Protesters Demand Probe Of Akpabio For Omitting To Declare Assets

Godswill Akpabio, lawmaker representing Akwa Ibom North West at the Senate, has been accused of allegedly omitting to declare some assets traced him.

Mr Akpabio, a former governor of Akwa Ibom State, was accused by protesters under the aegis of Civil Society Groups for Accountability and Probity on Monday, same day the Chief Justice of Nigeria, Walter Onnoghen, was arraign for similar offence.

The protesters who demanded the probe of the former governor made the accusation in a petition submitted at the zonal office of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) in Wuse 2, Abuja, on Monday.

Jonathan Ogwuche, who spoke on behalf of the group said the lawmaker had in 2017 claimed to to have eight buildings, while in 2011 he declared 10 buildings.

“Curiously however and of worrisome note, in 2016 following an investigative report by an online media, it was alleged that he was among those with properties in Dubai.

“Contrary to claims by Sen. Akpabio, the ‘following outlandish properties’ located at the under-listed addresses could also be traced to him as follows:

“1. Plot 5 Ikogosi Spring Close, off Katsina-Ala Crescent, Maitama-Abuja; 2. Plot 28 Colorado Close, Maitama; 3. 22 Probyn Road, Ikoyi, Lagos and 4. Plot 23 Olusegun Aina Street, Parkview, Lagos.”

Ogwuche said the properties ”are conspicuously missing in the asset declaration of the former governor”.

“With the exception of a Bedford armour bus which he claimed to be a gift, cars declared in 2007 were copied and pasted in 2011. This doesn’t represent the reality on ground as he is known to move about in a fleet of cars.”

The protesters claimed a son of the former governor ”who is said to have a property in Abuja (in 2007 declaration) at Games village acquired on 1-1-2005 worth a value of N16.9 million has an annual income of just N350,000, while in 2011 declaration, the value remained unchanged”.

“The source of the house is questionable. We can incontrovertibly submit that Senator Akpabio freely dished out the finances of Akwa Ibom State to his children, friends and other family members while corruptly enriching himself with same at the detriment of the state,” the group added.

Akpabio has so far dismissed the allegations.

“This is not the first time we are going to EFCC. We have been responding to petitions since we left office in 2015,” Anietie Ekong, a media aide to the former governor was quoted by Premium Times as saying while responding to the allegation.

Mr Ekong said the petitioners were pursuing a ‘political vendetta’. He added that previous petitions had been withdrawn “by their originators because of lack of evidence”.

Akpabio who served as two term governor of the state and elected senator on the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has dumped the now opposition party to the ruling All Progressive Congress (APC) last year.

He is one of the those championing the re-election campaign of President Muhammadu Buhari.