EFCC freezing account of any state govt illegal – Governors Forum

The Nigerian Governors Forum (NGF) has described as unconstitutional the freezing of the accounts of Benue State Government by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).

Governor Abdulaziz Yari of Zamfara, the Chairman of NGF, spoke with State House correspondents after a closed door meeting with Acting President Yemi Osinbajo on Wednesday in Abuja.

EFCC had on Tuesday froze the state’s account which was confirmed by Terver Akase, the Chief Press Secretary to Governor Samuel Ortom.

Mr Yari said that by the security situation in Benue, it was not wise to dislocate the state financially.

“If EFCC freezes the accounts of any state government, Benue or anywhere else, I think it is unconstitutional, it is not right, because you are shutting down government.

“Government must spend, more especially Benue where there are issues of insecurity.

“So, we do not know why the EFCC took the action. I do not think it is correct, but if it is correct, then my own point of view is wrong.

“But I believe this government will not sit down and oversee unlawful operations happening from the security agencies.

“From what happened yesterday, someone can understand that this government is following due process and laws of Nigeria.

“EFFC’s action in Benue is something that should be reversed,’’ he said.

Speaking on Tuesday’s blockade of the National Assembly, Mr Yari said it was very unfortunate, but however, said that the attendant reaction by the acting president had vindicated the federal government in the eyes of local and international communities.

He recalled that similar incidents occurred in 2011 and 2014 respectively but no serious action was taken by the then government.

According to him, the government of Muhammadu Buhari is following due process and will never oversee unlawful activities within the security agencies.

Governor Abdullahi Ganduje of Kano State, who was also in the Presidential Villa, told correspondents that Tuesday’s incident at the National Assembly was an embarrassment which should not have been allowed to happen.

On defection of his deputy, Hafizu Abubakar, to Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Mr Ganduje said there was no cause for alarm.

According to him, it is the season of defection as the All Progressives Congress (APC) is also receiving defectors from other parties.

“The state House of Assembly wanted to impeach him but I was prevailing on them but they insisted, when he saw the handwriting on the wall, he decided to resign.

“They wanted to continue with the impeachment because he committed some impeachable offences, but I pleaded and they dropped the charges and allowed him to go, that is politics,’’ he said.

DEFECTION BLUES! First Benue, now Akwa Ibom as EFCC freezes states’ accounts

As the defection drama continues to pay out in the nation’s political arena, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) seems to have entered the mix.

Two states where there have been defection issues have had their accounts frozen by the anti-crime agency.

Reports on Wednesday indicate that a number of bank accounts owned by the Akwa Ibom State government have come under the hammer of the EFCC.

This was revealed by Charles Udoh, the Akwa Ibom state commissioner for information, who stated that they got wind of the development today, even though there was no prior indications from the anti-graft agency.

This is coming about 24 hours after the Benue State governor, Samuel Ortom had raised a similar alarm that the EFCC had frozen the state’s bank accounts,

It would be recalled that Ortom had only recently just dumped the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) for the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).

In Akwa Ibom State, a political turf war has been declared as a former governor of the state and serving senator, Godswill Akpabio on Wednesday formally dumped the PDP for the APC.

His godson, and incumbent governor, Emmanuel Udom has refused to follow in his footsteps.

Instead, Udom reportedly sacked Akpabio’s loyalists in his cabinet who went to welcome the former governor when he arrived the state for a formal declaration of his defection.

According to sources, the anti-graft agency froze the accounts of the states on the premise that it is investigating the security votes of the governors.

The freezing of the Benue state accounts is the latest in the onslaught being unleashed against the governor since his defected.

Before now, eight members of the state House of Assembly issued Governor Ortom with an impeachment notice. The eight lawmakers were reportedly given cover by security agencies to issue the impeachment notice.

A top official of the state government disclosed that the government’s accounts affected by the EFCC order includes those in Fidelity Bank, First Bank and GTB.

The official further said: “The order would affect the payment of salaries and all of the state government’s financial obligations because these are accounts from where salaries and other sundry payments are made.

“We also gathered that the commission secured a valid court order which was presented to all the affected banks for necessary action but it is clearly a witch-hunt because Governor Ortom defected from the APC, that is Nigerian democracy for you.

“We are only urging Acting President Yemi Osinbajo to use his good offices to stop these spate of impunity from hell going on in our country because we are gradually descending to anarchy in Nigeria.

“When has it become an offence for anyone to defect to another party, for God’s sake? Is this the country and democracy we all gave our all and also lost loved ones to achieve?,” he asked.