Rivers State Government has maintained that it would not release its officials declared wanted by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), in connection with alleged withdrawal of N118 billion in cash to the anti graft agency.
In a statement on Sunday by the State Commissioner for Information and Communications, Paulinus Nsirim, the Government said the EFCC rather than embark on what it described as political witch-hunt should direct its energy on vacating the perpetual injunction granted by courts of competent jurisdiction restraining it from investigating the finances of the state.
The statement reads
“Our attention has been drawn to a fresh wave of media trial by the EFCC. The latest attempt contained in May 24, 2020 edition of a national newspaper alleged that the state government has refused to release top officials for interrogation in connection to the withdrawal of N118 billion in cash between 2015 and 2018.
“We have repeatedly said that the state government will not release its officials to EFCC for investigations until the commission approaches the court to set aside subsisting orders of perpetual injunction granted by various courts of competent jurisdiction restraining EFCC from investigating or inquiring into the financial transactions of the Rivers State Government, including its ministries, departments and agencies.
“In view of these subsisting judgements, it would amount to an act of brazen illegality for the EFCC to insist on interrogating any official of the Rivers State Government.
“For the avoidance of doubt, no official of Rivers State Government would appear before the EFCC until the subsisting judgements in favour of the Rivers State Government are set aside on appeal. Resorting to the media can only be described as cheap blackmail and witch-hunt to turn away public attention from the development strides in the state.
“This media trial that they engage in all the time will not take the place of our extant laws no matter how hard they try. EFCC should stop playing to the gallery and pursue its war against corruption within the ambits of the law.
“Rivers State Government is committed to the rule of law and cannot be intimidated by EFCC. Those who want to use EFCC to promote their political agenda in the state will fail because we know their antics.
“Targeting Rivers State for this occasional media trial should be seen by the public for what it is — political witch-hunt.”