• Unfreeze Benue, Akwa Ibom accounts, PDP charges Buhari
Joe Effiong, Uyo and Ndubuisi Orji, Abuja
The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has frozen the bank accounts of the Akwa Ibom State government.
A top official of the government who pleaded to remain anonymous disclosed this to newsmen yesterday.
The source said Udom Emmanuel, the governor, and Accountant-General of the state were shocked by the development. The report of the freezing of Akwa Ibom government accounts happened 24 hours after the commission blocked those of Benue State government. The official said no reason was given for freezing of all the accounts of the state government as the state was not in debt that should warrant such action from EFCC.
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There was however no official statement from the state government on the issue as the state commissioner for Finance, Mr. Linus Nkan and his Information and Strategy counterpart, Mr. Charles Udoh, could not be reached to confirm the development.
Meanwhile, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has charged President Muhammadu Buhari to immediately order the unfreezing of the accounts of Akwa-Ibom and Benue States.
The PDP in a statement by its National Publicity Secretary, Kola Ologbondiyan, yesterday condemned the freezing of the accounts, describing it as unconstitutional and “overtly wicked”.
The opposition party stated that by freezing the accounts of the two states, the EFCC has launched a direct attack on innocent Nigerians in Benue and Akwa-Ibom. It admonished the Federal Government not to hide under the EFCC to unleash hardship on the people in states perceived not to be favourably disposed to Buhari’s 2019 re-election bid.
The PDP added “in illegally blocking the flow of funds to these states, the All Progressives Congress (APC)-led Federal Government has ostensibly commenced a reprehensible design of using economic deprivation as a political tool to arm-twist governors and states to support President Buhari’s re-election in 2019.
“The APC has been seeking ways to subjugate Nigerians, for which it has now resorted to subjecting millions of compatriots already impoverished by the misrule of the Buhari administration to face more hardship by seizing funds legally belonging to them. 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 to 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. The PDP therefore urges all Nigerians to stand up and resist this dangerous trend introduced by the desperate APC to subjugate Nigerians, for which Akwa-Ibom and Benue States are now being used to test the will of the people in this direction.”