Alleged N19.3bn Bailout: Northern youths demand independent investigation, chide EFCC over media trial

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Kogi State Governor, Yahaya Bello and EFCC Chairman, Abdulrasheed Bawa
Kogi State Governor, Yahaya Bello and EFCC Chairman, Abdulrasheed Bawa

The Northern Youths Movement (NYM) has demanded for an independent probe of the controversies over the N19. 33 billion Kogi salary bailout funds the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, claimed  it recovered to the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN.

Rising from its meeting in Abuja on Saturday, the NYM also chided the EFCC over what they called unending regime of media trial and unconstitutional actions.

It said it was imperative for a panel comprising representatives of the CBN, Sterling Bank, Federal Ministry of Finance, Accountant General of the Federation, Kogi State Government, EFCC, Police Special Fraud Unit, Independent Corrupt Practices and other related offences Commission, Chartered Institute of Bankers of Nigeria and Civil Society Organizations to be set up to investigate the matter.

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EFCC had said that it returned the N19. 33 billion Kogi State Government kept N19.33 billion bailout fund meant to pay salaries in Sterling Bank meant to yield interest and that the money was recovered to the CBN.

However, the Kogi State Government, which insisted that it did not open or create the said account with Sterling Bank, demanded from the EFCC, an apology and retraction of  the commission’s statement.

In a release issued in Abuja on Saturday, which was signed by its Chairman, Mallam Ishaya Jato, the NYM also carpeted the EFCC for placing Governor Willie Obiano of Anambra State under watchlist, saying that the commission’s action constitutes a clear affront on the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

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The youths said it was time the EFCC begins to act within the ambit of the laws of Nigeria and  stop jumping to the media space, acting like a political tool.

The NYM wondered why no one has been put on trial if truly the EFCC claim on the alleged N19.33 billion fund was true.

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They asked if in saner climes, a whooping sum of N19.33 billion bailout fund meant to pay workers salaries will be discovered to have been kept in a commercial bank account meant to yield interest and no one will be prosecuted.

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The youths said questions as to where is the mandate letter from the Kogi State Government to open account number 0073572696 with Sterling Bank and who operated the account need to be answered.