Samuel Ortom, Governor of Benue State, has accused the All Progressives Congress-led federal government of deploying the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, as a "strike squad" to taunt its political opponents.
Governor Ortom made this claim in a statement issued by Terver Akase, his Chief Press Secretary, on Saturday in Makurdi, the state capital.
According to the Governor, who recently decamped to the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, from the APC, the recent closure of the state bank accounts was aimed at crippling the administration of the state.
He challenged the anti-graft agency to provide proof about the recently published figures, which it claimed emanated from the state account.
“After succumbing to nationwide condemnation of its illegal freezing of Benue State Government accounts, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC has resorted to yet another shameful act in its desperation to cripple governance in the state.
“The anti-graft agency’s latest move is the bandying of figures in national dailies claiming that such figures are those of transactions in the accounts owned by the Benue State Government.
“It released figures allegedly withdrawn from the Benue State Government accounts without disclosing the dates of the withdrawals and the period during which they were made.
“The commission has also not been able to state accounts into which such monies withdrawn were paid to prove that the funds had been diverted.
“EFCC is contented with publishing the figures without stating how impropriety has been established.
Querying if the state government do not have the right to expend monies in its account, Ortom said he would not rescind his decision to leave the APC, no matter the level of "persecution" by the EFCC.
“Are government monies supposed to be kept in the accounts indefinitely without expenditure? Their objective is apparently to give Governor Samuel Ortom and his administration a bad name.
“On this score, it is clear that the EFCC has now become both a strike squad of the APC for torment, and their law court for the trial and conviction of political opponents.
“The commission may torment and persecute Governor Ortom and his subordinates on the directives of the powers that be as much as it serves their purposes, but he will neither be distracted nor reconsider his defection from APC", the statement added.