Police Arrest House Of Reps Member Chinyere Igwe With $500,000 Cash In Rivers To Bribe INEC

The Rivers State Police Command on Friday arrested a lawmaker in the House of Representatives, Chinyere Igwe in the state with a cash amount of $500,000 which was laundered to Nigeria and to be used to bribe INEC and security personnel. Police spokesperson Grace Iringe-Koko in a statement said Chinyere Igwe, a lawmaker representing Port Harcourt II Federal Constituency was arrested with foreign currencies and a list of how to distribute it.

“Police Officers from Rivers State Command deployed to INEC Headquarters Aba Road today 24/2/2023, while on stop and search, arrested one Hon Chinyere Igwe, member House of Representatives representing Port Harcourt II Federal Constituency with a cash sum of 500,000 USD inside a bag in his car. Also recovered was a list for distribution of the money,” Iringe-Koko said.

The police spokesperson said the Assistant Inspector General of Police (AIG), Abutu Yaro has ordered his swift interrogation and arraignment in court. “The Command urges all contestants and political parties to comply strictly with provisions of the Electoral Act and other relevant laws.” The police however urged members of the public to report to the Police in case of any observation they believe has the potential to lead to crime or breakdown of law and order.

The piles of US dollars were found by police inside Chinyere Igwe’s car. Mr Chinyere Igwe, an opposition PDP member of the House of Representatives, was also caught with a list of people to give the money to, police stated. In previous elections, politicians have been accused of rigging polls through vote buying.

Nigeria has recently issued new banknotes, in order to make it harder for politicians to amass large sums of money in order to bribe voters. However, not enough of the new notes are in circulation, leading to widespread of anger and frustration. People have been queuing for hours outside banks and ATM in order to get cash, without success, while some have attacked banks out of anger because of no cash. Some 40% of Nigerians do not have bank accounts and so rely on cash to buy food, and for other everyday uses.

Police in Rivers State, where Mr Chinyere Igwe was arrested, urged “all contestants and political parties to comply strictly with provisions of the Electoral Act and other relevant laws”. Mr Chinyere Igwe, who represents part of the southern city of Port Harcout, has not yet commented on the matter. The elections are predicted to be the most competitive since the end of military rule in 1999, with three candidates – Atiku Abubakar of the PDP, Peter Obi of the Labour Party and Bola Tinubu of the governing APC – all seen as potential winners.

The chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has told our source that the authorities are prepared for Saturday’s vote. “Reports around the country indicate that materials are being delivered to the local governments as planned,” Mahmood Yakubu said. “We are exactly where we wanted to be in terms of preparation,” Mr Yakubu added, saying security agencies had “assured” INEC that the vote would go ahead smoothly. There had been concerns that it might not be possible to hold the election in parts of the country, which is facing an Islamist insurgency in the north-east, a nationwide kidnapping-for-ransom crisis and a separatist insurgency in the south-east.

A senatorial candidate for the opposition Labour Party, Oyibo Chukwu, was killed on Wednesday in the Enugu State south-eastern Nigeria while he was returning from the campaign trail. Police have blamed the separatist group IPOB for the killings. IPOB has not yet commented on the matter. The authorities have ordered the closure of all land borders for Saturday’s vote starting from midnight for 24 hours, to stop foreign nationals from trying to vote. On Thursday INEC revealed that a total of 87.2 million voter’s cards had been collected. More than 93 million people had registered to vote, which means that some six million people had not managed to collect their cards and so would not be able to cast their votes. There have been reports of people saying they were unable to collect their cards. There was one case of voter cards reportedly being dumped in a bush, only to be discovered by a hunter.

Chinyere Igwe who is believed to be a loyalist of PDP presidential candidate Atiku Abubakar will be arraigned in court soon maybe after the election for money laundering and attempt bribing of INEC and Security officials. The lawmaker, who is one of the top members of PDP’s presidential campaign council in River state was arrested by police operatives along Port Harcourt/Aba Road at about 2.45AM on Friday morning. The Rivers State Police Command confirmed the arrest of Igwe who is representing Port Harcourt II Federal Constituency 2 in the House of Representatives.

The Video of the arrest of the lawmaker and his interrogation over alleged plan to bribe INEC officials, security operatives and buy votes for Atiku Abubakar in Rivers State with the intercepted money had gone viral early Friday.

“Hon. Chinyere Igwe, a PDP Member of the House of Representatives has been arrested in the early hours of Friday morning in Port Harcourt with over Five Hundred Thousand US Dollars ($500,000.00) in cash which he claimed was given to him by Atiku Abubakar to ensure his electoral success in Rivers State.

“The police also recovered the sharing formula from him. From this document, they planned to give dollars to Security and INEC,” one of the viral reports indicated. It can be recalled that Chinyere Igwe is the owner of WishFm Port Harcourt and Atlantic Television Network that were allegedly attacked few days ago during which the transformer and industrial generator belonging to the broadcast outfits were destroyed.

Austine Ikeru
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