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Alleged N111m Loot: Kwara PDP, civil right group dare EFCC to publish list

…EFCC must clear the air

 

…party tells Gov Abdulrazaq, stop politics of bitterness, vindictiveness

By Mumini AbdulKareem

The Kwara State chapter of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has challenged the zonal office of the commission in Ilorin to name those it accused of looting the state treasury if it’s sincere in the fight against corruption.
This development is coming just as a civil group in the state has queried the silence of the EFCC on the culprits.
The Zonal Head of the EFCC, Isyaku Sharu last week handed over the sum of N111m to Governor Abdulrahman Abdulrazaq as the money allegedly recovered from government officials in the state, adding that it will continue to support the Governor in the effort to sanitise the state.
Since the development, some members of the All Progressives Congress in the media and on many online platforms have pointed accusing fingers to the last PDP administration in the state as being responsible for the alleged heist.
But, the Chairman of the PDP, Engr Kola Shittu has challenged the anti-graft body to make public  names of officials whom the loots were recovered from.
Shittu who described as “unsuccessful”, the attempt by the commission to drag the PDP into the matter, maintained that the alleged loot were recovered from civil servants who have nothing to do with the party.
The reaction of the PDP was contained in a statement issued in Ilorin, a copy of which was made available to National Pilot.
The PDP further accused Governor Abdulrahman Abdulrazaq-led administration of using instruments of the state, especially the EFCC to witch-hunt and intimidate political opponents to settle political scores and force them to join the APC.
It therefore advised the Governor to focus more on governance for which he was elected for and stop the politics of bitterness and vindictiveness.
“We wish he (Governor Abdulrazaq) had spent as much time trying to govern effectively as he had spent pursuing a vendetta mission.
“Let it be noted that our party is not opposed to the war against corruption, we, however, reject the use of the EFCC and other state apparatus as political tools to intimidate, harass and persecute opposition members.
“We challenge the Commission and the government to release names of officials whom it said it recovered the loots recently returned to the state government from.
“We reject the unsuccessful attempt to drag the PDP into this matter, which we view as a case of ‘giving a dog a bad name to hang it’. We understand that the monies were recovered from civil servants who have no dealings with the PDP. There is, therefore, no basis to drag our party into this”, the party noted.
The PDP also accused the government of using the EFCC to coerce the suspended Local Government chairmen to join the ruling party. But the Kwara State chairman of the All Local Government Association of Nigeria (ALGON), Joshua Omokanye has denied the party’s position.
“Few days ago, on the directive of the Governor Abdulrazaq, vice-chairmen and councilors of local government councils in the State were invited to the Government House, where they were addressed by a former Kwara South senator and chieftain of the APC in the State. At the meeting, the vice-chairmen and councilors were told to denounce the PDP and join the APC or else, EFCC will come after them.
“We will, therefore, not be surprised if in the coming days, the anti-graft agency drag the council vice-chairmen and the councilors on cooked allegations of corruption. One is left to wonder if the Commission has now become an arm of Kwara APC.
“This is the same way Governor Abdulrazaq has been using the State Assembly to perpetuate his vendetta mission against political opponents in the State.
“Let it be noted that our party is not opposed to the war against corruption, we, however, reject the use of the EFCC and other state apparatus as political tools to intimidate, harass and persecute opposition members.
“We urge the council vice-chairmen, councilors and our members across the State to remain resolute and not to succumb to the intimidation of anti-democratic forces. The council chairmen, their deputies and the councilors were duly elected by the people, and no one has the power to unlawfully usurp their positions.
“As we have always done, we once again advise Governor Abdulrazaq to focus more on governance for which he was elected for and stop this politics of bitterness and vindictiveness. We wish he had spent as much time trying to govern effectively as he had spent pursuing a vendetta mission.
“On the recovered loots returned to the State government by the EFCC, we challenge the Commission and the government to release names of officials whom the loots were recovered from.
“We reject the unsuccessful attempt to drag the PDP into this matter, which we view as a case of ‘giving a dog a bad name and hang it’. We understand that the monies were recovered from civil servants who have no dealings with the PDP. There is, therefore, no basis to drag our party into this”, the statement of the party added.
In a telephone chat last night, the EFCC Zonal Head, Isyaku Sharu, however told National Pilot that the commission is only doing its job outside politics.
“See, my brother, you should not be calling to ask us things like this. You should know we are not politicians. If you have any issue (about it), you should go and ask the government”, he added.


…EFCC must clear the air

Meanwhile, a Kwara based civil right group, Kwara Advancement Initiative, has queried the rational behind the refusal of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) not naming those it recently recovered the over N111m loot it handed to Governor Abdulrahman Abdulrazaq.
The group in a statement signed by its chairman and convener, Suleiman Rasheed, while commending the commission for the action, raised the following posers:
Why didn’t the Commission give details of how and from whom they seized or recovered the said funds it returned to State Government?
Is it because they know the monies were seized from civil servants and those who did not pay for land allocated to them?
Did the EFCC and the State Government keep quiet on the details because it did not favour their narratives that the money was recovered from PDP people who held political offices?
Was the money recovered from past Governors, Deputy Governors, Ex-senators or Rep members or State Assembly members or Special Advisers, Special Assistants, Commissioners or any other political office holders?
It therefore urged the EFCC and the State government to provide answers to these questions to clear “our doubts and that of many Kwarans who are genuinely concerned about happenings in their State.”
According to the Kwara Advancement Initiative in a statement over the issue last night, while the ruling APC and Governor Abdulrahman Abdulrazaq should take urgent action to resolve its crisis, the PDP should put its house in order to offer the necessary opposition in the state.
The statement reads in part:
“We have also observed that there is crisis/division within the ruling All Progressives Congress, APC and the opposition Peoples Democratic Party, PDP. We, therefore, call on Governor Abdulrahman Abdulrazaq as the leader of the APC in Kwara to urgently take actions to resolve the crisis within his party before it escalates. This will enable him focus on governance which is the sole reason Kwarans voted him.
“As for the PDP, we urge the party to put its house in order and offer the required opposition that will keep the ruling APC on its toes. We cannot afford to have a one-party state. This is dangerous for our democracy.
“We are, however, disturbed by the reports that the APC is using anti-graft agency (EFCC) to intimidate members of the opposition, particularly the suspended local government chairmen, their vice and the councilors. This is bad and should be condemned by all and sundry. The EFCC, as an independent body should not be compromised or turned to arm of the ruling APC.  The Commission is hereby advised to exert his independence, neutrality and refuse to be used by the State government to play politics”.
It said the statement released by the ALGON Chairman in response to the earlier statement by the PDP State Chairman (accusing the government of using EFCC to coarse local government vice-chairman and councillor to join APC), has lend credence to the allegation raised by the PDP Chairman.

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