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Mixed Reactions As EFCC Demand Details Of Benue Security Meetings

Court Grants EFCC Access To Benue State Account

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Mixed Reactions As EFCC Demand Details Of Benue Security Meetings

Nigerians have continued to react to the recent report which claimed that the Economic and Financial Crime Commission recently demand to have access to the minutes of the Security  Council meetings held by the Benue State.

Many people have condemned the request by the EFCC claiming the commission has no constitutional right to make such request.

Reacting to the request, the Governor of the State, Samuel Ortom accused the EFCC of planning to cripple the affairs of the state.

Ortom said the commission has continued to witchhunt him since he dumped the All Progressives Congress for the Peoples Democratic Party.

Speaking on the request by EFCC through a statement signed by his Chief Press Secretary, Terver Akase, Ortom said: “The EFCC seems not to have been done with the state government; every day the commission invites not less than seven government officials to Abuja.”

“The victimization has reached a level where the commission is demanding minutes of the security council meetings of the state.”

“This is a deliberate witch-hunt against our administration, all intended to cripple our government. “Does the statutory mandate of the commission include regulation of states’ security affairs? If we may ask, what does the EFCC want to do with minutes of our security council meetings?”

“We wonder why Benue is being singled out for a witch-hunt. Governor Ortom is not the first sitting governor to defect to another political party. Why is his case different?”

“The EFCC ought to know that monetary approvals are not given during security council meetings as such duties do not fall within the purview of the council.”

Also, another stakeholder in the country, Wantaregh Paul Unongo, expresses his disappointment over the request made by the EFCC.

Unongo who claimed he has been intentionally quiet over the ways and manner in which the country is currently being run said: “The things that are happening are very strange to some of us, very soon after observing it, I will speak because I have never heard of anything like what I am seeing in this country now.”

On the part of Joseph Waku, a leader of one of the tribes that made up Benue State, many questions need to be answered concerning the request by the EFCC.

In his words:  “Has it been the procedure?  Is the EFCC a security apparatus of government? It is just witch-hunting and nothing more.”

Speaking further, Waku said: “The EFCC is not a security outfit with such a mandate, or have they become the courts? It is a clear case of a witch-hunt against the government.”

Contributing to the matter, Prof. Ojukwu, SAN, on his own part said: “We have had some decided cases on this matter, but I wouldn’t know if it is the account that they are looking into or they are investigating a suspected crime.”

“There are subsisting decisions that, while a serving Governor has immunity against prosecution, he can be investigated.”

“However, as a defendant in a criminal investigation, it should be your decision to submit or not submit information to the agency, which is like writing a statement.”

“The constitution permits you not to say anything.  So it is not a mandatory thing that Benue State government must comply.”

“It is left for the state government to decide on whether it will comply or not. In law and under the constitution, a defendant in a criminal investigation has a right not to say anything. It is for the agency to prove what it wants.”

So many other people have continued to claim that the request by the EFCC has a political undertone considering the recent fall out between the Governor of the State and the ruling party, APC.

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