Ex-official arrested for accusing state govt of diverting N3 billion

The police have arrested a former official of the Bayelsa State Government who accused Governor Douye Diri’s administration of diverting N3 billion agricultural loan.

The former official, John Idumange, headed a state-run radio station, Radio Bayelsa, and was also an aide to the former governor of the state, Seriake Dickson.

The N3 billion loan was obtained from the Central Bank of Nigeria by Mr Dickson’s administration which Mr Idumange was part of.

Mr Idumange who said he has filed a complaint with the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission against Mr Diri’s administration, claimed he had so far recorded 17 cases of diversion of the loan.

The police in Bayelsa State on Friday confirmed Mr Idumange’s arrest to the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN).

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He was arrested based on a complaint by the Bayelsa State Government.

“We have charged the man to court, it is no longer the police that is detaining him, but the courts. We took him to court and the court decided he should be remanded,” the Commissioner of Police in Bayelsa State, Mike Okoli, told NAN.

According to the NAN report, Mr Idumange was arraigned for sedition on Thursday before a Chief Magistrate, Mirinn-John Tari, in Yenagoa.

The magistrate ordered him remanded in police custody for 30 days “to enable the police conclude investigation”.

The former governor of Bayelsa, Mr Dickson, who is now a senator representing the state, had discredited Mr Idumange over his remark against his successor and the state government.

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The senator said he had no hand in the attack against Mr Diri’s administration.

He said he remained supportive of the administration.

“I want to advise that no one who is supportive of me, a member of our party or who claims to be, should be publicly critical of our government. This is unacceptable,” he added.

Meanwhile, Governor Diri on Monday dismissed Mr Idumange’s allegations as a ploy to blackmail and arm-twist his administration to give appointments.

“Let me say it clearly before the full glare of the press that we are open to criticism if they are constructive, but this one is entirely not based on facts, the funds are being managed by CBN and warehoused at Access Bank.

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“The N3 billion is not in the treasury of Bayelsa Government to be disbursed and the CBN has come here to say that no funds are missing.

“I want to tell Chief Idumange that I am not the type of person to be blackmailed into giving out appointments,” the governor said.

(NAN)

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