Governors of the South-South region (Edo, Ondo, Delta, Akwa Ibom, Rivers, Bayelsa, Abia, as well as the Deputy Governor of Cross River) who met with Vice President Yemi Osinbajo at the State House yesterday called for a majority of the corruption cases in the region to be dropped by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).
We had reported it here yesterday that the vice president was meeting with some state governors and security chiefs as the discussions were focused on ending cases of attacks by militants on oil installations in the Niger Delta region.
A source who was at the meeting, said that only the Governor of Edo State, Adams Oshiomhole and the deputy Governor of Cross River opposed the others, who singled out the federal government’s anti-corruption initiative as the reason why Niger Delta Avengers are blowing up pipelines in the region.
Speaking one after the other, the governors reportedly asked the federal government to drop charges against former militants accused of corruption. They also want the EFCC to stop investigating the campaign fund scam which has so far revealed how former President Goodluck Jonathan shared funds meant that were meant for combating Boko Haram among his People’s Democratic Party functionaries.
It was also learnt that the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources Dr. Ibe Kachikwu, was curiously on the side of the South-South governors who want corruption charges and all forms of corruption investigations against the Niger Delta politicians discontinued.
The Governor of Delta, Patrick Okowa, reportedly obtained a two-week ceasefire from the Niger Delta Avengers before arriving at the meeting but did not disclose it because he was uncomfortable that the Vice President wasn’t disposed to the idea.
It was also learnt that through his Deputy, Gov. Okowa had extensive meetings with the Niger Delta Avengers, pointing out that it was evident that he and other South South governors knew who the militants were as he spoke at the meeting.
The source further stated that if the terms pushed by the South South Governors are fully adopted by the Buhari regime's anti-corruption fight will die prematurely in all of the South South states. He said that from the tone of the meeting, it was clear that the Niger Delta Avengers and their activities are being funded by politicians in the region with the objective of halting Buhari’s anti-corruption war.
A press statement issued at the end of the meeting by the Vice-President’s office indicated that the federal government was represented at the meeting by the Minister of Defense, Rtd. Major General Mohammed Dan Ali; Niger Delta Affairs Minister, Pastor Usani Uguru Usani; and Dr. Kachikwu. Also in attendance were military service chiefs, led by the Chief of Defence Staff, Lt.Gen. Gabriel Olonisakin