The government of Rivers state has asked Nigeria’s minister of transportation Rotimi Amaechi, to account for proceeds from the sale of $308 million gas turbine power stations formerly owned by the state.
The state commissioner of information and culture Emma Okah in a statement on Monday said instead of explaining why he took “contagious economic steps” as governor, Amaechi is blackmailing the state government.
Okah said Amaechi’s alleged collusion with the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) to harass the state would not work.
The commissioner said Olympia Hotel and other high valued state assets were also sold under suspicious circumstances.
His words: “The Justice Omereji Commission of Inquiry investigated the spurious sales and indicted the minister for transportation. Instead of refunding the money, the minister rushed to court to set aside the findings of the commission,” the statement read.
“He lost at the high court and at the court of appeal. His appeal to the supreme court has been abandoned, because for over a year, he has failed to file a brief of argument.
“This is why the minister is arm-twisting his party members in the state and forcing Mr. Tonye Cole on them as their anointed flag bearer in the 2019 governorship polls. There is need to cover the skeletons in the cupboard.
“Instead of explaining why he took such contagious economic steps against the state, the former Rivers governor is busy blackmailing the government of Rivers State and supporting the EFCC to disobey existing court orders and harass the government of Rivers State and its officials.
“For the avoidance of doubts, Rivers state government is not against the fight against corruption. Our case is that there are two perpetual court injunctions restraining the commission from investigating the finances of Rivers state government and until those injunctions are vacated by a superior court, the commission is duty bound in law to respect it irrespective of how worried the former governor may feel today.
“It is therefore very funny that the same person who told the EFCC to leave the state alone in 2010 is urging the same commission to invade the state even when the injunctions have not been vacated.
“The Rivers state government assures the transport minister that the law has not changed and the facts remain the same and so his collusion with the commission to harass Rivers state government and her officials will not work.”
Recalls that Amaechi was governor of Rivers from 2007 to 2015. The gas turbines were sold to Sahara Energy, a company owned by Tonye Cole, governorship aspirant of APC.