The Majority Leader and member representing Ikeduru State Constituency in the Imo State House of Assembly, Hon Amb Uche Ogbuagu, has thrown more light on why he dragged Hon Henry Nwawuba, who represents Mbaitoli/Ikeduru Federal Constituency in the lower chamber of the National Assembly to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).
Hon Ogbuagu, in an exclusive interview with Nigeria Watchdog, yesterday, explained that, contrary to speculations that his action was hinged on political vendetta, he was rather motivated by his belief that to whom much is given, much is expected. “Besides, we that are entrusted with the mandate of the people should be accountable and also ensure that the principles of transparency, good governance, justice and equity prevail at all times and in all circumstances. I am also of the opinion, that if I am found wanting in any way or suspected to have diverted or misappropriated money meant for the youths or my constituents generally, “let me be liable to the same action that I have taken against Hon Nwawuba, and let the pendulum of justice swing against me”.
“Besides, as the legislator for Ikeduru State Constituency, I cannot fold my hands and watch any of my constituents innocently subjected to such undue harassment, intimidation and psychological torture, more so, when some of them lack the capacity and have nobody to speak for them”. “I want the EFCC, as an anti graft agency to investigate the matter and ascertain if it is proper for a legislator or his aides to demand kickback from his constituents who the federal government provided with funds as part of it’s youth empowerment programme”.
He noted that, it is irritating and repulsive that instead of showing remorse, for their reprehensible acts, the suspects went ahead to arrest, detain, intimidate and threaten the victims. “That was why I drew the attention of the EFCC to the matter”.
Hon Uche Ogbuagu, had in a petition dated 2nd July, 2020, notified the anti graft agency of a report brought to his office by one Okezie Ugwushie, and Prince Chikendu Nwansi, indigenes of Akabo, Ikeduru against Isidore Chukwuemeka, Samuel Nwokocha, Hon Henry Nwawuba, Geoffrey Ihentuge and Hon Pascal Uzoukwu. He averred in the petition to EFCC that Ugwushie and Nwanshi, on the 26th and 27th of June, 2020, brought a complaint of fraud, financial impropriety and obtaining by false pretence against the above mentioned suspects.
According to him, “the duo of Ugwushie and Nwansi complained to me of how they participated in the Ministry of Niger Delta Affairs Youth Empowerment programme, after which each of them was given the sum of Five Hundred Thousand Naira (N5000,000) and a certificate of participation by the organizing ministry which also advised them to use the money strictly for setting up businesses”.
He frowned at the idea of those in authority shortchanging or taking advantage of people they should, under normal circumstances assist to find their bearing. “This ugly trend must stop and somebody must initiate it”, he stated.
The Nigeria Watchdog had on page 5 of it’s 30th June, 2020 edition, reported that Hon Henry Nwawuba’s aides were linked to a bribery scandal that involved about fifteen youths in Mbaitoli/Ikeduru Federal Constituency, who benefitted from the federal government loan facility dispensed through the Ministry of Niger Delta Affairs.
Watchdog, in the publication also narrated how the youths were arrested and detained by Nwawuba’s aides for refusing to part with fifty percent of the N500,000 loan they were given, and were released through the intervention of Hon Ogbuagu, with whose name they were trickily invited to a non-existent meeting at White House hotel, Akabo, where they were arrested, prior to their detention.
A legal practitioner, Barr Jeff Igweaka, who commented on the issue, expressed surprise that Hon Nwawuba’s aides inspite of their remunerations, could condescend to the level of defrauding youths with the intent of depriving them of a life time opportunity, stressing that, “they may have acted a script prepared and handed to them by their principal, Nwawuba, considering their audacity and no-non-sense approach”.
Keen observers of the unfolding scenario are anxiously waiting to see what the outcome of the EFCC’s intervention in the matter will be.