The political logjam in Rivers State just got even more intense and uncertain with the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) operatives visiting Port Harcourt to quiz the detained Majority Leader of the House of Assembly, Hon. Chidi Lloyd.
The deployment of EFCC operatives to the state might just be a pointer to the irreparable sour relationship between Governor Rotimi Amaechi and the Presidency.
However, the anti-graft agency yesterday said the visit of its operatives to the oil-rich South-South state was part of an ongoing investigation.
It was gathered that immediately the EFCC detectives stormed Port Harcourt at the weekend, they reportedly visited Lloyd, who was being held by the police at an unnamed location.
For about two hours, the operatives grilled the state lawmaker on details of some financial transactions between the Executive and the Legislature.
Meanwhile, EFCC spokesman Wilson Uwujaren, who explained the purpose of its operatives in Rivers said: “Some of our operatives are in Rivers State over an ongoing investigation. I think there is a link to the Majority Leader Chidi Lloyd.
“But the operation is not just a Port Harcourt or Rivers State thing; it is about investigation of some allegations in some states in the Southsouth.”
But the Rivers State Government yesterday dismissed the anti-graft agency’s defence of its operatives in the state saying it was being used as a political tool in the hands of two prominent citizens involved in the crisis.
The Amaechi administration also accused the Federal Government of playing dirty, stressing that attempted murder, the allegation with which Lloyd has been charged, is under the state’s purview.
Commissioner for Information and Communications Mrs. Ibim Semenitari, said: “The Federal Government is playing dirty. They have brought in the EFCC to interrogate and investigate the House of Assembly’s Leader, Hon. Chidi Lloyd (a lawyer, who represents Emohua constituency).
“They want to take over the prosecution by ulterior means and so plan to change the charge from attempted murder, which is under the state’s purview, to EFCC.
“They have planted something in Hon. Chidi Llyod’s house, which would be against the governor.”
But the move by the EFCC has been hailed as a step in the right direction by leader of the five anti-Rotimi Amaechi lawmakers, Mr. Evans Bipi.
Bipi, who dismissed insinuations that Lloyd is being persecuted over his perceived allegiance to Gov. Amaechi, recalled that he had invited the EFCC to look into the management of the state Assembly’s funds but said the probe would b incomplete without the anti-graft agency beaming its search light on the Speaker, Mr. Otelemaba Amachree.
He said, “It is a right step in the right direction because Lloyd was part of the leadership of the state House of Assembly. The EFCC should interrogate him very well. Lloyd should be able to explain how the funds of the House were managed.
“What the EFCC is doing is not persecution. It (EFCC) is only carrying out its responsibility. Otelemaba Amachree should also be invited and interrogated.”