George Okoh In Makurdi
The Federal High Court sitting in Makurdi, Benue State capital, has summoned the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) and two commercial banks to appear before it over the recent freezing of the Benue State Government accounts. The banks are United Bank for Africa (UBA) and Fidelity Bank.
In the writ of summons issued to the defendants, the court has demanded EFCC and the two banks to, within 30 days, state why they carried out their action of freezing Benue State Government accounts.
The Government of Benue State, through the office of Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice, is praying the court to declare that EFCC acted against the law when it directed the banks to freeze its accounts.
The State Government is also demanding a declaration of the court 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 EFCC, on August 7, 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.