• Benue groups appeal to int’l community over EFCC’s ‘excesses’
• Hold Senate President responsible for budget delay, says govt
President of the Pentecostal Fellowship of Nigeria (PFN), Rev. Felix Omobude, yesterday, warned politicians against heating the polity.
“All those in public offices, as well as leaders at all levels and the political class in particular, should be wary of the consequences of their utterance and actions,” Omobude said in a statement he signed personally.
The PFN leader commended Acting President Yemi Osinbajo’s swift intervention following the recent invasion of the National Assembly by operatives of the Department of State Security (DSS).
He described the siege, which resulted in the sack of DSS boss, Lawal Daura, as inimical to democratic credentials and capable of truncating Nigeria’s hard-fought democratic rule.
He appealed to the executive and legislative arms of government to display greater wisdom and maturity in their actions. “They should ensure that the interest of the nation comes first in all they do. They should find a way to work together and be more tolerant of opposition. The interest of the long-suffering masses of Nigeria should be paramount at all times,” he said.
Criticising the politicisation of state institutions, especially security agencies, the PFN president said: “The conduct of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) in blocking the account of a state government leaves much to be desired. The security agencies should not be seen as working for one political interest or the other. They should discharge their duties without fear or favour and eschew partisanship in their conduct.
“Also of great concern is the upsurge in political violence in the country. With this development, the electoral process is increasingly being compromised by desperate politicians who are employing force and intimidation to suppress the freewill of the people.”
He decried the monetisation of the electoral process and the gale of defections by politicians, saying the move smacks of selfish agenda.
“Our political parties, just like all other institutions must be strengthened for the sake of democracy, to enable them deliver on the essence of nationhood and guarantee the security and welfare of the people,” he said, urging Nigerians to sustain prayers for the country.
In the same vein, the Prelate of the Methodist Church Nigeria, His Eminence Samuel Uche, warned that politics with bitterness is pushing the nation to a precipice.
He made the disclosure during a press conference in Aba, Abia State, where he also stressed: “Cattle colonies or grazing fields should not be used as a means of colonisation, religious proselytising and forceful acquisition of the ancestral lands of other people.”
Also, the Kebbi State governor, Abubakar Atiku Bagudu, charged youths and students to support the current administration’s efforts in fighting social injustice and corruption.
He made the plea during an interactive session with the leadership of Arewa Youth Anti-corruption Movement at Government House yesterday.
He urged the youths to deploy social media as a tool for liberation by taking on leaders that cannot be intimidated by local criticism.
This was as three socio-cultural organisations in Benue State called on the international community to prevail on the EFCC and other security agencies to stop attacking the state government.
Leaders of the organisations, Edward Ujege (who represented Mzough U Tiv), Amali Adoya Amali (Omi Ny Igede) and Benjamin Okpa (Idoma National Forum) in a statement, said: “We understand that several government officials are being invited daily to Abuja, resulting in enormous cost arising from administrative and legal requirement of the state government to prove its case, which case is not based on solid evidence but is an attempt to audit the account of the Benue State government without any concrete evidence.
“Again, we were taken aback when it was announced that the EFCC went outside her statutory authority to call for the minutes of the Benue State Security Council. They are also attempting to probe the Benue State government’s security vote, which is well beyond the constitutional powers that established the EFCC.”
The statement added: “We believe that the EFCC has an ulterior motive, otherwise the probe of security votes of Benue State should have commenced from 1999 to date and cover all the states of the federation including that of the federal government.”
In another development, the Presidency last night told Nigerians to hold the president of the Senate, Bukola Saraki, and the National Assembly responsible for the delay in passing the supplementary budget demanded by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to prosecute the 2019 general elections.
The Presidency said the parliament delayed the 2018 budget that was submitted on November last year for seven months, adding that there was no way a supplementary budget could have been submitted without the passage of the main budget.
In a statement signed by the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu, the Presidency noted that President Muhammadu Buhari reluctantly signed the 2018 budget into law after the National Assembly had distorted it.
The statement reads in part: “The Presidency wishes to respond to the false accusations by Senator Bukola Saraki who alleged that President Muhammadu Buhari is to blame for the delay in approving the supplementary budget for INEC.
“On the contrary, the Senate President should look into the mirror and what he will see is his own face. He is solely to be held responsible for deliberately driving the nation to this cliff edge as far as the preparations for next elections are concerned.”