By; PATRICK TITUS, Uyo
Akwa Ibom State Government has said that the continous hounding of the state Governor, Mr. Udom Emmanuel by Economic Finance and Crimes Commission (EFCC) over alleged financial deals has not only lowered the reputation of the commission but an instrument for character assassination, political mudsling and witch-hunting for opposition in the state.
EFCC had on an online publication on Wednesday, indicted the state governor, Mr. Udom Emmanuel and some officers of the state over a purported withdrawal of N1.7bn from the state coffers.
A release issued by the state commissioner for information and strategy, Mr. Charles Udoh and made available to New Nigerian in Uyo described the alleged indictment by the EFCC as political game plan by the opposition party (All Progressives Congress) to slander the integrity of Governor Emmanuel administration.
The release states, “The attention of the Akwa Ibom State Government has been drawn to a December 5, 2018 publication on Sahara Reporters, an online news outlet, alleging an indictment of the Akwa Ibom State Governor, Mr. Udom Emmanuel and some officers of the state by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), over a purported withdrawal of N1.7bn from the state coffers.
“Consequently, we wish to state that: – The alleged indictment by the EFCC is a baseless and malicious allegation, tainted with political undertone to malign the integrity of the current Government of Akwa Ibom State
“It is another face-saving attempt by the EFCC to justify the several illegalities it has allowed itself to be used to perpetrate against the Government and good people of a peaceful state by the opposition party.
“It is mockery of the rule of law for the EFCC to allow itself to degenerate into a tool for character assassination, political mudsling and witch-hunting by the opposition in Akwa Ibom State.”
It further added that, “It was instructive to note that the EFCC is regurgitating this line of skewed narrative in the media for the umpteenth time in a flagrant act of impunity against the judicial process.
“The Akwa Ibom State Government had instituted a legal proceeding against the EFCC at the Federal High Court, Uyo, and therefore would remain fervent in its determination not to be dragged into a public discourse on a matter that is patently sub-judice.
According to Information and Strategy Commissioner, the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria authorizes only the state House of Assembly and the state Auditor-General to pry into the financial dealings of a state government.
He also pointed out that in the last three and a half years, Akwa Ibom State has been one of the few states, if not the only state that publishes its annual audited financial statements.
The action underscored the state government’s commitment to transparency, accountability and integrity in governance, adding that copies the state’s annual audited financial statements are available in the public domain.
Mr. Udoh said the current administration in the state is led by a consummate professional with over two decades of proven track record of integrity and performance in financial management, which transcends the boarders of Nigeria.
He however said that the state government would not be distracted by poorly scripted drama by the EFCC rather it would continue to do all within the ambits of the law to protect the integrity of governance in the state.