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EFCC Asked To Arrest, Prosecute Edo APC Gov Candidate Over Alleged Naira Abuse

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EFCC Asked To Arrest, Prosecute Edo APC Gov Candidate Over Alleged Naira Abuse

The All Progressives Congress (APC) candidate in the September 21 governorship election in Edo State, Monday Okpebholo, faces the possibility of a six-month imprisonment under the Central Bank of Nigeria Act of 2007.

A coalition of civil society organizations, known as the Network of Civil Society Organizations in Nigeria, has accused the politician of abusing the Nigerian currency, the naira.

Naija News understands that the group filed a complaint with the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) against Okpebholo in a petition dated May 2, 2024, and directed to the EFCC chairman, Ola Olukoyede.

In the petition signed by the National Coordinator, Victor Kalu, and National Secretary, Ali Abacha, the coalition alleged that the senator had committed the crime of naira abuse and mutilation, referencing the CBN Act of 2007, which deems such actions as punishable offences.

The coalition expressed its disappointment that influential individuals, including lawmakers, have breached this provision of the CBN Act.

The coalition applauded the anti-graft agency for its “swift response in arresting and charging individuals who have been caught on viral videos abusing and defacing the Naira at social events such as the cases of Mr Okuneye Idris Olarewaju, popularly known as Bobrisky, and Mr Pascal Okechukwu, also known as Cubana Chief Priest, who have faced legal consequences for their actions.”

The coalition commended the EFCC for its efforts and urged for the immediate arrest and prosecution of all individuals seen in viral videos mistreating the Naira, emphasizing that everyone must be held accountable under the law.

They specifically called for an investigation into the viral video featuring Senator Monday Okpebholo, highlighting his involvement in Naira abuse and defacement.

Furthermore, they emphasized the importance of holding Okpebholo accountable for his actions as a public figure representing the people.

The coalition cautioned that if the issue regarding the viral video with Okpebholo is not addressed promptly, they will escalate their actions.

They also issued a warning of organizing a peaceful protest against the EFCC, mobilizing their members, supporters, and democracy advocates, should the EFCC fail to address the viral video involving Okpebholo, citing concerns of selective enforcement and bias.

I Have Never Abused The Naira – Okpebholo

In his official statement, the senator dismissed the accusation, asserting its falsehood.

Okpebholo, in a press release issued in Abuja on Tuesday, characterized the allegation as a deliberate attempt to tarnish his reputation prior to the upcoming September gubernatorial election.

He attributed the smear campaign to his adversaries and the opposition party. Emphasizing that he has never been apprehended by law enforcement for any civil or criminal transgressions, the legislator firmly maintained that the individual depicted in the viral video on social media was not him.

He said, “As a private and public person, I have never sprayed or mutilated the naira in my over 50 years on earth. It baffles me why these agents will fabricate fake news to tarnish my image ahead of the election. I therefore called on the IGP to investigate the faces behind the petition and prosecute them accordingly.

“They are scouting for fake news and non-existent things to blackmail me and lie to Edo people. Unfortunately, we know what they are up to. They are smelling the defeat already. Edo people have already decided, and no amount of State-sponsored intimidation will work.

“In Edo State, President Bola Tinubu-led APC administration is working. The federal government is reconstructing federal roads in Edo Central, Edo North, and Edo South. That is why Edo people must take sides with the APC and vote for me as the next governor of Edo State. We will bring the federal government closer to the Edo people. We have been isolated for too long, and it is time to end that alienation.”

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