Freezing of Benue State account is unconstitutional- Zamfara Governor

Cyril Okonkwo, Abuja


Chairman of Nigerian Governors’ Forum, Abdulaziz Yari of Zamfara State, North West Nigeria, said on Wednesday that the freezing of the accounts of the Benue State government is unconstitutional.

There were reports in the media that the accounts of the Benue State government in three banks were frozen by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, on Tuesday.

But Yari, who spoke with State House correspondents after a meeting with Acting President Yemi Osinbajo, said the action of the anti-graft agency “is not right because you are shutting down government.”

He said:  “Government must spend, especially in Benue where the state is battling with insecurity.”

Yari said he was not sure that the report of the freezing of the account was correct, but insisted that it was wrong for the state account to be frozen.

“ I don’t know why EFCC took this action; I don’t think it is correct, but if it is correct, my own point of view is that it is wrong,” he said.

He said the government of President Muhammadu Buhari would not “sit down and oversee unlawful operation by security agencies.”

Due process
Governor Yari said that the Buhari administration was following due process, pointing out that the sack of the former director of the Department of Security Services by Acting President Osinbajo following the invasion of the National Assembly by the security agency showed that government commitment to the rule of law.

“That gives credit to this government both here and in the international community,” he said, adding that a similar thing happened in 2011 and 2014, but the government then did not do anything about it.

“The government of Muhammadu Buhari is following due process and will never oversee unlawful activity within its agencies and departments.  So, that action in Benue, I believe definitely something shall be done and must be done,” he said.

NASS invasion
Also speaking to correspondents, Governor Umar Ganduje of Kano state, North East Nigeria, condemned Tuesday’s invasion of the National Assembly by security agents, saying that the legislature must be allowed to operate according to law.

He said: “To use security agencies in trying to prevent them from doing their own normal legislative functions, I think it is wrong. 

“But I have to salute the acting President for taking immediate action in order to save the situation. 

“The National Assembly is a very important institution and we will not embarrass ourselves and allow foreigners to view us as undemocratic. It’s very important. 

“The situation now has been corrected. It is something that is unfortunate, we have to move forward.”

Ganduje also spoke on the defection of his deputy, Professor Hafiz Abubakar from the All Progressives Congress, APC, to the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, saying that it was not unexpected.