Three stewards working in the Akwa Ibom state governor’s lodge in
Asokoro, Abuja were on Friday summarily dismissed by the governor,
Godswill Akpabio, over missing bundles of mint fresh dollars valued at
over $250,000 (N40 million) kept in the governor’s bedroom.
governor who reportedly issued the instruction to dispense with the
services of the political appointees personally found out on Wednesday
during his visit to Abuja that four bundles of the foreign
currency he left in his bedroom had been stolen while he was gone to a
dinner with President Goodluck Jonathan at the Aso Rock Villa.
gathered that the bundles of dollars kept in the drawers in the
governor’s bedroom were leftovers from stacks of hard currency stashed
away in a private security safe.
The governor reportedly
expressed surprise at the theft saying that despite the near impregnable
security in the lodge, coupled with the fact that the locks to that
section of the lodge, including the governor’s bedroom, are routinely
changed each time such heavy cash is brought in, the money could still
disappear in the manner it did.
Although it could not be
established firmly if the three steward were responsible for the
missing cash, it was gathered that they may have been given the boot for
apparent negligence in allowing the real culprits to gain access to the
otherwise restricted area of the lodge.
A source close to the
lodge said more heads might roll as investigations are ongoing to find
out the identities of other culprits involved in the theft of Mr.
Akpabio’s cash haul.
According to the source, who pleaded
anonymity, for fear of being victimized, accusing fingers are being
pointed at Maria Ekpekong another staff member at the lodge who is the
governor’s senior special representative in charge of the overall
management of the lodge.
It was gathered that pilfering of huge
cash in the lodge has become a recurring event. A few years ago, the
governor removed all the civil servants deployed to work at the lodge
and replaced them with political appointees and other private
consultants he thought could be trusted.
In one instance, it was
learnt that after bundles of cash disappeared under similar
circumstances, the burglary proof and window protectors around the
governor’s apartment were completely changed sometime last year after
the perpetrators broke through the ceiling to gain access to the room
where cash was stacked in ‘Ghana must go’ bags.
frequently doles out state cash to buy political patronage and favors
from various sectors of the Nigerian society.
Governor Akpabio is
known to be reckless with state funds, sometimes paying huge sums of
money to buy himself awards both at home and abroad.