Governor Yahaya Bello of Kogi State has described allegations that the state’s accounts were frozen by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) as a “misinterpretation of facts”.
“No Kogi state governments salary account is frozen,” Mr. Bello stated after his meeting with President Muhammadu Buhari at the Presidential Villa, Abuja on Tuesday.
“None whatsoever. None of our accounts were frozen or embargo placed on any of our accounts by EFCC at all. I think it’s just a misrepresentation of facts or is a joke taken too far.”
The governor told newsmen at the State House that the claims were a lie and that the state did not keep N20 billion in any fixed deposit account.
“There’s no N20 billion account, or N19 billion, no fixed deposit account. So, I don’t know where the lie is coming from,” the governor maintained.
Governor Bello said that he got into government with high integrity and will leave with his integrity intact.
‘The Facts Are There’
His reactions come a week after a Lagos State High Court granted an ex-parte application for the EFCC, ordering the freezing of an account allegedly housing around N20 billion, said to be Kogi State’s salary bailout account.
However, the Kogi governor said that the bailout received for the state has been put to judicious use.
According to him, Kogi was among the first to publish its account activities, including details and documents generated from the activities.
“Today, Kogi State is among the first that has published all of our accounts online and all of these spendings have been put out there for the whole world to see – from bank accounts to statements of account, to payroll – all of the documents are out there.
“That is transparency. My Information Commissioner and all those that are concerned with that lies peddled by the EFCC, I think they have responded appropriately. And I will urge each and every Nigerian to please go to the Kogi State website and all the facts are there. The banks have denied that we don’t have such an account.
“Besides that, the bailout fund that we obtained, we appropriated in line with the agreement and understanding between Kogi State Government and the workers. All of these were done, we finished all of these in the year 2019,” the governor added.
He vowed never to keep for himself a kobo from Kogi’s coffers, neither will he allow any of his officials to do so.
While challenging Nigerians to demand details regarding how other governors used the fund in question, Bello warned the EFCC against being misled.
The Kogi leader said the “EFCC should not be seen to be going on a voyage of no discovery if the reputation of the commission and integrity of the present administration is to remain intact”.
Governor Bello demanded that the EFCC unravel the mystery surrounding the allegation, urging them to bring the orchestrators to book.
He compelled the agency’s boss, Abdulrasheed Bawa, not to allow anyone to use him for political vendetta, adding that as a young man, he should continue with his efforts to restore the nation’s integrity.