By Enyeribe Ejiogu and Noah Ebije
Nigerians have expressed shock and outrage over the huge sum of $9.8 million discovered by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission in a property allegedly owned by ex-Group Managing Director of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, Andrew Yakubu, in a suburb of Kaduna.
Busola Babalola, in a posting on her Facebook wall thundered: “This is terrible. So much greed…God save Nigeria.” No lees angered by the discovery, Temidayo Ogunbowale implored God to save Nigeria and called down His wrath on treasury looters.
Her words: “God save Nigeria and expose more looters like Yakubu. May our money they stole and hid begin to haunt them until they return everything.”
Taking a philosophical excursion into the Bible and quoting Proverbs 15:27, Adeola Akinremi wondered aloud: “How does the bible respond to Yakubu Andrew’s “gift” of $9.8 million and £74, 000?. “He that is greedy of gain troubleth his own house; but he that hateth gifts shall live.”
Weighing in on the discourse swirling around the horrendous discovery by the EFCC, at a time the whole country has been stymied by the recession ravaging the economy, Owolabi Luqman said: “This is what we are saying, when you have this huge amount of money (foreign currency) in the hands of a person and you want Buhari to die?
Also expressing outrage, Adeola Fayehun indicated that the government would have gained a lot of mileage in the provision of vital medical technology at the nation’s teaching hospitals.
“With the $9.8 million (dollars not naira) recovered from ex-NNPC boss Andrew Yakubu, Nigeria could have ….”
To the assertion by Yakubu that the money was a gift, Ayo Moshood asked rhetorically: “Gift? Something must be wrong with me to believe it’s a gift.”
Residents in the part of Kaduna where the discovery was made were equally shocked by the whopping amount of dollars kept unused in Yakubu’s private house.
Some of the residents who spoke to Sunday Sun said what the former NNPC official did amounted to murder because according to them, the money was discovered at a time many citizens are suffering from poverty and economic hardship.
A neighbour who simply gave his name as Ibrahim said the area was begging for facelift because it is a slum that has neither received the attention of government nor wealthy Nigerians over the years.
Another resident, Dominic, said: “We are shocked, if we knew that there was such big money, we would have rioted and demolished the house and the safe where the money was kept, for everybody to benefit.”
Similarly, John, another resident of the area, said, “How can this man behave like this when his people in Southern Kaduna are living in poverty, with potential industries begging for investors.”
On his part, Audu said: “A former leader of Southern Kaduna Peoples Union (SOKAPU) once asked Andrew Yakubu for financial assistance of N7 million to attend to a health issue, but he refused, only to be exposed by EFCC few years later. This shows that God does not sleep.”
Meanwhile, the Acting Chairman of EFCC, Ibrahim Magu, has commended Adamu Dan Musa, the commission’s Head of Operations in Kano Zonal Office, who led the team that recovered the money from the residence of Yakubu in Kaduna.
He said the officer and his team demonstrated courage, professionalism and integrity in executing the raid that yielded the astounding discovery.
He called on staff of the commission to emulate the team as the EFCC is poised to take the fight against corruption to new heights.
The EFCC boss also used the opportunity to clarify the misleading information in a release by the Police Service Commission, PSC, concerning the promotion of six policemen for outstanding performance.
One of the newly promoted officers, Suleiman Abdul, who is currently on secondment to EFCC, was purportedly promoted to the rank of Assistant Commissioner of Police because he “recently recovered N42 billion for the Federal Government.”
Magu said he was unaware of any recent recovery by the officer. He may have made recovery in the past. But in the last six years, I am not aware of any recovery by the officer to warrant commendation by the Commission.”
Magu, who spoke after the commission’s monthly keep fit programme yesterday, urged all staff of the agency to be dedicated to their jobs as only diligence, professionalism and uncommon courage would be rewarded with promotion.