EFCC unfreezes Benue accounts, Ortom thanks Nigerians

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The Benue State Commissioner for Finance, 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 informed the state government late on Wednesday of the directives vacating the earlier order.

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

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

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

“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 that the directives to suspend the state government accounts had been lifted and no reason was given for that”, the commissioner stated.

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When asked whether he had been invited by the anti-graft agency on the allegation of the N22bn security votes under investigation, Olofu who answered in affirmative, expressed worry over the investigation of the security votes.

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He said, “Going to the EFCC is a routine, I have been there on 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 cannot advance how many invasions that the communities will be subjected to, so some of the expenditures cannot be estimated in advance.

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

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

Similarly, Akase lamented the alleged persecution of the state Governor, Samuel Ortom, since he defected to the PDP.

Akase said 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.

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Akase, in a statement issued on behalf of the governor, appreciated patriotic Nigerians for their solidarity, support and prayers which he said enabled the nation as well as Benue State to overcome the recent acts of impunity.

The statement reads, ‘The governor believes the nationwide condemnation which trailed the police and DSS siege to 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.

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

The governor also thanks the Presidency for intervening to end impunity and the siege to the legislature.

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

The governor thanked the Nigeria Governors’ Forum, civil society organisations and the media for defending democracy, justice, fairness and equity.

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