Governor Nyesom Wike of Rivers state may be in trouble as the Nigerian police force has announced the recovery of over N114 million out of N360 million he allegedly used to bribe electoral officers in the 2016 bye-elections.
Wike reportedly doled out the huge sum to 23 staff members of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) as bribe to sway the election in his favour.
The Deputy Inspector General of Police (DIG), Joseph Egbonike, disclosed this on Tuesday while appearing before the House of Representatives Ad hoc Committee on assessment and status of all recovered loot, movable and immovable assets from 2002 to 2020.
“There was a governorship rerun in 2016 between Governor Nyesom Wike of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and the main opposition at that time, which was the All Progressives Congress (APC), and the sum of N360 million money was offered as bribe to Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) officials during the 2016 rerun governorship election in Rivers State.”
“The said matter is still in court and I wouldn’t want to speak much on it, but the said amount you are referring to was recovered from 23 officials of INEC during the 2016 rerun elections of the National and State Assembly which was rigged in favour of PDP.”
“Although, the persons involved have been prosecuted and convicted, the matter has been appealed and not dispensed.”
A report released to newsmen after the committee’s sitting shed more light on the matter.
“On 10th December, 2016, during the National and State Assembly rerun elections in Rivers State, efforts were put to rig the said election through inducement, bribery and intimidation of electoral officials, as the sum of three hundred and sixty million naira (N360, 000,000.00) was given by governor Nyesom Wike of Rivers State, to twenty three (23) electoral officials, deployed to Rivers State from Anambra, Oyo and Plateau States, to compromise and influence the outcome of the election.”
“Consequently, on receipt of the intelligence, our investigation panel under the IGP Monitoring unit was set up, following which the sum of 114 million, two hundred and and ninety thousand (114, 290, 000.00) was recovered from the 23 INEC officials and deposited into the Central Bank of Nigeria.”
“Account Name: IGP Special Joint Investigation Panel on Rivers Re-run Election of 10/12/2016 with Remita Retrieval Reference number 3401-58076328. Details of payment and breakdown of the recovery are attached here.
“All suspects are being prosecuted before the Federal High Court, Port Harcourt, River State by the Attorney General and Minister of Justice of the Federation,” the report read.