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|Anxiety Grips Governors As Efcc Storms 10 States by funny60: 11:09am On Sep 03, 2010|
THERE is anxiety among governors, following reports that the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) is set to launch massive operations in 10 states. Governors have raised the alarm that they are being targeted because of the forthcoming presidential primaries of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
Most of the governors abroad, especially Northern governors on Umrah (lesser Hajj), have decided to cut short their trips, return home and get set to face the "onslaught".
But the EFCC said its deployment of operatives to 10 states has no political undertone or motives.
Investigation by The Nation revealed that the EFCC is probing petitions against 10 governors bordering on alleged mismanagement of funds and abuse of the Local Government Joint Account.
The EFCC has deployed its operatives and policemen in the 10 states to arrest some commissioners and local government chairmen.
The states are: Rivers, Imo, Kwara, Bauchi, Zamfara, Jigawa, Gombe, Kebbi, Katsina, Sokoto.
Based on preliminary findings, the anti-graft agency deployed its operatives in the 10 states to invite some commissioners and local government chairmen for interaction.
The operatives were expected to be assisted by a team of 50 policemen from each state command of the Police.
It was learnt that after a review meeting on Monday by the commission, EFCC operatives were sent to the states.
It was not immediately clear last night how the governors knew of the sting operations and arrival of the EFCC teams.
According to findings, some governors in Saudi Arabia, who got wind of the EFCC’s moves, have summoned a meeting for Makkah today to review the situation.
But the governors are not taking chances as they believe that the "invasion" of their states by the EFCC was informed by the forthcoming presidential primaries of the PDP.
A source, who spoke in confidence, said: "We have security reports that there is a plan to set EFCC against the governors to force them to back a particular aspirant.
"It is really unfortunate that we are sliding back to the era of arm-twisting like the case in 2007. If we believe in having sustainable democracy in this nation, why can’t they allow the system to work naturally.
"The governors are not above the law, but the timing of deployment of EFCC to some states is suspicious and ill-motivated to achieve a pre-determined agenda.
"This development is no doubt a consequence of intrigues within the ruling Peoples Democratic Party on presidential primaries. Some are out to whip governors into line to support an aspirant.
"Why is it that some of the targeted governors were those who backed the retention of zoning by the PDP? Is it a sin to hold a contrary view?
The source attributed the investigation of the anti-graft commission to the disagreement between the governors and the PDP leadership over order of primaries.
He added: "Some governors have insisted that presidential primaries must come last as the case in 1998, 2003 and 2007. But the NWC of the PDP is proposing that presidential primaries must be held ahead of governorship primaries to achieve a purpose.
"I can tell you that as long as it is a game of simple majority, those trying to muzzle the governors will not have their way."
As at press time, it was learnt that some of the governors in Saudi Arabia and others overseas are to cut short their holidays and return for a meeting in Abuja next week.
A governor, who spoke on the telephone, said he would return to Nigeria on Saturday.
The EFCC admitted that it was carrying out investigations in some states, but it was silent on the number of such states.
Besides, it claimed that its investigation had no political motives.
The Head of Media and Publicity of the EFCC, Mr. Femi Babafemi, said: "The states where we are investigating at the moment are states where we have high volume of petitions.
"And these petitions had been assigned long ago to various teams by the chairman, Mrs. Farida Waziri. So, these teams have done the first stage of investigations, which is discreet, and the next stage is to interact with the suspected persons. This is what we are doing now.
"As I speak to you now, the EFCC chairman is attending a meeting in Vienna. So, wherever you find our operatives now, they are doing their legitimate duties, devoid of politics or any hidden agenda."
Responding to a question, Babafemi added: "Our investigation has nothing to do with politics.
"For instance, take the case of Rivers State; we have been there since 2008, carrying out some investigations over which some state officials have been charged to court and six others declared wanted. Will you now read political motive into this?"
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