Nobel Laureate, Wole Soyinka, has dared security agencies to come for him over the claims by the Rivers State government that its former Governor, Rotimi Amaechi, spent N82 million to organize a dinner in his honour.
Soyinka said he was prepared to honour invitation by the anti crime agency whenever he is asked to, saying the call for his probe was a form of corruption fighting back.
In a statement Wednesday, Soyinka said: “This morning, I saw only the headlines in one or two print media regarding the 80th Birthday dinner to which I was hosted by the former governor of Rivers State, the Honorable Rotimi Amaechi, now Minister of Aviation.
“I ignored them. It was not, and remains not my business to probe into the catering and logistical implications of the hundreds of institutions and governments all over the world to whom I acknowledge an immense debt of unsolicited recognition over the years.
“Since then however, I have learnt of some unsavory statements by the insecure incumbent of the Rivers State government Lodge. These included a loose invitation to anti-crime agencies to investigate the potential crime of being honoured through any occasion.”
Austin Tam-George, the Rivers State Commissioner of Information, had said the government would begin a probe to the spent funds and would demand a refund if it found Soyinka received part of the funds.
”If he agrees that he received such funds, then he will be compelled to refund same to the coffers of Rivers State.
“At present, we have presented these details to the police for investigation and prosecution. We shall also take up this matter as a financial crime against the people of Rivers State”, . Tam-George said during a radio programme on Wednesday in Port Harcourt.
However, in a reply to the insinuations, Soyinka said the Rivers government’s claims was warning he recounted in his recent publication, The Republic of Liars.
“Those words were: Corruption strikes back. In this ongoing instance, that expression translates most vividly as ‘Those who are neck deep in the sewage of corruption ensure that they splatter sewage in all possible and improbable directions.’
“I do however fully support the Wikeleaks call for multi-directional probes. I recommend further that he involve the services of INTERPOL to guarantee its extension to all international organisations and governments to whom I owe uncountable events of recognition – including birthday luncheons, dinners, cultural receptions and events of real, fictitious, or simply opportunistic flavoring – to which I have submitted myself.
“The descent to this present level of abominable distractions makes one truly despair. It is one that even I did not envisage when I warned – corruption strikes back.
“Whether it brings honour or dishonour to the nation is another matter – I am saddened, but indifferent.
“EFCC and company – over to you. You all know where I live.”
Meanwhile, the former Governor of Rivers State, Amaechi, debunked allegations that he misappropriated the sum of N82 million to organise a dinner for the Nobel Laureate.
In a statement by his Media Office, Wednesday, Amaechi warned Governor Wike “and the coterie of court-jesters and attention-seekers” in his administration to desist from peddling falsehood.
Amaechi, who is the current Minister of Transportation, also warned against making false allegations and criminalizing legitimate government transactions in a bid to smear his reputation.
The statement urged Governor Wike to go to court if he had any case of fraud or misappropriation of state funds against him instead of “this silly distractions”.
He said the latest allegation by the state government was aimed at distracting the people from Wike’s “massive electoral fraud” during the last elections.
“Wike must stop this silly distraction. Rivers people are not interested in his lies and witch-hunt. Rather, Rivers people want to know what will happen to their children that he stopped and cancelled the funding of their scholarships abroad.
“Rivers people want to know why is the Rivers State Sustainable Development Agency (RSSDA), an agency set up by law no longer functioning under Wike?
“Why instead of quality education, a standard set by his predecessor, under Wike, grasses and weeds have taken over the beautiful schools built by Amaechi?
“Rivers people want to know why the standard health facilities and services put in place by the Amaechi administration are rotting away, not this petty rambling.
“Rivers people want to know why the Wike government does not care about the security of their lives and property, as violence and criminals have taken over.
“Rivers people want to know why it feels as if there is no government in Rivers State, and this is in spite of the billions of naira that has accrued to the Wike administration and the tens of billions of naira borrowed,” he alleged.
The statement advised Wike against dragging the names of globally respected persons such as Soyinka into his “unbridled, unashamed and ill-advised attack of his former boss and benefactor”.