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Northern Group Says Akpabio Attacking Emefiele to Divert Attention from EFCC Case

The Arewa Youths Forum (AYF) has said the attacks on former Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Godwin Emefiele, by the President of the Senate, Godswill Akpabio, was a failed attempt to divert attention from his case before the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).

The northern youth body said this in reaction to comments attributed to Akpabio wherein he blamed Emefiele for Nigeria’s economic woes.

In a statement signed by its acting National Secretary, Isa Dangaziya, the forum said in saner climes people like the former Akwa Ibom governor should be either behind the bars or hiding from public opprobrium.

They wondered why people like Akpabio who have cases before the anti-graft agencies would have the temerity to turn around and blame others for the nation’s misfortune.

“We received with rude shock, the comments attributed to Akpabio attributing the current economic hardship and hunger in Nigeria to the actions and policies implemented during Emefiele’s tenure at the apex bank.

“In essence, he (Emefiele) is one of those who milked and is still milking Nigeria dry and is walking freely despite humongous corruption allegations.

“To our utter dismay and surprise, the senate president was reportedly spewing these lies in an update of a church programme on Sunday – in the sight of God to show how people like him have sold their conscience.

“He just  reminded Nigerians that as recent as April last year, it was widely reported in the media that the EFCC invited Akpabio, for interrogation over an investigation concerning corruption allegations against him.

“There were allegations of a N40 billion fraud perpetrated in the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC), a parastatal under the ministry superintended by Akpabio for three years.

“Also, there were allegations of over N86 billion contract scams involving him and a former Acting Managing Director of the NDDC, Prof Kemebradikumo Pondei, which the EFCC had been investigating,” the group said.

Also, the group reminded Nigerians that the anti-graft agency had in the past arrested Akpabio over the alleged theft of N108.1 billion of Akwa Ibom funds.

“The EFCC had earlier invited Akpabio to appear for questioning on March 29, 2023 but his lawyer, Umeh Kalu (SAN), in a letter to the anti-graft agency alleged that his client was suffering from pneumonia and cardiac arrhythmia.

“Looking at the above, any discerning mind would not hesitate to conclude that Akpabio’s outing was nothing by diversionary tactics, typical of the pot calling the kettle black,” the group added.

Meanwhile, constitutional lawyers under the leadership of Yusuf Tijani, on Monday, rose in defence of Emefiele, over growing allegations that he mismanaged the nation’s economy during his tenure as the number one banker.

The lawyers, in a statement made available to journalists in Abuja, said such claims that had no verified fact to back them were only ways of calling a dog a bad name in order to hang it.

The lawyers also condemned Akpabio, over what they called his baseless attack on Emefiele, describing it as a childish attempt to keep being an errand boy desperate to save his head from a pending EFCC case.

They said Akpabio was the one who is supposed to be arrested and prosecuted for his pending numerous criminal cases and not Emefiele, who worked to stabilise the nation’s currency during his reign as CBN governor.

The lawyers claimed that it was looting by the likes of Akpabio that was killing the economy and called on the senate president to surrender himself to the EFCC immediately.

They argued that all the reform programmes introduced by Emefiele during his tenure as CBN governor positioned the country on a sure footing economically, urging Akpabio to leave the former CBN governor alone.

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