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APC demands probe of Wike’s tenure as minister

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The Rivers State chapter of the All progressives Congress has demanded the investigation of Governor Nyesom Wike’s tenure as minister.

The APC, which made the demand in a statement by its chairman, Davies Ikanya, on Sunday, also expressed support for President Muhammadu Buhari’s bid to investigate and recover the billions of naira allegedly looted by the immediate past administration of Goodluck Jonathan.

Mr. Wike served in the last Peoples Democratic Party-led federal administration as minister of state for education. He resigned on October 22, 2014 to contest the governorship election.

The APC asked Mr. Buhari to pay particular attention to Mr. Wike’s tenure as minister in his bid to recover public funds from the officials of the last administration.

“The Rivers APC appealed to President Buhari to pay particular attention to one of the major pipes of corruption of the past administration, namely, Ministry of Education under the watch of Barr Nyesom Wike as the Supervising Minister,” it said.

The party specifically asked the president to thoroughly investigate the following areas:

-The N20 billion voted for the purchase of books for Federal Government institutions which was allegedly not duly executed as no book was purchased or distributed;

-The Almajiri School Scheme, the Universal Basic Education (UBEC) and the Tertiary Education Trust Fund (TETFUND);

-The N87 billion allegedly approved for the Ministry but not utilized;

-The whereabouts of the 15 UBEC Toyota Hilux buses that Wike allegedly commandeered for his gubernatorial election campaign, which he has refused to return to the Federal Ministry of Education thereby hampering official activities in the Commission; and

-The over N180 Billion UBEC funds allegedly looted by Chief Wike and Dame Patience Jonathan through fraudulent contracts for the supply of textbooks to higher institutions. (The textbooks were never supplied.)

The APC linked the recent fire that razed down only the Basic Education Section of the Ministry of Education building in Abuja to Mr. Wike’s, alleging that the section contained relevant indicting documents about the former minister’s Wike’s activities while he held sway as the Supervising Minister of Education.

It said, “We should unravel why the fire incident took place and why only this section should be burnt. Was it for the sole purpose of covering up the illegal transactions of the immediate past Supervising Minister of Education, Chief Nyesom Wike?

“The burnt documents included the ones for the contracts Wike awarded to himself and his cronies as a conduit to siphon public funds. We want the Buhari Administration to, as a matter of urgency, look into this now that he wants to recover looted funds.”

The party also said there should be no hiding place for people like Mr. Wike “who as a minister hired private jets and wasted whopping sums running into billions of naira, living an opulent lifestyle far higher than his legitimate income, all at the expense of tax-paying Nigerians.

It added, “Mr. President should investigate if the looted funds were part of the billions of naira used in purchasing arms given to Rivers State youths with which to kill innocent people in his desperation to capture the Rivers State Government House during the March 28 and April 11 general elections.

“In any case, we have heard that both the Education and Sports Ministries under the former President Jonathan have already submitted their audited reports to the appropriate authorities and the reports are indicting particularly the Tertiary Fund 2013 Tax which was siphoned through the Central Bank to the tune of N246bn.”

The APC also said it was necessary to address the issues to prevent the governor from running the economy of Rivers State aground.

“We, therefore, passionately appeal to President Muhammadu Buhari to take necessary action to bring this man to book so as to serve as a deterrent to his type in government,” it said.

The governor’s media adviser, Opunabor Inko-Tariah, could not be reached for comments as he neither responded to repeated telephone calls by PREMIUM TIMES nor replied a text message to him.

Sam Nwakaudu, who served as Mr. Wike’s media aide when he was minister, declined comments on the issue.

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