The Governor Samuel Ortom-led Benue State Government has dragged Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC and two commercial banks before the Federal High Court, Makurdi, the state capital over the recent freezing of its accounts.
The banks are United Bank for Africa, UBA, and Fidelity Bank. The state government through the office of the Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice is demanding that the court declares that the EFCC acted against the law when it directed the banks to freeze its accounts. The State Government is also praying the court to make a declaration that by freezing the said accounts, EFCC denied the government the right to operate and transact on the affected accounts.
The suit also seeks the verdict of the court to the effect that a state government’s account maintained with any bank or financial institution in Nigeria does not fall within the class of bank accounts liable to be frozen by EFCC. Another relief sought by the Benue State Government is an order of perpetual injunction restraining the EFCC or its agents from freezing accounts held in UBA and Fidelity Bank or any other bank. The State Government is also demanding N30,000,000,000 from the defendants as damages suffered during the periods the accounts were frozen.
The case comes up on October 8 this year for hearing. It will be recalled that the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, on the 7th of August, 2018, ordered the freezing of Benue State Government’s accounts in UBA and Fidelity banks; a decision that adversely affected government business for some days.