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Akpabio: FG doesn’t even know what to charge Emefiele with

BY Jemilat Nasiru

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Senate President Godswill Akpabio says the allegations against Godwin Emefiele, former governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), are so numerous that the federal government does not know which charges to pin on him. 

Akpabio made the remarks on Sunday during a thanksgiving service organised by Barinada Mpigi, senator representing Rivers south-east senatorial district.

The number three citizen also blamed the economic hardship sweeping through the land on the policies and actions that “they took”.

He did not specify who “they” entails.

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Akpabio further said the prevailing hunger and economic hardship are consequences of almost 60 years of rot.

He appealed to Nigerians to be patient, while promising that the current administration will deliver on the promises they “campaigned and danced” around the country for.

“So the kind of debt and the economic mess that we are in… and lots of people do not understand,” Akpabio said.

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“I remember President Obama saying you cannot know Washington until you get to Washington. So by the time we went in to look at the economic situation of the country, it was terrible.

“So you know that the former governor of central bank, we don’t even know what to charge him with.

“Whether to charge him for putting foam on top of a pail, or to charge him for illegal possession of firearms, or to charge him for printing notes without income. I don’t know what we’re going to charge him with.

“But what we know is that yes, there is hunger today because of the kind of policies and actions that they took and we recognise that, and I think every political party should recognise that there is hunger and we’re battling to ensure that Nigerians can sleep with their eyes closed.

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“There is insecurity. We’re battling to ensure Nigerians can eat three square meals a day.

“But rest assured that we campaigned for this job, we campaigned and danced around the country. We will not let you down.

“We will get to the bottom of it. All we need is patience. The rot that has happened in Nigeria for so many years, for almost 60 years, cannot be solved in six months. So what we need is patience… patience from all quarters.”

The event, which took place in Koroma, Tai LGA of Rivers, was also attended by Dave Umahi, minister of works; Martin Amaewhule, speaker of the Rivers house of assembly; and other dignitaries.

BACKGROUND

Emefiele was suspended on June 9, 2023, by President Bola Tinubu, who also ordered a probe into his tenure as governor of the apex bank.

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He was subsequently arrested by the Department of State Services (DSS) and on July 25, he was arraigned on a two-count charge bordering on “illegal possession” of firearms, at a federal high court in Ikoyi.

He was later granted bail in the sum of N20 million. However, he was rearrested by the DSS on the court premises on the same day.

In August, the court struck out the suit after the federal government filed an application to withdraw the charge of “illegal possession of firearms” against him.

A fresh 20-count charge was then filed before the federal capital territory (FCT) high court by the federal ministry of justice.

He was subsequently arraigned at the FCT high court in Abuja, on a six-count charge bordering on procurement fraud, and remanded at the Kuje correctional facility.

On November 8, Emefiele was granted bail and released, after spending 151 days in detention.

On January 18, the federal government amended the criminal charges filed against him.

The charges, formerly six counts, were increased to 20 counts.

The amended charges border on alleged breach of trust, forgery, conspiracy to commit forgery, procurement fraud and conspiracy to commit a felony.

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