EFCC unfreezes Benue Govt accounts –Finance commissioner

Benue State Commissioner for Finance, Hon. David Olofu on Thursday declared that the Economic and
Financial Crimes Commission, had unfrozen the state accounts.

Olofu told our correspondent on Thursday that the affected banks had late on Wednesday informed him of the directives vacating the earlier order.

The Chief Press Secretary to the state governor, Terver Akase had on Wednesday confirmed the frozen of the state accounts.

The finance commissioner, Olofu, while speaking with our correspondent said, “On Tuesday, we received an advisory from our bankers that the accounts of the state government have been placed on suspension.

These accounts are the accounts of local government, Benue State Government House, and Benue State Government accounts.

The advisory did not say specifically the reason for freezing the accounts, so I will be speculating if I say I know.

But the latest news now is that I got an advisory from the same banks, that is from the Fidelity and United Bank for Africa, UBA that the directives to suspend the state government accounts have been lifted and no reason was given for that”, the commissioner stated.

When asked whether he had been invited by the anti-graft agency on the allegation of the N22billion security votes under investigation, Olofu who answered in affirmative expressed deep concern about EFCC investigating the state security votes.

According to him, “going to EFCC is a routine, I have been there a couple of times to throw more light on government expenditures, stating how government expenditures are made.

On the issue of the security votes, I have been invited, they wanted to know specifically whether it was captured in the budget and we provided necessary documents.

But you need to bear one thing in mind whether it is right to investigate security votes because one can not know in advance how many invasions that the communities will be subjected to, so some of the expenditures cannot be estimated in advance.

But as government, when making the budget you make provisional arrangement for security and you spend as the situation arises,” Olofu said.

The commissioner commended Nigerians and leader of Nigeria Governors’ Forum for standing against impunity, stressing that, Governor Ortom was being persecuted for no just cause.

In a related development, the Chief Press Secretary to the governor, Terver Akase lamented the persecution of the state governor, Samuel Ortom since he defected to the Peoples Democratic Party.

Akase said that the Nigerian Broadcasting Corporation, was already threatening the state-owned radio for what he described as alleged lopsidedness in the coverage of state and national activities.

In a statement signed by him, Akase said Ortom, appreciated Nigerians for their solidarity, support and prayers which he said enabled the nation as well as Benue State to overcome the recent wave of impunity.

He said in the statement that the development had deepened democracy which strives on the rule of law and due process.

According to the statement, ‘The Governor believes that the nationwide condemnation which trailed the Police and DSS siege on the Benue State House of Assembly, as well as the invasion of the National Assembly, will be remembered and appreciated by patriots now and in the future.

“He said the condemnation of EFCC’s freezing of the state’s accounts and general outcry have made the organization to unfreeze the said accounts.

The Governor also thank the Presidency for intervening to end impunity and the siege on the legislature.

“He appreciated Benue people for their support as well as religious and traditional leaders across the country who have stood by the truth and called for the protection of democracy.

The Governor thanked the Nigerian Governors’ Forum, civil society organisations and the media for being true defenders of democracy and advocates of justice, fairness and equity.”

The governor further promised that he would not bow to intimidation and harassment aimed at bullying him into silence.

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