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EFCC unfreezes Benue State accounts after mass criticisms
THE Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has lifted the freeze order it placed on the bank accounts belonging to the Benue State government.
Chief Press Secretary to Governor Samuel Ortom, Terver Akase, confirmed this to journalists on Thursday.
Nigerians had condemned the actions of the EFCC as unconstitutional with many describing as politics taken too far.
Governor of Benue State, Samuel Ortom, recently defected from the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) to the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), alongside 22 members of the state’s House of Assembly.
Following the defections, the remaining eight APC members, are accusing the Governor of embezzling funds meant for Local Governments, running into billions of naira. Reports have it that it is based on this allegation that the EFCC allegedly froze the Benue state account, pending the outcome of investigations.
The Nigerian Governors’ Forum (NGF), on Tuesday, condemned the development and warned that such actions has no place in modern politics.
Governor of Zamfara State, Abdulazeez Yari, who is also chairman of the NGF said that freezing state accounts is like shutting down the government, as government must spend at regular basis.
“The freezing of any account of a state government whether Benue or anywhere is unconstitutional. That is like shutting down government. Government must spend, most especially Benue that is facing insecurity challenges,” Yari said.
“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. (and this government should not sit down and oversee unlawful operation from the security agencies.”
It is also reported that the accounts of the Akwa Ibom State government was also freezed by the EFCC.
The commission had in the past accused the Akwa Ibom State government of refusing to cooperate with it in the ongoing investigation of former Governor, Godswill Akpabio, who has allegations of financial fraud against him.
But in a twist of events, Akpabio defected to the APC and was received at a grand rally on Wednesday, same day news broke that the State’s accounts have been frozen.
During the investigation on Akpabio, the Akwa Ibom government had gone to court to obtain an order prohibiting the EFCC from looking into the state’s books or harassing officials of the state.