The Police in Rivers State, south-south, Nigeria have arrested a federal lawmaker, Chinyere Igwe with $498,100 a day before commencement of the 2023 general elections.
Mr Igwe was arrested in the early hours of Friday, the police said.
“Police Officers from Rivers State Command deployed to INEC Headquarters Aba Road today at about 2:45 a.m., while on stop and search, arrested Hon Chinyere Igwe, member House of Representatives representing Port Harcourt II Federal Constituency with a cash sum of 498,100 USD inside a bag in his car,” Grace Iringe-Koko said in a statement on Friday.
The police said a list for the distribution of the money was also recovered from the lawmaker.
The police spokesperson said the Assistant Inspector General of Police in the state, Abutu Yaro, has ordered a swift interrogation and arraignment of Mr Igwe in the court.
“The Command urges all contestants and political parties to comply strictly with provisions of the Electoral Act and other relevant laws.
Mr Igwe is an ally of Atiku Abubakar, the presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
Leloonu Nwibubasa, spokesperson for Atiku Campaign Council in the state denied knowledge of the incident.
A video of Mr Igwe being interrogated by the security agents was sent to PREMIUM TIMES on Friday morning by the Rivers State Government.
In the video, Mr Igwe told his interviewer he was driving home in the early hours of Friday (about midnight) when he was flagged down by a stop and search security agents along Aba Road.
“They said I should come down and I came down. They searched and saw the money,” he said in the video.
He said part of the money is meant to support the party while the rest was his personal money and added that the money was given to him on Thursday where he left it in his car.
“Party system,” he said, when asked who gave him the money that does not belong to him. He did not reveal the identity of the person in the short video.
Atiku’s spokesperson, Paul Ibe, told PREMIUM TIMES he was not aware of the incident. He also said he was not aware if Mr Igwe has any connection with the PDP presidential candidate.
He said Mr Igwe’s arrest was part of the game plan of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) “because they have nothing to offer”.
The incident occurred two days after a radio and television station belonging to Mr Igwe was attacked by gunmen in the state.
A few months ago, a filling station belonging to Mr Igwe was sealed by the Rivers State Government over alleged involvement in illegal bunkering but the lawmaker had dismissed it, saying he was victimised by Governor Nyesom Wike for supporting Atiku.
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