The dollars found in Osborne apartment Ikoyi house. Now Rivers State Government is claiming ownership of the money

Okafor Ofiebor/Port Harcourt

Governor Nyesom Wike of Rivers State has introduced a new twist to the $43,449,947, £27,800 and N23, 218,000 recovered on Wednesday by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) from Osborne Towers, a luxury residential complex in Ikoyi, Lagos.

The governor told journalists at a briefing in Port Harcourt last night that the money belonged to the Rivers State Government.

Wike issued a seven-day ultimatum to the Federal Government to return the money to his government or he would be forced to take legal measures to recover it.

Governor Wike declared that the money (N13 billion) found in the Ikoyi apartment belonged to the Rivers state government.

Governor Wike said that investigations by the Rivers State Government revealed that the money was proceeds from the sale of gas turbines by the immediate past Rivers State Governor, Rotimi Amaechi.

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Addressing Government House press corps, at the Government House, Port Harcourt on Friday night, Governor Wike said: “The money in question belongs to the former Rivers State Governor, Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi. We want to confirm that the house in Ikoyi also belongs to Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi.

“If you recollect in 2015, we said that gas turbines built by Former Governor Peter Odili were sold to Sahara Energy, business partners of Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi at $319 million.

”That money was used to sponsor the All Progressives Congress for the 2015 general elections. From the date of sale of the gas turbines to May 29, 2015, the money depleted from $319 million to $204,000. What was stashed at the Ikoyi residence was part of that fund”.

He said: “We have facts to prove that the said money belongs to the Rivers State Government. The Federal Government must return our money”.

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Governor Wike said all the stories being peddled about the money belonging to the National Intelligence Agency are false and mere face saving measures by the embattled APC Federal Government.

He said: “As I speak to you, the Federal Government is so embarrassed that this has happened. All the stories that the money belongs to the NIA are fake”.

Governor Wike challenged the Federal Government to set up a panel of Inquiry, which will sit publicly to investigate the money, if it doubted the claim of the Rivers State Government.

He stated that the Rivers State Government needed the money to complete an array of projects, insisting that on no account would this criminal activity be swept under the carpet.

The governor said as long as the Federal Government continues to disturb the progress of Rivers State, so long will God throw the Federal Government into confusion.

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“We are giving them seven days to return our money. Otherwise, we would take legal action to recover our money. $43million will help us complete several projects. We need that money for projects”, he said.

Former Governor Amaechi had flatly denied ownership of the said money saying that he does not own any apartment in Lagos, except Abuja.

In a statement issued by his media aide, David Iyofor, Amaechi said linking him to the money is spurious part of the campaign of hate against him for helping to bring down the 16 years of PDP administration in Nigeria.