Governor Samuel Ortom has accused the federal government of using the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) to witch-hunt its political opponents ahead of the 2019 general elections. The Benue state governor was reacting to the allegation by the minister of information and culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed that the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP)’s presidential candidate, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, has a case to answer over the collapse of the defunct Platinum Habib Bank (Bank PHB). In a statement to Legit.ng on Sunday, January 20 by his spokesman, Terver Akase, the governor accused the government of usurping the functions of the anti-graft commission. The governor further stated that the EFCC owes the people of Nigeria the duty of executing its mandate without influence from the government.
Part of the statement read: “We watched with shock, the televised press briefing by information minister, Lai Mohammed in which he vowed that the federal government will interrogate the presidential candidate of the PDP, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar on his return from the United States of America. “We found the outing as one of the most absurd actions of any government. With this move, the Buhari administration is clearly on a voyage of misplaced priorities while also usurping functions of the country’s institutions which ought to be independent. “The plan of the federal government to take over the job of EFCC to question the PDP flag-bearer has confirmed our earlier conclusion that the anti-graft agency has not only lost its neutrality but has also conceded its constitutional role to the APC administration. “EFCC is now the witch-hunt tool in the hands of APC selectively unleashed on opponents of the government in power. This is contrary to the EFCC Act of 2004 which emphasizes that the commission treats all persons and cases it investigates without bias or prejudice. “EFCC owes the people of this country the duty of executing its mandate without influence from the government to harass opponents. Nigeria is no one’s personal estate.” Meanwhile, Atiku, in a statement sent to Legit.ng on Friday, January 18, by his media aide, Mr. Phrank Shaibu, dismissed as co*k and bull story, the allegation by Alhaji Mohammed that he has a case to answer over the collapse of the defunct Bank PHB. Atiku challenged the federal government to either prove his alleged corrupt activities, or forever remain quiet. “It is disgusting to continue to spin allegations of corruption against me by people who have failed to come forward with a single shred of evidence of my misconduct while in office,” Atiku said.