Former Governor of Akwa Ibom state and incumbent Senate Minority Leader, Godswill Akpabio, has explained why he was interrogated for several hours on Friday by operatives of Nigeria’s anti-graft agency, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).
Shortly after being grilled at the EFCC headquarters late on Friday night, Akpabio admitted that he was summoned by the anti-graft body to respond to several allegations of corruption against him, adding that he was not arrested, but honoured the commission’s invitation voluntarily.
According to him: “A young lawyer from my state has been petitioning the EFCC accusing me of corruption. So shortly before I got involved in an accident in August, the EFCC summoned me to come and respond to the allegations.
“But following the accident, I wasn’t well enough to honour the EFCC summon. And I let them know.
“So today, since I’m now well, and the Senate did not sit, I decided to honour the EFCC so as to answer questions concerning the allegations against me.
“I wasn’t arrested. I walked in there myself and now I’m back at home. The EFCC operatives were professional. They asked questions, and I answered.”
Akpabio insisted the allegations against him were false, saying “those making the allegations do not understand how government works”.
The former governor, who is now Senate Minority Leader, said the lawyer who dragged him to the EFCC submitted at least four different petitions, and that it would take a while for him to respond to each of the allegations.
“So I will return to the EFCC again as necessary,” he said.
Mr. Akpabio added, “I am a law-abiding citizen, and whenever I’m summoned to answer questions about how I served my people, I will always respond.
“I urge everyone who has served in public office not to be afraid to explain what they did and how they served.”
The arrest of Akpabio by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) on Friday went viral as was taken in for allegedly misappropriating N101.8billion while he was governor of Akwa-Ibom State and plunging the state into huge indebtedness.
Akpabio was taken into custody for interrogation by EFCC operatives at about 5.20 pm. He was accompanied by a few of his aides and a Senior Advocate of Nigeria, Ricky Tarfa.
The EFCC however temporarily left him off the hook at about 9.pm on Friday after responding to questions by the anti-graft agency’s top officials.
Recall that the action of the EFCC followed a petition forwarded to the commission by an Abuja-based lawyer and activist, Leo Ekpenyong.
Mr. Ekpenyong had on June 8 petitioned President Muhammadu Buhari and the EFCC, calling for Mr. Akpabio’s probe and accusing him of looting Akwa Ibom state treasury.
The petitioner, Mr. Ekpenyong had earlier been summoned by the EFCC on Wednesday, June 17, to adopt his petition and provide more details to some of the allegations he made against Akpabio.
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