The government of Rivers State has broken its silence on the on-going scandals involving judicial officers and Rotimi Amaechi, a former governor of the state and the current minister of transportation.
In an e-mailed statement to The Trent on Friday, November 4, 2016, the government dismissed claims by the Rivers chapter of the All Progressives Congress, APC, which said that Governor Nyesom Wike is behind the scandals that have engulfed Mr. Amaechi in recent weeks.
“The attention of the Rivers State Government has been drawn to yet another scurrilous statement by the Rivers State branch of the All Progressives Congress, APC, alleging that Governor Nyesom Wike had a hand in the judicial scandals that have engulfed Mr. Rotimi Amaechi, the minister of transport,” Austin Tam-George, the state’s commissioner for information and communication said while maintaining that Governor Wike had any role in the “disgraceful plight” of the transportation minister.
“Governor Wike had refrained from making public comments on this subject, because the people of Rivers State feel sadly vindicated by these latest scandals swirling around the transport minister,” part of the statement said.
“In the run up to his screening by the Senate for the post of minister in the federal cabinet in 2015, Nigerians were warned about Mr Amaechi’s egregious antecedents in public office.
“As governor of Rivers State, Mr Amaechi left a shameful record of waste and dysfunction. His thoughtless policies and mismanagement of public funds literally broke the economic spine of Rivers State.
“After his tenure in Rivers State, Mr Amaechi was indicted for stealing public funds by a court-approved panel of inquiry,” he wrote.
Dr. Tam-George also reminded the public that Amaechi has been publicly praised by leaders of the ruling APC for his enormous financial contributions to the presidential campaign of President Muhammadu Buhari. He said that Amaechi’s looting of billions of naira belonging to the people of Rivers State is a serious financial crime against the people of the oil-rich state.
“Amaechi has of course always protested his innocence. But even chieftains of his party, the APC, including serving governors, have publicly praised Mr Amaechi for bankrolling the party’s presidential campaigns in the 2015 general elections, and for sponsoring candidates in that election,” he continued.
“Amaechi’s financial contributions to the APC, estimated to be in billions of Naira, constitute a serious financial crime against the people of Rivers State.
“The allegations made against the transport minister by the justices of the court are therefore hardly surprising, because the scandals fall within a pattern of his moral turpitude in public life.”
The commissioner called for the APC to advice Amaechi to step down to allow for an independent inquiry into the allegations made against him by Supreme Court justices.
“Rather than blame others for Amaechi’s woes , Nigerians expect the APC to ask the minister to step down from office, in order to allow for a dispassionate inquiry into the serious allegations against him,” the statement said further.
“All the federal anti-corruption agencies have so far treated the serious allegations against Mr. Amaechi with the moral timidity of Lucifer’s wife.
“But any war against corruption that does not begin with Mr. Amaechi in the dock is a mere fishing expedition.
“Amaechi’s continuous presence in the federal cabinet is an ugly moral sore, a dark blight on the so-called fight against corruption,” he ended.