By Chioma Onuegbu
Uyo—Akwa Ibom State Government has dismissed claims that Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, traced N1.4 billion belonging to the state to 11 accounts operated by top lawyers in the country, describing the allegation as a face-saving effort by the anti-graft agency.
The state government said it is worrisome that All Progressives Congress, APC-led Federal Government had continued to use the anti-graft agency to ‘witch-hunt ‘suspected enemies’ in its desperation to return to power in 2019.
The state Commissioner for Information and Strategy, Mr. Charles Udoh, spoke Monrday in Uyo, while reacting to claim by EFCC that the amount was traced to 11 accounts paid to a lead legal officer in the state whose name was withheld.
Udoh explained that all the accounts of the state government had been unfrozen by EFCC, noting that the allegation by the agency was a blatant lie to cover up for its impunity and illegality.
His words: “It is a major concern, because if the rule of law is not respected, if impunity becomes the order of the day, where the welfare of the citizenry is not taken into consideration, it becomes worrisome where we are heading to as a country.
“We are concerned and every well-meaning Nigerian should be. Even the international community and investors doing business in Nigeria should be concerned, because it will definitely have negative impact on the economy of the country.”
The commissioner said Governor Udom Emmanuel, as a renowned banker before coming into politics, maintained a good reputation, adding that the state frowns at any attempt to drag his integrity to the mud, especially on financial matters.
He added that every government has brand identity and that of Governor Emmanuel was integrity, transparency and accountability.
“It was unconstitutional for EFCC to not only freeze the state’s account, but do so without notice, prior communication and without following due process.”