Chairman of the Presidential Advisory Committee Against Corruption (PACAC) Prof Itse Sagay (SAN) has described the action of freezing the account of the Benue government by the Economic Crimes and Financial Commission (EFCC) as exteme.
He said his position is informed by the fact that it would lead to a crippling of governmental activities and suffering of the masses of the state.
Sagau who spoke in Abuja on the sidelines of a workshop on the United Kingdom Unexplained Wealth Order (UWO), organised by PACAC, UK National Crime Agency and the Department for International Development (DfID) said:
“As for freezing Benue State’s account, I can’t support it. I don’t know why, but government has to function. I don’t want people to suffer because there are no funds for basic government functions.
“I don’t know if EFCC really did that; we have to be careful because it looks extreme to me,” Sagay said.
He said for now, there was nothing really that the anti-graft commission could do to the governor of the state, Dr Samuel Ortom in the form of prosecution on account of immunity, adding “There’s nothing EFCC can do to him (Governor Samuel Ortom). They can’t arrest him. They can investigate him, put down the records of what they found, and wait for his tenure to end. Right now, nobody can touch him.
HE also rejected calls for President Muhammadu Buhari to sack Finance Minister Kemi Adeosun over the allegation that she skipped the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) programme and forged an exemption certificate.
Asked what he thought about the government’s refusal to react to the issue, Sagay said: “I don’t know why the government has not reacted.
“But, let me tell you my reaction. This woman is a brilliant and extremely valuable member of this government.
“A lot of the good things happening now – the welfare that Nigerians are enjoying and are going to enjoy, because it takes time, and the way our economy is booming, how we got out of recession – are due to her expertise, her commitment, her sacrifice.
“There is nothing in this world that will make me remove such a woman from the government. The PDP can weep from now until there is no tear in their body; she is going to be there. We cannot afford to lose that woman.”
Asked if it was not an offence to skip NYSC, Sagay said: “Who cares about youth service? I don’t bloody care whether she did youth service or not. It’s irrelevant as far as I am concerned.”
On the allegation that she forged an exemption certificate, the PACAC chairman said: “I don’t believe it. I don’t see anything serious about not doing youth service. I don’t see anything serious about it. That’s my own bias, not government’s.
“I’m telling you now. If you ask me – If I were President Buhari, I would never, ever touch that woman because she’s damn good.
“The enemies of this government want to reduce his capacity to provide good governance by engaging in social media attacks and trying to get rid of her. It will not work.”