NGF, PDP, others flay freezing of Benue, Akwa Ibom


The chairman of the Nigerian Governors’ Forum (NGF), Mr. Abdullaziz Yari, has flayed the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) for freezing the accounts of the Benue and Akwa Ibom state governments.

The Nigerian Governors Forum (NGF) has condemned the alleged freezing of the bank accounts of the Benue State government by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).

It was gathered that the accounts of Benue State government were frozen by the because of Governor Samuel Ortom’s security vote was being investigated.

The accounts of Akwa Ibom were frozen on Wednesday when the former senate minority leader and governor of the state, Mr. Godswill Akpabio formally defected from the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) to the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) at a rally held in Ikot Ekpene.

There have been no express or latent reasons for freezing the accounts.

Addressing journalists in Abuja on Wednesday, Yari, who is also the governor of Zamfara State, described the EFCC action as illegal and unconstitutional.

“Well, we don’t know why the EFCC took the action. But if indeed it froze the accounts, from my point of view, it is wrong.

“The freezing of any account of the state government, whether Benue or anywhere, is unconstitutional and is not right. That is shutting down government.

“Government must spend, most especially Benue that is facing insecurity challenges,” he said.

Yari said the timing of the action worsened the case, recalling that the Benue government is currently facing economic and other sundry challenges precipitated by the prevailing insecurity in the state.

The governor warned that “this government should not sit down and oversee unlawful operation from the security agencies.”

In its reaction, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) called for immediate unfreezing of the official accounts of the two states.

PDP in a statement issued by its national publicity secretary, Mr. Kola Ologbondiyan, in Abuja called on acting president, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo to immediately order the EFCC to unfreeze the accounts.

He described the EFCC action as illegal, unconstitutional, overly wicked and unjustifiable under any laws and practice of Nigeria.

He advised the presidency not to hide under the EFCC to unleash punishment and hardship on the people in states perceived to be opposed to the APC in the 19 re-election bid.

“Nigerians are all aware that no section of our constitution or any law in Nigeria for that matter confers any agency of the federal government with powers to interfere or put any restrictions on funds belonging or accruable to states as federating units of our nation.

“Apart from its state assembly, no other government body or institution has the powers of appropriation or restrictions on any funds belonging to the state,” he said.

Equally, the Benue State government said the freezing of its accounts is a political witch-hunt.

The chief press secretary to the governor, Mr. Terver Akase, said in Makurdi that that the action was part of the political machination against Ortom

“Yes, it is true that the accounts of Benue have been frozen by the EFCC.

“The action is already having a negative impact on the running of government in the state. It is a move that will affect salaries, pensions and other sundry payments.

“The question we are asking is: Why did EFCC not investigate the governor’s security votes when he was still a member of the All Progressives Congress (APC)? Why start the investigation now?

“EFCC should not allow itself to be used as an attack dog unleashed against perceived political opponents,” he said.

For his part, Mr. Reno Omokri, former aide to former president, Dr. Goodluck Jonathan said the federal government’s siege to Nigeria’s democracy failed at the national assembly.

In a tweet, Omokri said:  “First they froze Benue’s account when Ortom defected, now they freeze Akwa Ibom’s account now that Akpabio defected without his Governor joining him. @MBuhari’s siege on democracy failed at NASS. It will also fail in Akwa-Ibom #FrustrateBuhariDictatorship.”


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