Abubakar Bello, governor of Niger state, says the N6 billion which the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) recovered from a prominent politician in the state, belong to Niger.
Last week, the anti-graft agency said it traced N4 billion to two accounts linked to Kantigi Liman, a 2015 governorship aspirant of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the state.
Earlier on Friday, the commission said another N2 billion was traced to Liman.
Speaking with journalists on Friday, after joining President Muhammadu Buhari and other Muslim faithful to perform the Jummat service at Aso Rock mosque, Bello said the funds could have been siphoned through inflated hajj subsidies which the state government offered to pilgrims.
Liman once served as the chairman of the Niger state pilgrims’ agency.
Bello commended the EFCC for its efforts in recovering stolen funds, while expressing hope that the recovered N6 billion would be transferred to the state’s accounts to enable his administration embark on developmental projects.
He also acknowledged the efforts of the EFCC towards the recovery of the alleged misappropriated ecological funds by the previous administration in the state.
“I’m aware that the EFCC is investigating the ecological funds. At the inception of this administration we realised that the ecological funds disappeared,” Bello said.
“I did not have any evidence that it was utilised to address any ecological issues and we are faced with major ecological problems especially in Mokwa, Agaie, Bida, part of Minna, Rafin Gora and Mariga.
“We are doing our best to address the ecological problems. We need funds and unfortunately the N2 billion that was given to the state was not judiciously used to address the ecological challenges.
“If it had been used properly maybe our burden might have been reduced by now, but we are having sleepless nights over ecological issues and we are still approaching the federal government to assist us.”
On the discovery of some deposit of Hydro-Carbon and other solid minerals in the state, the governor called for a speedy presidential intervention to hasten their exploration and exploitation.
Bello expressed delight over the state of the health condition of Buhari, saying, “I’m happy that I saw him today.
“I’m in the state house to check and we prayed together… he is doing very well.”