Where is Emmanuel Udom, the governor of Oil-rich Akwa Ibom State, getting money to fund his alleged multi-billion massive home project located along the highly sought after MacDonald Road in Ikoyi, Lagos, where former Vice President Atiku Abubakar, Former Head of State, General Abdulasami Abubakar, politician, Dr Bukola Saraki, businessman, Chief Kensington Adebutu and Otunba Adejare Adegbenro are homeowners.
Some astonished neighbours say construction has not slowed since the project started about 7 months ago despite the biting hardship in the land brought by the coronavirus pandemic and the lockdown imposed by the federal government. Governments are bracing for the economic impact of the crash of crude oil in the markets as a result of the pandemic.
The sprawling project which has at least three big houses in the yard with a private driveway occupies about 8, 000 square meters of prime land.
Udom, some neighbours say visits the construction site to observe work in unmarked vehicles to mask his identity in the early mornings at weekends whenever he is in town.
Mr. Udom was an Executive Director at a top bank in Lagos before be was appointed Secretary to the Akwa Ibom State Government and installed as state Governor on the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, by then Governor Godswill Akpabio before their friendship turned sour.
Nigerian state governors especially governors of the Niger Delta States receive billions of naira monthly in allocations from the federal government with mostly nothing to show for it in their home states. Most of the monies are mostly stolen by the governors, politicians and their collaborators.
The EFCC last year arraigned Mr Udom alongside Paul Usoro, SAN, President of the Nigerian Bar Association, NBA as well as four others before the Federal High Court in Ikoyi, Lagos for allegedly laundering N1.4 billion from the Akwa Ibom State coffers. The agency alleges that the monies were deposited into the bank account on Mr Usoro and subsequently delivered to multiple recipients.
One of the counts reads: “That you, Paul Usoro, SAN, Emmanuel Udom (currently constitutionally immune against criminal prosecution), Uwemedimo Thomas Nwoko (still at large), Nsikan Linus Nkan, Commissioner of Finance, Akwa Ibom State (still at large), Mfon Jacobson Udomah, Accountant-General, Akwa Ibom State (still at large) and Margaret Thompson Ukpe (still at large) sometime in 2015 in Nigeria, within the jurisdiction of this Honourable court, conspired amongst yourselves to commit an offence, to wit: conversion of the sum of N1. 410, 000, 000, 000.00 (One Billion, Four Hundred and Ten Million Naira), property of the Government of Akwa Ibom State of Nigeria, which sum you reasonably ought to have known forms part of the proceeds of an unlawful activity to wit: criminal breach of trust and thereby committed an offence contrary to Section 18(a) of the Money Laundering (Prohibition) Act, 2011 as amended and punishable under Section 15(3) of the same Act.”
Mr Udom did not respond to nor return multiple calls put through to his cell to answer questions relating to the property. He also did not respond to a text message sent to his mobile phone.