As UPP raises the alarm over plot to freeze bank accounts of senate, Saraki
The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has unfrozen the accounts of the Benue State government after the agency was reprimanded by the acting president, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo and told the agency to desist from taking arbitrary actions.
It was gathered that Osinbajo had held a closed-door meeting with the EFCC chairman, Mr. Ibrahim Magu as well as the inspector general of police, Mr. Ibrahim Idris where he berated and cautioned the two agency chiefs.
“I believe that the action of the commission was the outcome of the meeting between the chairman of the commission and the acting president. Also, the acting president insisted that the commission must allow politicians to play their politics and do their work independently.
“I believe that the action of the commission was the outcome of the meeting between the chairman of the commission and the acting president. Also, the acting president insisted that the commission must allow politicians to play their politics and do their work independently,” said a source.
Mr. Terver Akase, chief press secretary to the governor of Benue State, Dr. Samuel Ortom who confirmed the unfrozen of the accounts said the government got to know of the development when it got calls from the banks that the state could now transact business.
He said there was no document served on the government by the EFCC to show that the accounts were frozen or unfrozen but added that on both occasions they were informed by the banks.
He alleged that the federal government and its agencies launched a witch hunt on the state governor over his defection from the All Progressive Congress (APC)
“As I speak to you several moves are being made to embarrass and intimidate the governor but this move will not work as governor Ortom-led government remain transparent and clean and will not fall to any intimidation,” he said.
Meanwhile, the governor of Rivers State, Mr. Nyesom Wike has raised the alarm that EFCC had concluded plans to re-enact in the state what it did in Benue and Akwa Ibom states by freezing their accounts.
Wike who made the allegation in an interview with journalists in Port Harcourt said: The target is not Benue or Akwa Ibom state. The real target is Rivers State. The EFCC as a federal agency has no business with state funds. That is the responsibility of the state House of Assembly.”
He said that a former governor, Peter Odili, obtained a court judgment, which declared that the agency has no constitutional power to investigate state funds, and that several years after the verdict the EFCC had not vacated the order in a superior court.
He said the unconstitutional freezing of the accounts of the two states was tantamount to the closure of the executive, legislative and judicial arms of the two states.
“I am calling for the sack of the acting chairman of the EFCC, Mr. Ibrahim Magu, for overthrowing a tier government. The mere fact that the two accounts have been reopened does not mean that a crime was not committed.
“When you freeze the account of the state government, you have overthrown that government. Without funds, a state cannot function. This means a total shutdown of government business at the executive, legislative and judicial arms in the affected states,” said Wike.
The governor said EFCC could no longer be overlooked because it has the capacity to destroy democracy.
He said the condemnation of the EFCC’s illegality by the chairman of the Nigeria Governors Forum was not enough, noting that the forum must stand up to defend the independence of states, as the second tier of government.
The governor also said Magu and the inspector general of police should be sanctioned.
“If you are sacking Daura for a coup at the national assembly, what will you do with a man who overthrew two state governments through two separate coups?
“The sack is mere internal politics. The inspector general of police has done worse. He invaded the Benue State house of assembly. He also invaded the Rivers State high court complex. Yet, no action has been taken against him,” he said.
The governor further said when Ortom APC, the state government accounts were never frozen stressing that the freezing of the state’s accounts was done because the governor defected.
“There is no worse impunity than for the EFCC to shutdown a tier of government through the freezing of accounts. This is the worst coup against the constitution and the law-abiding people of those states,” he said.
Also, the national chairman of the National Unity Party (UPP), Mr. Perry Okpara alleged of a plot by a federal government agency to freeze the bank accounts of the senate, the senate president, Dr. Bukola Saraki and some governors of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
Okpara who raised the alarm when he led chairmen of 45 political parties on a solidarity visit to Saraki in Abuja on Thursday said it was time to rise in defence of democratic values and nationhood.
He said the move was aimed at crippling the parliament and forcing a leadership change in the national assembly.
“We have it on good authority that there are moles in the Senate and there are moves to freeze the accounts of the Senate, Senate President, and governors.”
“We wish to alert Nigerians to a new plot by the same people, whose first shameful attempt to unlawfully overthrow the leadership of the National Assembly failed; an attempt, which brought Nigeria to bad international limelight.
“We have it on good authority that a fresh plot is being hatched to make another attempt to cripple the parliament in the guise of impeachment, even when they know that there is not a constitutional majority to achieve the sinister move.
“We wish to state that we, the chairmen and leaders of political parties, will not support or standby to watch any unconstitutional impeachment of the leadership of the national assembly.
“Nigeria is gradually turning into a failed state and all the institutions of state have been compromised and desecrated. This is the time to rise in defence of democratic values and nationhood. We cannot sit by and watch our country slide into the Hobbesian state of anarchy, where life has become short, brutish and lawless,” he said.