Terver Akase, chief press secretary to Samuel Ortom, governor of Benue state, has accused President Muhammadu Buhari of using the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) to witch-hunt Benue government.
Speaking with TheCable on the closure of three bank accounts belonging to the state government, Akase alleged that the current administration has turned the EFCC into an “attack dog”.
He said his principal did not misappropriate funds of government but was targetted for dumping the All Progressives Congress (APC) for the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
“The EFCC has frozen the account of the state government. They started two days ago and they are closing more and more accounts. It’s quite unfortunate that EFCC is allowing itself to be an attack dog against perceived political enemies,” he told TheCable.
“It is allowing itself to be used to witch hunt people who have chosen to go in the opposite direction from the ruling party. We reject this because this is an anti-people’s action. This is an action against the good people of Benue state.
“So Nigerians should rise up and reject what Buhari is doing in Benue state, he and his agencies.”
The spokesman said instead of focusing only on the Benue state’s security spending, the EFCC should also probe funds spent on various security operations by the Buhari government.
“EFCC did not find Governor Ortom wanting until he left the ruling party. They didn’t ask questions in terms of the spending on security,” he said.
“Benue has faced security challenges since the beginning of the year. Now EFCC didn’t ask questions…The government couldn’t have folded its arms to watch Fulani herdsmen annihilate its people.
“Some of the questions we’re asking are: Why now? Why not start from the presidency? How much has been spent on Operation Lafia Dole? How much has been spent on Operation Python Dance? How much has been spent on Operation Crocodile Smile? How much has been spent on Exercise Ayem Akpatuma, that is, Exercise Cat Race and the current one Operation Whirl Stroke? How much is the federal government spending? How much have they spent on all these operations?
“The EFCC should begin to probe at the federal government. It should begin to probe President Buhari, let him tell us how much he has spent on all the operations I have mentioned.”
Making reference to an alleged remark by Femi Adesina, the presidential spokesman, Akase said the presidency has double standards by not disclosing how much is spent on security operations at the federal level.
“Recently, Femi Adesina, who speaks for President Buhari, came to national television and said no government should be asked to disclose how much it spends on security, that no amount can measure up to one life. ‘You can’t quantify the importance of one life,’ that’s how he put it,” he said.
“So no government should be forced to tell how much it spends on security because security is what you might not be able to budget on. It can come last night, it can come this morning, it can come tomorrow.
“So if federal government says no government should be asked to disclose how much it spends on security and the same federal government is turning back to ask Benue how much it is spending on security, then that is double standards, and we reject it.
“Let other states too be investigated. Let every state government tell us how much they have spent on security. Start from the federal government and go across the states. Don’t keep Benue state for vilification. This is intimidation. This is harassment.”