The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has broken words on the massive stash of cash recovered by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) from an apartment in Ikoyi, Lagos, even as former President Goodluck Jonathan has remained silent on the matter.
It would be recalled, Operatives of the EFCC, acting on a tip-off on Wednesday, said they found $43,449,947, £27,800 and N23,218,000 hidden inside an apartment at Osborne Towers, Ikoyi.
The monies are valued at N13 billion based on prevailing exchange rate set by the apex bank.
It is understood that as at Friday evening, Governor Nyesom Wike of Rivers State and the National Intelligence Agency (NIA) are claiming ownership of the money.
In the wake of the incident, the NIA had claimed that the former president approved and released the cash.
While Nigerians and civic groups demanded clarification about the recovered cash, sources in the presidency quoted the NIA Director General, Ayodele Oke, as telling President Muhammadu Buhari that Mr. Jonathan released the money to the agency for covert security projects.
However, the Rivers States executive described the claim that the cash belonged to the NIA as balderdash.
It is also understood that calls to the former president’s spokesperson for days now have proved abortive as he has refused requests to state Mr. Jonathan’s side of the story.
However, when Premium Times contacted an official of the CBN on Saturday, he said he was not sure that the recovered billions, in mint fresh notes, was moved directly from the bank to the NIA.
The security agency had claimed that it received the funds directly from the CBN.
In an attempt to clarify its role in the disbursement of the funds, the CBN spokesperson, Isaac Okorafor, said, “It is true the Central Bank of Nigeria issues mint fresh notes, but it is only to banks.
“After that (issuance to banks) CBN does not know which of their customers they (the banks) give those notes to and for what purpose.
“I cannot say if the notes the NIA is claiming came from the CBN. So, I will not be able to answer questions on it for now, except I receive a specific request.”