Unveils Buhari Statue In Imo State as EFCC Beckons

by Bamidele Ogunberu Last updated on May 29th, 2019,

Governor Rochas okorocha of Imo state has unveiled the statue of the President of Nigeria, Muhammadu Buhari. This is coming less than two weeks to his handover to the New administration.

The president who was scheduled for an official visit to the state on Tuesday 21st had to postpone it because of his trip to Saudi Arabia for lesser Hajj.

It’s one of the numerous projects to be commissioned by the president.

President Muhammadu Buhari has postponed his one-day visit to Imo state earlier fixed for Tuesday, May 20.

President Buhari was to be in the state to commission a statue in honour of himself constructed by the Imo state government. A team of aides and newsmen had already arrived Owerri for the much-awaited visit, The Cable reports.

Sam Onwuemeodo, the chief press secretary to Governor Rochas Okorocha, in a statement, said that the postponement was due to the fact the president is still in Saudi Arabia where he performed the Muslim holy pilgrimage.

The statement said: “We humbly wish to inform the general public and Imo people in particular that His Excellency, the president and Commander -in-Chief of the Armed Forces of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, Muhammadu Buhari GCFR, has not returned from Saudi Arabia where he is at the moment with other Muslims from all parts of the world on pilgrimage.

“Against the backdrop of this development, the scheduled visit of the president to Imo state for the commissioning of some key projects of Governor Rochas Okorocha on Tuesday May 21, 2019 (today) has been postponed.”

Pleaded for understanding of the people of the state, the statement said that a new date for the visit will also be released soon.

President Buhari was to pay a one-day visit to Imo state on Tuesday, May 21. As part of his engagements, the president was expected to commission the multi-billion Sam Mbakwe International Cargo Airport.

A statement signed by the chief press secretary to the governor, Sam Onwuemeodo, said the president would also commission the ultra-modern police headquarters, the magnificent prison headquarters.

EFCC Is Investigating Rochas Okorocha – Magu

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (efcc) has confirmed that it is investigating Governor Rochas okorocha of Imo State. Acting chairman of the anti-graft agency, Mr Ibrahim Magu, affirmed this during an exclusive interview with Channels Television in London.

Asked if an investigation is ongoing regarding the governor, he responded, “definitely”. “Of course, we are doing a couple of checks and investigations here and there. We are investigating almost everybody,” the efcc boss added. He noted that the commission has to get to a certain level before it can disclose any information about an ongoing investigation.

Mr Magu explained that this was necessary to prevent any action that can jeopardise or interfere with the process of the inquiry. According to him, Governor okorocha is one of the many people being investigated by the commission. The efcc boss said although he was aware of reports of the investigation on the social media, the details the anti-graft agency has was different from what was in the public space.

He, however, declined to disclose it. Magu is in the United Kingdom to meet with investigators assisting the Nigerian government in solving cases of money laundering and financial crimes. Recently, Governor okorocha gave an indication that he was under the spotlight of the efcc, saying he is the most investigated governor in the country.

EFCC also  disclosed that it’s investigating Okorocha and the state government for a case of money laundering.

The Commission’s zonal head for South East, Usman Imam during a briefing yesterday said the state government used funds meant for workers during the just concluded elections.

Usman stated that the Commission’s operatives blocked accounts belonging to the state government in the build-up to the election, following a tip-off.

According to Usman, efcc’s timely intervention saved the state over N5bn that would have been deployed for vote buying by the okorocha’s administration.

He said: “About N7.9bn is what had been blocked, although with pressure, subsequently, about N2.5bn was released for salaries. On the whole, we have over N5bn of those funds blocked; we are following up to see what actually happened.

“Honestly, what we discovered was that within two days, N700m was withdrawn in cash; N200m on the first day and N500m on the second day and all these monies were disbursed in a manner that was honestly unpalatable.

“Distribution to school teachers; I don’t know, schools that you were not funding and you wake up on the eve of the election and withdrew N500m cash and start distributing N1000 each or so to teachers. Whatever that means, I don’t know.

“When we came in, we were able to save about seventy something millions of the funds that we discovered were not disbursed, we also blocked it. People are still answering questions as to who asked them to move those monies, monies that were blocked at the banks.

“The sad story about this was that these monies were the intervention funds; the bailout funds that the Federal Government released to states to pay salaries when they were having problems paying salaries.

“They didn’t utilize that money to pay the salaries; they warehoused it and kept it until the election period, they started attempting to draw down the money. Whatever happens, we have saved over N5bn of that money, as we talk, two weeks to handover. Probably, the next government would have that money to use it better. There are a lot of other general investigations going on in Imo right now.”

Okorocha Gives Reasons Why He Is Worried of EFCC Investigation

Governor Rochas Okorocha of Imo State has said he is indeed worried over statements credited to the Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, efcc, Ibrahim Magu and the South East Zonal Head of the Commission, Mr.Usman Imam that he (Okorocha) is being investigated by the Commission.

Okorocha reacting through a statement by his Chief Press Secretary, Sam Onweuemdo said the two statements made by the efcc South East Co coordinator and the Commission’s Chairman is a clear indication “that those behind the drama over his Certificate of Return have not gone to sleep but have continued to spread their dragnets or tentacles”

The statement reads

“On Monday, May 20, 2019, the Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crime Commission, efcc, Alhaji Ibrahim Magu was quoted to have told Journalists at a Press Conference in London that the Commission was investigating Governor Rochas Okorocha over the bailout fund.

“Also on Friday, May 17, 2019 the Commission’s Zonal Head for South-East, Mr. Usman Imam held a Press Conference in Enugu where he told the world too that the Commission was investigating Governor Okorocha.

“So, Mr. Imam holding his own Press Conference on Okorocha on Friday, May 17, 2019 in Enugu and the Chairman of the Commission himself Alhaji Magu holding his own press conference also on Okorocha, on Monday, May 20, 2019, and only two days after, raises genuine concern. And has also added fillip to the governor’s earlier worry that those behind the drama over his Certificate of Return have not gone to sleep but have continued to spread their dragnets or tentacles.

“If you ask us, we won’t join issues with the efcc as an Institution and with Alhaji Magu as an individual. Investigating individuals, governments, institutions etc, is part of the Commission’s own rules of engagement and nobody should prevent them or begrudge them for doing that. We only pray that the Commission should not allow undue infiltration.

“Good enough, both Alhaji Magu and Mr. Imam never accused the governor of mismanagement or diversion, looking at the Contents of their Press Conferences. They confirmed that the Commission is in Custody of the money. Out of the N8billion they quoted, they also confirmed that N7.9billion is what they blocked. Then, what is Owelle’s case? And the governor is not owing salary.

“Mr. Imam also threw a kite which could not fly when he told his audience that if not for their timely intervention “Over N5billion would have allegedly been deployed in vote-buying by Okorocha’s administration”. How he arrived at that conclusion is what he never said. In other words, he believed what the petitioners wrote. Since investigation is still on, perhaps, at the end of it, the truth will become clearer especially when the incident happened long before the 2019 elections. And one could not have bought votes in the vacuum. Ultimately, vote-buying must be on the election day and perhaps, at the Polling Units where the voters were expected to be.

“Alhaji Magu is doing a good job as the head of the efcc. But he should keep the 5th Columnists at arms length. He should not eat with them even with the longest spoon. With more than one thousand landmark and verifiable projects to his credit, Governor Okorocha must have managed the resources of the State in his time as governor with high sense of prudence. And for patriotic Imo people, he remains the Defending Champion of the Imo governorship since what he has achieved in eight years exceeded all that those before him had achieved put together.

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